Mark Dickens
Mark Dickens of Renault receives the Kangoo ZE's 2017 Business Vans Green Award from Jon Gilbert, left, of sponsor Vanarama and Paul Hollick of TMC.
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IF there’s one automotive manufacturer that was positively rubbing its hands following the announcement of the Government’s Clean Air Strategy, then it must have been Renault.

Already well-placed with its fleet of electric cars – Zoe and Twizzy – the company has just introduced hybrid technology for the first time on the Scenic MPV ranges. In addition, there’s a range of electric vans to choose from, including the Master ZE and the award-winning Kangoo Van ZE, winner of this year’s Best Green Van at the Business Van of the Year awards.

Mark Dickens, Renault’s head of fleet operations & remarketing, is bullish about the possibilities.

“We are getting more and more enquiries about electric fleets as a long term solution,” he says, adding that they are also witnessing a migration away from diesel to petrol.

  • Renault Kangoo Maxi ZE wins Best Green Van of the Year, click here to read

“Much of what we need to explain is how electric fits into fleet. How can it work for your business?

  • End of the road for petrol and diesel cars and vans, click here to read

“Small trades will find electric vans a real solution. But they need to find out what does it mean? How long is the cable? What charger do I need? Those particular types of questions. We’re about to appoint two fleet field based EV experts to support the fleet team to give the answers and provide the intelligence for companies to swap to electric.”

Renault a big volume player with leasecos

Where do leasing companies fit into the equation with this? Well, according to Dickens, they have a large role: 80% of Renault’s volume – cars and commercials – will be going through the leasing companies this year.

And of the cars, more and more of these will be on personal leases. “I was with a leasing company last week, and they were telling me that they had seen PCH demand increase threefold in a six-month period.

“Why is this?

“I think we’re seeing a real increase in people moving from company contract hire vehicle to taking cash for car – making the migration from the company car but the replacement is costed out. They don’t want capital cost. It will feel just like their old company car.

Renault’s Top 5 models sold to leasecos

  1.  Renault Clio
  2.  Renault Captur
  3.  Renault Kadjar
  4.  Renault Trafic
  5.  Renault Master

“The other side of this PCH market growth is private individuals not wanting risk with the car they choose to drive. This is a by-product of the monthly rental market we are in. Everything you pay for is monthly. The car buying public is becoming more of a renting culture.”

Mark also adds that the majority of fleet Zoe models are sold to car sharing companies. “People are getting out of the notion of owning the car they drive.”

Nevertheless, while Renault is heavily focused on leasecos, the direct connecting with leasing brokers is an area where the company currently doesn’t go.

“We currently don’t deal directly with brokers – at all. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing. But we only deal with leasecos, that’s a by product of where we were in 2010.

“Will this change? That all depends on the opportunity. Some major broker players have access to databases and can be more reactive than some leasing companies when you’re conquesting new business. If we come to an area where we think brokers are more efficient, then we’ll certainly consider the broker route.

“So while I think it could it be part of our business going forward, our main focus is on the leasecos while fully supporting our dealer network.”

New faces in restructured Renault fleet department

Recently Groupe Renault UK restructured its growing fleet team with two key divisions that now sees two Marks at the top!

Mark Dickens continues to head up the operations side, while a new sales side is headed by another Mark, former Groupe Renault regional director for the north, Mark Potter.

Mark Potter takes on the newly created role of national fleet manager. He will oversee the restructure of the fleet field team, ensuring that all areas of the company’s fleet field division are consolidated in one area of expertise.

Mark Potter will be responsible for:

  • Corporate account managers;
  • Contract hire & leasing managers;
  • Business sales area managers; and
  • An upcoming sales team dedicated to the all-electric Renault Z.E. car and van range already mentioned earlier.

As part of this restructure, Mark Dickens continues with the central operations team, strategy, residual value, remarketing and central fleet sales, but adds to his responsibilities with the Motablility programme and short-term rental contracts.

A team of 10 business sales area managers has also been recruited to further advance Renault’s local fleet strategy in addition to the existing seven-strong team managing large corporate customers.

“We saw these changes as critical to our success in different ways,” commented Mark on the restructure.

“When we commenced our mid-term plan in fleet, we set a deliberate network strategy to ensure every Renault dealer in the UK could talk to a prospective customer with authority about business sales and contract hire.

“It’s really important that we support our dealer network in that development to ensure our customers can receive expert advice at any sales point, whilst not diminishing our SME customer-facing role.  A red line for that team is to at least equal the same amount of SME customer visits as the previous team was completing.

Our appointment of electric vehicle specialists in the team is a real stake in the ground regarding our ambitions in this area, and with all that it was equally important to ensure we had a strong direction of the diverse field teams!”

FN50 leasco ambition

Despite an expanded portfolio of responsibilities, there is one ambition Mark is particularly focused on.

“With each of the FN50 leasing companies I would like to have at least equal or greater market share as a brand overall than we do at a national level,” says Mark. “We do achieve it with vans but not with cars.”

Such an ambition is part of a balanced channel approach to market. “Our short term rental, mobility and core fleet should never be greater than our retail share.”

But with new Megane coming on stream, and new hybrid assist Scenic models, the arrival of All-New Koleos, significant improves to electric vehicle range of Zoe and Kangoo, and the coming arrival of 100% electric Master, Mark has a real opportunity to realise his ambitions.

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