Crédit Agricole and Stellantis create new big player in operational leasing
The Crédit Agricole daughter C.A. Consumer Finance and car manufacturer Stellantis have decided to make their partnership evolve and together create a pan-European leader in operational leasing. In addition, C.A. Consumer Finance would take over 100% of the capital of FCA Bank and Leasys Rent, with the ambition of making it a Europe-wide player in car financing, leasing, and mobility.
Over the past 15 years, C.A. Consumer Finance and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have jointly developed a significant player in automotive financing: FCA Bank. In the wake of the merger between FCA and PSA to form Stellantis, CA Consumer Finance and Stellantis have entered into exclusive negotiations to redefine the focus of their cooperation.
C.A. Consumer Finance and Stellantis would create a pan-European leasing company bringing together Leasys (314 000 managed vehicles as of year-end 2020), the leasing subsidiary of FCA Bank, and the market leader in Italy, and Free2Move Lease (369 000 operated vehicles as of year-end 2020). This leasing business has historically covered the PSA brands.
This exclusive partnership between C.A. Consumer Finance and Stellantis would allow them to become one of the top five players in Europe immediately. This new multi-brand leasing joint venture, equally owned by C.A. Consumer Finance and Stellantis, would serve all customers, both companies and individuals, in ten European countries.
The Leasys leasing platform would be the foundation on which this new player would be created, with the contribution of Free2Move Lease, drawing on the teams’ professionalism and expertise. The two partners aim to develop a fleet of over one million vehicles by the end of 2026.
Stéphane Priami, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Crédit Agricole S.A. and CEO of C.A. Consumer Finance, explained: “This new player would serve the Crédit Agricole Group’s ambition to take key positions in car leasing activity, the fastest-growing segment with the greatest potential in the automobile market which is undergoing a profound change and facing evolving habits.”
“It would also contribute to Crédit Agricole’s strategic plan by meeting customers’ need for simplicity through an all-inclusive and innovative offer, and by supporting them in their energy transition through easier access to more environmentally friendly vehicles,” he added.
New Europe-wide player
In parallel, C.A. Consumer Finance would launch a Europe-wide player in car financing, leasing, and mobility by assuming a 100% ownership of FCA Bank and Leasys Rent.
This new entity would have three main development areas: the consolidation of the white label agreements and joint ventures currently managed by FCA Bank, and the gain of new ones; the pursuit of new agreements with all other players in the market (dealers, distribution groups, rental companies, etc.) in markets such as passenger vehicles, utility cars, motorbikes, leisure cars; and the short-term rental, subscription and mobility activities currently operated under the Leasys Rent brand in Europe, with more than 500 Mobility Stores1 all of which offer electric charging stations.
C.A. Consumer Finance aims to make this company one of the leading players in the market in Europe, mainly through modern and innovative solutions and white label offers, with a target of € 10 billion in outstandings by 2026.
The relevant agreements between Stellantis, Crédit Agricole S.A., and its subsidiary C.A. Consumer Finance could be signed in the first quarter of 2022 upon completing the information and consultation procedures with staff representative bodies regarding this plan.
The proposed transactions should be completed during the first half of 2023 once the required authorization has been obtained from the relevant anti-trust authorities and market regulators.
Private lease is booming
“Long-term renting and leasing is going to develop; we’re all sure of that,’ confirms Priami. “People will move from car possession to car use. Electrification also plays a role here. People will hesitate to actually buy more expensive electric vehicles.”
Long-term renting or leasing was already preferred for a long time by companies; now, there is a growing number of individual buyers getting attracted by private leases. A survey in France by the ICDP cabinet recently underlined that the car dealer of tomorrow would deliver more and more leased vehicles. The number of leased cars would almost double in the Hexagone by 2025.
Meanwhile, the big players are organizing themselves. A few months ago, ALD Automotive (a daughter of Société Générale) and LeasePlan (Europe’s number one in leasing) were sniffling at each other in view of extended collaboration.
Another big player, Arval (a BNP Paribas daughter), saw his fleet grow by 6,4% in 2020, despite the pandemic, and now has a fleet of 1 381 555 vehicles. “Our objective in the long term is to compete with those giants,” concludes Priami. “We want to take our place in an activity where we weren’t sufficiently present yet.”