Rod, how did you first get into the fleet industry?
That is an interesting question, I was actually head hunted from the financial planning industry to get involved in the drive for salary packaging and novated leasing.
Describe your current role?
The current role is one of the most dynamic and interesting roles I have been involved in. As the Business Development Manager for the Motorama Group, I represent our business across all brands, working with large corporates, government organisations, FMO’s to create synergies across all brands for servicing solutions, finance solutions and vehicle supply solutions.
Motorama is a family owned business that was established more than 50 years ago with 500 employees, 13 locations and 7 new brands (Toyota, Holden, HSV, Mitsubishi, Kia, Ford and Nissan). This represents a large portion of the fleet market – about 60% – and by delivering 1300-1700 vehicles each month we find so much opportunity for continued growth in our fleet numbers.
You have worked in leasing companies for many years and also spent time at a manufacturer and now in major dealership. How does your knowledge of all sides help you when dealing with fleet managers?
My exposure to the different areas of the fleet business means that I think “solutions” rather than “product”. The key benefit of being across all brands means that I am really focused on the most appropriate fit-for-purpose vehicle being sort by our guests. I am very conscious of whole of life costs and how the vehicle is going to be financed and managed, in essence I do a needs analysis with the client and then I refer them to the relevant product expert in the dealership to put a deal together.
What is it about the fleet industry that you enjoy?
I really enjoy getting exposure to so many different industries. For example, one day we can be structuring a quote for a novated lease for an employee of a company that manufactures helicopters and the next day we can be designing a fit-for-purpose ute with a fridge body and generator etc for a local milko or putting a service solution in place for a multi-national construction company with 4000 employees. No two days are the same and there is definitely no one size fits all in this industry.
What has been your biggest challenge in fleet to date?
My first large sales and leaseback of an existing fleet. There were around 80 vehicles of varying make, models and ages which we eventually agreed to purchase for $1.8 million and lease back to the client. There was certainly a lot of negotiating with both internal customers and the external client but on the day of settlement everyone was happy.
Is there a strong fleet community in QLD?
Absolutely!! We all know each other, it is a small group of professionals based in Brisbane and the place is too small not to all get along. Whilst very competitive we also enjoy each other’s company at various fleet social events throughout the year.
Do you think electric vehicles will be mainstream in Australia by 2025?
I am not 100% convinced it will be electric vehicles. I am loving plug in hybrids such as the PHEV Outlander. However by 2025 I believe there will be a lot higher percentage of alternative fuel vehicles in the market. At Motorama we sell a large number of Hybrid vehicles across the brands – it is really great to see the taxi industry moving this way in droves.
What is the most popular vehicle you are currently selling to fleets? Why do they like it so much?
Our Toyota brand continues to dominate and the Corolla remains a stand out. The public loves new product and I am very excited to see the level of enquiry on the new Nissan models such as X Trail and Qashqai for the novated lease segment.
As a vehicle class however, it is hard to go past the diesel 4wd dual cabs that are huge part of the fleet market. At Motorama we sell Hilux, Colorado, Triton, Navara and Ranger with so many new models already here and on the way, I can’t see this demand changing for some time soon. Manufacturers have really recognised that they don’t need to be the workhorse they once were and they are fast replacing the family car. Proof of that are items such as rear air-con and coil springs in the new Navara.
If you were a collector, which is the one car you would keep in the garage to admire?
Well, to be honest, I am very excited about the new Mustang that is on it’s way to our showroom. A Convertible Mustang would be something that I would love to have in my garage to show my mates.