Rome was not built in a day, and neither was ALD Automotive. The company has a long history and decades of experience in the field of company cars in Finland. The journey to the present day has been a colourful and successful one. Let us take a look backwards.
35 years of company cars in Finland
ALD Automotive has offered successful services related to company cars in Finland for more than 35 years. The company started operating under the name of Shell Leasing on 1 March 1979. For the global Shell Group, the start-up of vehicle leasing services was a Finnish innovation. When operations were started, leasing services were advertised as follows: “Now begins the largest vehicle leasing service in Finland. All the makes, all the models.” This theme has remained the starting point of all operations: ALD Automotive still offers all the makes and models imported to Finland.
Changes of name in the 1990s
At the beginning of the 1990s, Shell wanted to centralise its operations in Finland, and leasing services were sold to Ford Motor Company in 1994. The company changed its name to AFL Leasing. In the 1990s, the company acquired the leasing fleet of Volkswagen Finland from Kesko and the Toyota and Citroën fleets of Moottorialan Luotto from Amer.
Since 1994, the name of the company has been changed four times. After AFL Leasing, leasing services have been offered under the names of Hertz Leasing, Axus Finland and Hertz Lease.
ALD Automotive and NF Fleet in the 2000s
In February 2003, French Société Générale, the third largest corporate bank in the eurozone, became the owner of the company. At the time, the bank already owned a vehicle leasing chain called ALD Automotive and, after the transaction, the company's operations were continued under the name ALD Automotive in Finland. The global fleet of ALD Automotive exceeded the historical limit of one million vehicles for the first time at the end of December 2013. ALD Automotive is the third largest service leasing company in the world and the second largest in Europe.
“We reached the limit of one million vehicles thanks to our customer-oriented operations and our committed personnel. Our global fleet grew last year, even though other key market operators remained stable. We have grown especially quickly over the past four years as our global fleet has grown by one fifth from 2010. Key success factors in terms of company cars will be based on product innovations and electronic tools,” says Pekka Kivinen, General Manager of ALD Automotive.
NF Fleet Oy, a joint venture of ALD Automotive and Nordea Finance, started operating in 2006. NF Fleet offers service leasing to companies of all sizes through the Nordea banking channel. Service leasing is also offered through the car dealership channel under the name of A1 service leasing.
Retail through ALD vaihtoautot
Since the 1980s, the company has maintained its own retail channel, through which it sells part of returned leasing vehicles directly to consumers. A Shell car dealership started operating in Sörnäinen, Helsinki, with space for approximately 25 vehicles. The operations later moved to larger facilities in Petikko, Vantaa, where the grand opening was celebrated in 1985. In the 1990s, a second outlet was established in Tikkurila, and other dealer-run used car dealership operated in other regions.
Slowly, the company's facilities in Petikko became insufficient for retail and leasing services. As a result, ALD Automotive moved in 2000 to its current facilities in Koivuhaka, Vantaa, close to Helsinki Airport and Tuusulantie. The car dealership centre, entitled AutoAirport, consists of three dealerships and one service station.
Currently, returned leasing vehicles are sold in ALD vaihtoautot stores owned by ALD Automotive in Vantaa and Tampere.
ALD Automotive strengthened its leading position in Finland in summer 2014
On 8 July 2014, the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority approved a business acquisition whereby 100% of shares in Easy. KM were transferred to ALD Automotive. The seller was Governia, a special service company wholly owned by the state of Finland. Through the business acquisition, ALD Automotive fulfilled its international growth strategy and became clearly the largest service leasing company in Finland.
This was a highly significant business arrangement because it combined, in a unique way, the top expertise of two leading companies in their separate fields in company and production vehicles, both in the private and public sectors. As a result of the transaction, ALD Automotive received one-of-a-kind expertise in the provision of customised solutions in the public sector. What is more, the transaction strengthened the Group's position in leasing and management services for utility vehicles.