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16 April 2013 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE'S WAKEFIELD DEPOT GOES THE EXTRA MILE TO HELP CHARITY RUNNERS

Northgate Vehicle Hire's Wakefield depot has donated a support van to Wakefield Hospice to transport 1,400 bottles of water to the start and finish lines of a 10k charity race, which was organised to help raise funds for the hospice's work within the local community.

Northgate Vehicle Hire's Wakefield depot goes the extra mile to help charity runners

The support van was donated for a week to help the charity prepare for the event, which took place last weekend. As part of the charity donation Northgate arranged for its sign-writing supplier, Advantage Signs, to provide full vehicle livery in a bid to generate brand awareness of the Wakefield Hospice within the surrounding area. Northgate has also placed a donation box at the front of its depot to help boost funds raised.

Danielle Cain, Fund Raising Coordinator at Wakefield Hospice, commented:
"It is great that Northgate Vehicle Hire has donated the support van. It has proved extremely useful for our charity race. We value the support Northgate has offered, as a charity we rely on the kind donations and help of the local community, without which, we would not be in a position to keep providing vital care to people in Wakefield. I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their generous support and donations."

Martin Stone, Branch Manager at Northgate's Wakefield depot, said:
"Here at Northgate we are always looking for ways to show our support in the local community, especially when it is for such a great cause. All the runners performed extremely well on Sunday. I'm sure their efforts are much appreciated by everyone at the hospice."

The hospice, which is a registered charity, is committed to providing the highest level of symptom management and care for people who have advanced active, progressive and life threatening illnesses.

11 April 2013 - NORTHGATE INVESTS IN WALES AND THE SOUTH WEST WITH THE APPOINTMENT OF FOUR NEW BUSINESS MANAGERS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet management solutions, has appointed four New Business Managers to its Wales and South West based depots in a bid to drive continued growth within the regions.

Northgate invests in Wales and the South West with the appointment of four New Business Managers

The four New Business Managers will manage a number of depots within each of their designated regions, with Tim Emptage heading up Northgate’s Exeter and Plymouth depots, Duncan Cole acting as New Business Manager for Cardiff and Swansea, Barbara Wilson driving new business in Swindon and Gloucestershire and Raife Wieland managing all new business leads across the South West.

Northgate invests in Wales and the South West with the appointment of four New Business Managers

Felix Beltran, Area Sales Manager for Northgate Vehicle Hire’s South West and Welsh based depots, commented:
"The appointment of our four New Business Managers coincides with a period of growth for the South West and Welsh regions and we are delighted to be in a position to appoint new members to our team. We are confident that each of our new employees will help to continue the success Northgate has experienced in these areas throughout 2013 and moving forwards."

Northgate invests in Wales and the South West with the appointment of four New Business Managers

25 March 2013 - 2013 BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGY DELIVERS NEW NORTH LONDON DEPOT FOR NORTHGATE

Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet management solutions, has launched a new depot on Staples Corner, to meet the demand for a national commercial fleet provider in the Brent Cross area. The brand new site will be Northgate’s first presence within the area and will create 11 local jobs within its first year of operation.

The depot launch forms part of Northgate's 2013 business growth strategy to expand and provide efficient and effective fleet management solutions that meet the needs of local businesses in the North London boroughs. Situated on the busy Staples Corner, the new depot is approximately 0.5 acres in size and features a range of services to help the growing fleet size in the area. The depot will house up to 70 vehicles at any one time and it is expected that the new site will eventually hold workshop facilities, creating a further five full time jobs from the third year of operation onwards.

James Fitzpatrick, Area Operations Manager for Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Our research suggests that Brent Cross is in need of a national commercial fleet provider to help service the requirements of businesses within the North London area. The launch of Northgate's Brent Cross depot is an exciting development for the local business community and we are confident that our flexible packages and array of fleet management services will deliver."

He continued: "The Brent Cross area has experienced a surge of business growth, providing Northgate with a unique opportunity to broaden its client base and continue its work across a range of industries, focusing on those showing real business opportunity for Northgate, such as; construction, wholesale and retail trade and real estate & letting agencies. Add to this, the new depot's prime location teamed with our competitive offering and full depot facilities, and we are confident that the new site will achieve strong results."

The North London depot will feature contemporary and comfortable waiting areas for customers, with designated hire desk staff and access to the latest fuel-efficient vehicles. In addition to the opening deals on offer to local businesses, such as commercial vehicle hire packages starting from £55 per week, the recent introduction of Northgate’s retail hire offering allows the general public to benefit from extremely competitive daily hire rates on both cars and vans.

15 March 2013 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE APPOINTS NEW RENTAL MANAGER TO ITS EXETER DEPOT

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has appointment Vicky Davison as Rental Manager to its Exeter depot.

