An expert who helps drivers find and fund the right car, van or fleet for their needs visited the ProfileTree studio to explore the future of the car industry as well as discuss vehicle leasing, vehicle technology, cross-border business and much more.
Traction Finance Director Paul McGuire also gave his insights into the highly topical subject of autonomous cars.
Paul, who is also founder of business and personal vehicle solutions company Traction Finance, explained that he bought the business in 2010 and rebranded it as ‘Lease Options’.
However, customer feedback led the company to later re-examine their brand and ask themselves how they should communicate their range of products to potential clients.
“There were a lot of people in the market who said ‘we didn’t come to you because we thought you only leased’.
“Also, I went to London to launch of the BMW i3 and i8 and thought ‘this business is changing dramatically’. That led to a workshop looking at our core values.
“We keep our customers mobile, so the name Traction Finance evolved from that”.
Paul outlined the services offered by his company.
“Predominantly we have been leasing vehicles up to three and a half tonnes really, so that’s cars and commercials, mainly to corporate clients but also for private individuals who want to hire purchase a car.
“Also, a customer may have had someone new starting who is on a probation, so they don’t want to be tied into a two or three year lease. We could give then a six month rental.
“We’ve always taken proud in being flexible with our customers. If a customer rings and says ‘I’ve someone starting I’d forgotten about’ we’ll tell them ‘we’ll have a car with you tomorrow’.”
The company is also extremely well prepared for Brexit as it already operates on an all-Ireland basis.
Traction expanded their business from Northern Ireland into the Republic of Ireland after a customer explained they were becoming an island of Ireland business and needed their vehicles to operate in the same way. The company now boasts a Dublin office with a large fleet of fully-maintained vehicles managed for customers from this second base.
Paul gave a fascinating insight into the difference between doing business in Northern Ireland compared to doing business the Republic of Ireland.
“If you can find success in business in Northern Ireland you can succeed anywhere as margins are tight here.
“There’s definitely more of an entrepreneurial attitude in the South, so it’s a case of ‘you’re close enough, I’m happy for you to make a few pounds, look after me’.
“So there’s a good understanding that everyone makes a bit of margin and the whole things keep moving.”
The Traction Finance Director said hands-on know-how in understanding all the car funding options available for a business can help Traction to advise on the best possible approach.
“For us it’s qualifying ‘what are your needs?’. We could just set up a portal and be the cheapest in the market but instead we ask questions like ‘do you have a family?’, ‘do you do sport?’, ‘do you want economy or do you want flash?’, ‘what mileage are you doing?’, ‘what are your motivators?’.
“For example, if someone is doing mega mileage I’d be telling them to buy a used car and put it on an HP or PCP agreement.
“It’s what’s best for the client, not what’s best for us. If you give the wrong advice you only get to do that once.”
Paul said younger people are moving towards a rental approach to vehicles and pointed out changes in demand for different types of car.
“We’re moving from diesel to petrol to alternative fuel vehicles. Electrification isn’t coming, it’s here. In America there are certain states where they are driving autonomous vehicles.
“So, if you have a sales guy on the road doing 30,000 miles per year diesel is still the option. But if you have someone commuting in and out on 8,000 miles per year he could be using alternative fuels, be it a hybrid or electric vehicle. Benefit in kind-wise he’s in that lower 14% bracket.”
He added that next year – 2020 – would see another change to the benefit in kind tax system.
“For a lot of customers we’re saying ‘maybe you should look at extending your contract a year to 2020’ because from April 1st 2020 if have a range of less than 30 miles, in whatever vehicle, you’re taxed at 13% or 14%.
“But if you have over 250 miles, such as in a Tesla, you’ll be taxed at 2% compared to 14% today.”
To discover more essential insights into funding the right vehicle for your needs see our full Business Leaders video interview.
Summary: Future of the Car Industry? All-Ireland Business and Electric Vehicles 2020 | Paul McGuire #Brexit
Paul McGuire explores alternative-fuel vehicles, all-Ireland business and much more.