50 years of trendsetting in leasing: LeasePlan’s most remarkable services over the years
Internet Quotations, My LeasePlan, Private Lease… Ever since its launch in 1972, LeasePlan has introduced a whole range of innovative products. Always with the same purpose: to serve the customer as well as possible and offer a better experience. Digital support has naturally been the main focus since the turn of the century. To mark our 50th anniversary, we highlight some of the most striking services and products.
1972 – Open calculation
In its first year of existence, LeasePlan already emerged as a pioneer on the Belgian market. In the 1970s, company cars were not as common as they are today. And renting or leasing instead of purchasing was also a giant leap for businesses. At the start of a contract, it is difficult to estimate the residual value of the car after four years, or what the costs of maintenance and tires will be. With open calculation, LeasePlan therefore builds some kind of guarantee into the contract. At the end of each year, we look at all expiring contracts of a customer. The budgets are then compared to the actual income and costs. If the balance is positive, LeasePlan reimburses the profit. And if the result is negative, the extra costs are not charged to the customer. Even after fifty years, open calculation is still the cornerstone of LeasePlan Belgium’s leasing activities.
1982 – The first fuel card
Today every petrol station is equipped with one or more payment terminals, but that was not the case in the early years of LeasePlan. Employers provided their staff with vouchers that they could use to reimburse their car’s fuel costs. When Bancontact arrived, LeasePlan was quick to launch the first fuel card. Since then, these cards have evolved considerably and now even support the charging of electric cars.
1992 – Excess Insurance
Suffered damage? Then the excess is the part you need to pay for yourself. Or you can ask a conventional insurer to provide a cover for these costs. In the early 1990s, the LeasePlan group decided to offer an in-house alternative. This is a very interesting formula for the customer: whereas conventional insurance requires you to pay a tax on the premiums, LeasePlan only settles VAT. And unlike taxes, VAT is partially also deductible.
1999 – Fleetco
Right before the start of the new millennium, LeasePlan launched Fleetco, or ‘Fleet Coordination’. This team unburdens customers with the complete outsourcing of their fleet. LeasePlan employees set up a car policy together with the customer and then guide drivers throughout the entire life cycle of the car. They also raise awareness if, for example, a car suffers more damage than average or if its fuel consumption is far above the normal level. Fleetco’s advice is usually more effective as well because, unlike a company’s fleet manager, LeasePlan has no emotional link with the drivers. The team consisted of eleven employees in 1999 and that number has not changed 23 years later. How is that possible? Thanks to automation, Fleetco has become increasingly efficient. Since 2006, customers can also rely on Driver Care, a central phone number and e-mail address for all their questions. This instantly takes us into the 21st century, the age of digitalization.
2000 – Plan 8
Plan 8 is a precursor to what we know today as My Fleet. It is a platform where customers can quickly find reports related to their fleet. Over the years the name of the platform has evolved into Fleet Reporting and eventually My Fleet.
2000 – Internet Quotations (IQ)
Internet Quotations (IQ) is another tool that has only become more relevant over the past two decades. Initially, it was not difficult to compare the price of diesel and petrol cars. However, since the rise of plug-in hybrids and electric cars, it is very important for drivers and customers to be able to properly assess all options and costs. An electric car may be more expensive to buy, but thanks to factors such as tax deductibility or the elimination of fuel consumption, these cars often turn out to be more economical. To get a complete picture, we work with BCU (Budgeted Cost of Use). Thanks to IQ, LeasePlan has gradually developed a tool that meets today’s needs.
2007 – Fleet Consultancy
Fleet management has certainly not become any easier over the past half century. In 2007, LeasePlan launched Fleet Consultancy to provide customers with the best possible guidance. This special department offers advice on calculating budgets, drawing up car policies, analyzing the BCU, etc. Today, we organize webinars through this channel to keep customers informed about new developments.
2013 – My LeasePlan
One of today’s most important tools is My LeasePlan. This platform offers customers a lot of self-service capabilities for things that no longer need to wait until office hours. For example, the fleet manager can easily request documents without having to pick up the phone or send an e-mail. Drivers can apply for a new fuel card, report damage to their car, request maintenance, and so on. The platform has also significantly increased efficiency for LeasePlan employees. Today, we measure some 40,000 transactions on an annual basis for which we no longer need to intervene manually. A win-win for everyone!
2015 – Private Lease
At the end of 2015, LeasePlan was the first in Belgium to offer private leasing. Until then we had always focused on the B2B market, so this was obviously a serious change for the company. To launch this service, LeasePlan joined forces with Opel and Mediamarkt. The offer involved Opel Corsa’s that were displayed in advertising brochures and even in Mediamarkt stores. Logistically, it required a huge effort to bring the cars to the stores, but it was a unique way to introduce this new service.
2018 – CarNext
A few years later, LeasePlan Belgium continued along the same path with CarNext. We even moved further away from traditional leasing as we started selling used cars to private individuals in physical stores. The first store opened in Aartselaar and one year later, the CarNext brand gained a second location in Liège.
2022 – The electric age
In recent years, LeasePlan has launched even more (digital) services that continue to improve the customer experience. More than ever, everything is now centered on electrification. In fact, LeasePlan has been a real trendsetter in this field for years. In 2009, for example, we installed the first public charging station in Belgium in presence of Etienne Schouppe, then Secretary of State for Mobility. It marked the beginning of an electric revolution that has ensured that, since last year, our entire internal fleet consists of 100% sustainable cars. In the coming years, most companies will make the switch to a green fleet. And just as in the past half century, LeasePlan is ready to support this transition as a loyal partner with cutting-edge products and services.