1. How has your business been impacted by the VAT cut?
Operational Leasing is a ‘Business-to-Business’ product and companies are able to deduct the VAT on leasing, so this had no direct significant impact on our business. Of course it could have positively affected the business of our customers.
2. What was really remarkable for Business Lease in 2016?
Oh, many things were remarkable this year. I am especially proud on the combined deal we made with our international customer UPC, providing them Combo Fleet mobility – a combination of Financial Lease and Car fleet Management. Because of the great support by our partner OTP Leasing, we were able to provide UPC a total one-stop-shopping service proposition with a price similar to Operational Leasing. Also, our cooperation with Uber is starting to deliver good results in Romania. Business Lease is the international partner of Uber, in all the countries we are present in. This partnership started in the Netherlands in 2015.
3. What are your hopes and predictions for 2017?
Well, our team, systems and processes are ready to do the job. So I trust them to deliver the results, as stated in our 2017 business plan, which we presented to our board in the Netherlands; to continue our growth and financial results, the loyalty of our existing customers and the trust of many more new customers to come.
Our new online application, Care Online, is ready, but the operational rollout with our service partners still requires some time. It will be launched this year, first with a selection of our customers, and the full launch is expected in the first Q of 2017. This will speed up the convenience and satisfaction at our customers and car users, and the efficiency within our company.
4. One of the mottos underpinning Business Lease Romania’s activity is ‘whatever happens, we have solutions’. What was the most difficult situation for which you had to find solutions in 2016?
What a difficult question, because we have to deal on a daily basis with many challenging requests made by demanding customers. But this is part of our job, providing added value and taking CARE of our customers and car users.
5. How has the company evolved in 2016 in terms of reaching new clients and making existing clients understand better the need for Business Lease’s solutions?
I want to start by saying that the perspectives for Operational Leasing and Car Fleet Management services in Romania look good. In the first half of this year we had an increase of 27% in operational leasing contracts, compared to the same period in 2015. And this happened after we developed our service portfolio, increased the number of customers and approached SMEs. With Operational Leasing, we present our customers and potential customers, in advance, a clear and transparent calculation, which includes all services that can assure their mobility, which is the result of our economy of scale, expertise and better care.
6. Sometimes, when a big company decides to replace its car fleet they ask a company like Business Lease to provide a ‘complete solution’. In your view, what does a ‘complete solution’ mean?
Business Lease has the CARE approach, and this CARE can differ from company to company. Some are looking for flexibility, others for transparency and cost savings, and others want to outsource everything. However, what is mainly important for a company is the total cost of ownership (TCO), which includes a lot of direct and variable costs, and this is exactly what we offer: our experience and expertise that translates to offering the right combination of solutions for our customers. A complete solution means an optimized TCO.
7. What differentiates you from your competition?
Like I’ve said before, the main thing setting us apart from other companies which offer the same type of solutions is our CARE approach. We focus on offering the best possible solutions to our customers, in regard with their needs. Moreover, as a company for which the responsibility goes further than just ‘putting cars on the road’, Business Lease continuously monitors the effects of daily car usage in relation to the TCO, and also the effects on our environment and society as whole. And we do this through our Blue Care project, which reduces fleet costs and also makes the fleet 100% CO2 – neutral.