Italian automaker Maserati has selected the Leaselink e-procurement platform from European online procurement specialist Ebbon-Dacs for all its dealers throughout the country as it bids to increase its presence in the UK corporate market.

Under the terms of a new two year-contract, the introduction of Leaselink allows Maserati GB to move to a central ordering function, using Leaselink as a hub from which it allocates new vehicle orders to its network of 18 franchised dealers across the country.

This is a completely new approach and is in contrast to the traditional online procurement model by which major contract hire and leasing and fleet management companies source new vehicles from motor manufacturers and dealers through Leaselink on behalf of fleet customers, according to the procurement company.

According to Graeme Jenkins, National Corporate Sales Manager of Maserati GB, the reason for setting up the system in this way was to provide a better overview of all new vehicle orders and greater transparency on where they were being delivered, in line with a new local supply policy.

“Maserati firmly believes that our customers expect a complete, quality showroom experience in the handover of their new cars, at a dealership that is local to them and with whom they can then develop an ongoing relationship,” said Jenkins, who joined the company 18 months ago following 15 years in the UK automotive market, primarily with Toyota and Lexus. “We therefore wanted to see all new vehicle orders for ourselves and ensure that we could then allocate them to the most appropriate local dealership to that corporate customer. We gave Ebbon-Dacs a brief to design us a new bespoke distribution model using Leaselink as a hub that was completely in line with this local supply approach. We also contacted the major companies in the contract hire and leasing industry to ensure they were comfortable with us taking this approach, and the overwhelming majority of them supported this strategy and understood fully our reasons for adopting it.”

Maserati GB has itself funded the introduction of the Leaselink e-procurement solution at all its dealer sites in the UK to ensure consistency across the network, and that there was no additional financial burden on the dealerships.

To ensure all the Maserati dealers fully understood how to use Leaselink, which is used to source and deliver around 140,000 vehicles a year, Ebbon-Dacs introduced a training program for all Maserati dealer staff across the network who would be using the system on a regular basis.

The training was completed before Christmas and the first 10-15 orders have now gone through the new central ordering system to show that it works in a satisfactory manner.
Maserati opted to use the Leaselink system ahead of other solutions on the market because, after discussions with many of the major contract hire and leasing companies in the UK, it soon became apparent that it was the most widely used e-procurement solution available, according to Ebbon-Dacs.

“We looked at a number of options, but we wanted a system that most of the leasing companies were familiar with and comfortable with using. Cost was not the key consideration, but customer familiarity and comfort most certainly was,” added Graeme Jenkins.

Maserati has seen orders increase substantially since the introduction of the new 3.0L V-6 turbo-diesel Ghibli four door saloon in March last year, which gave the company its first major entry point into the UK corporate market, according to the company. The company is now forecasting continued growth in new vehicle orders in 2015 with sales predicted to increase from over 1,200 sold in 2014 to around 1,800 by the end of this year.