Cox Automotive has announced the acquisition of the Ghent-based fleet software company FleetMaster.

The Belgian company, which also has an office in Long Beach, California, is a specialist in cloud-based workflow technology for the rental, leasing and dealership sectors, and was founded in 2011 by Tom Coene, Frederik De Witte, Willem Dumon and Jochen Firey.

Its specialism is building software on a global scale for the asset rental and leasing industry, providing a highly customisable software application that enables companies to manage and optimise their fleet and assets.

Martin Forbes, International President for Cox Automotive

Martin Forbes, International President for Cox Automotive

Credit: Cox Automotive

According to International President, Martin Forbes, the purchase will allow Cox Automotive to grow its mobility services throughout Europe, saying:

“Mobility is a huge growth area and presents a significant opportunity for us. Cox Automotive in the US has made several strategic acquisitions over the past few years in this sector, and the acquisition of FleetMaster is both an integral part of our future and a clear indication of our intent to significantly extend our mobility capabilities in Europe. We are seeing an accelerated shift towards mobility services as both the ownership and usership model across the automotive ecosystem evolves. It is therefore vital that we can offer a more extensive offering to our customers and prospects internationally.”

FleetMaster will be incorporated into the Cox Automotive Mobility division, although the co-founders will continue running the company’s day-to-day operations.

“The team we will be working with knows that this is the most exciting time in the history of transportation, and they are determined to lead the way forward,” added Frederik De Witte, one of FleetMaster’s Co-Founders. “The addition of Cox Automotive's expertise and experience will truly add more value to our global customers, ensuring they can access the best tools and knowledge to support their businesses. As a family-owned company, Cox Automotive shares similar values to ours which was an important part in our decision to join them.”

Cox Automotive says it is focused on driving the future of transportation and developing a fleet services and utilisation marketplace through Cox Automotive Mobility. The aim is to create a one-stop shop that maximises the value of a fleet asset from in-fleet to de-fleet services, fleet management platforms, flexible access / subscription facilitation, to R&D in areas such as battery health and recycling, sensor diagnostics and calibration.

Forbes added: “Acquiring a business like FleetMaster with such vast knowledge and expertise in this area is paramount to the growth of our mobility strategy. It’s a sector that will grow immensely in the coming years. I’m delighted to welcome the FleetMaster team into the Cox Automotive family, as we continue to strive towards our goal to be one of the global leaders in mobility.”

Cox Automotive has been in an acquisitive mood recently. In January this year it purchased the San Francisco, California, company Fyusion (January 2021), which specialises in immersive vehicle imaging solutions, as well as Dickinson Fleet Services, a mobile maintenance provider for medium and heavy-duty trucks and trailers in North America. More recently there was also the acquisition of German Remarketing Platform pkwNOW.

These purchases should be viewed within the framework of Cox Automotive’s own research, which suggests that fleets will own the majority of connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) vehicles in the future and will play a larger role in the future of mobility, with shared vehicles covering greater mileages and requiring more servicing and maintenance.