Northgate Vehicle Hire appoints new Rental Manager to its Exeter depot

Having worked in the rental industry since 1990 for companies such as Avis, Arriva and Europcar, Vicky's existing industry experience will see her take responsibility of the day-to-day management of staff and drivers at Northgate's Exeter depot.

Felix Beltran, Area Sales Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"We're delighted to have Vicky on board and feel confident that her experience will help to build on what has already been a very successful year for Northgate's Exeter depot. We are confident that the depot team will continue to deliver an excellent service to businesses in the region moving forward into 2013."

11 March 2013 - NORTHGATE INVESTS IN ITS APPRENTICESHIP SCHEME AS PART OF 2013 BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGY

This Apprenticeship Week Northgate is encouraging young guns to consider a future career in the fleet industry, as the market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet management solutions gets set to increase its investment in apprenticeships as part of its 2013 business growth strategy.

Northgate invests in its Apprenticeship Scheme as part of 2013 business growth strategy

With 65 technical and non-technical apprentices already employed by Northgate across the UK, the company is set to increase the figure in the next academic year.

Northgate holds its training scheme in partnership with the Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme and the certified Mercedes-Benz programme, supporting Northgate’s strategy to support its employees in their growth and development within the company.

Ian Dunn, Head of Training at Northgate, commented:
"Having trained on an apprenticeship scheme myself I would encourage any industry hopefuls to look at apprenticeship schemes as a great route to their future career in the fleet industry. Not only do our apprentices receive hands on training via our block release training structure, we also look to continue our apprentices’ employment after they have qualified. In today’s choppy climate, valuable experience and a strong qualification is a sure fire way to get a head start in the job market, something which Northgate is keen to support and encourage via our Apprenticeship Scheme."

Abby Gorman, who is training on Northgate’s Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme at the company’s Cannock based depot, commented:
"I’m delighted to have been appointed as an apprentice under Northgate’s Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme. I am just about to complete my first NVQ year and have already gained a wealth of valuable hands on experience, leaving me confident that when I fully qualify I will have all the tools I need to kick start my career within the fleet industry. The support and dedication Northgate has shown to me and my fellow apprentices is fantastic; I would recommend an apprenticeship with Northgate to anyone looking to train under a company with a strong industry presence and real kudos."

18 February 2013 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE MAKES MULTI MILLION POUND INVESTMENT IN LONDON AS IT LOOKS FORWARD TO GROWTH

Northgate Vehicle Hire makes multi million pound investment in London as it looks forward to growth

With the launch of depots in Luton and Brent Cross imminent, Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet management solutions, is set to increase its number of UK sites significantly over the next four years, as the £400m+ turnover business looks set for growth in the next financial year. With another depot due to open this financial year, Northgate will be substantially adding to its 51,000 strong fleet, and initially bringing more than 20 new jobs to the London area.

On difficult ground when the recession hit in 2009, Northgate was faced with sinking profits and an unrecognisable brand. Subsequently going through a process of stabilising, re-structuring to remove 10% of its work force, and strengthening by moving all administrative functions to its head office in Darlington, it is currently sitting proud in its market leading position. It has also nearly completed a recruitment programme to increase the size of its regional sales force by 50% to more than 90 across the UK over the past six months to support the anticipated growth.

Northgate CEO, Bob Contreras, comments:
"There have been some difficult times over the last 24 months but also some key learnings. One such learning was our Irish operation where we’re now performing at a 15% growth rate per annum and are actually more profitable than we were pre-recession, despite the difficulties faced by many Irish businesses in the current market."

"Behavioural change brought about by the recession has also had a huge impact on our customers, with the concept of renting increasing as a more favourable option to purchasing in the UK. Throughout the UK and Ireland, we have made it through a tough transition, invested in local teams who understand the local markets and are now prospering thanks to the experience we’ve gained. We have managed the expectations of our stakeholders and kept our customers happy; a feat in itself we are incredibly proud of."

12 February 2013 - NORTHGATE INVESTS IN TEAM EXPANSION AT ITS HULL DEPOT

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has announced three new appointments at its Hull depot. Heading up the team is Shelley Forster, who has been appointed as Branch Manager. Joining Shelley is Steve Johnson, the depots new Central Workshop Administrator, and Gemma Dunkerley, Rental Representative.

Bringing extensive management skills to Northgate Vehicle Hire, Shelley has vast experience in the vehicle rental industry. Prior to her appointment with Northgate, Shelley worked at Smith Self Drive, where she became the company’s first female manager in over 30 years.

Steve Johnson has also worked in the vehicle industry for most of his career and will utilise his experience within his new role as Central Workshop Manager at Northgate. His new responsibilities include receiving all breakdown and recovery calls, as well as overseeing all administration related duties.

Gemma Dunkerley, who returns to Northgate following maternity leave brings with her an already established knowledge of the company and will be responsible for meeting and greeting customers and general administration duties.

Tony Long, Area Operations Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"It’s been a fantastic 12 months for Northgate and to finish off the year with three new appointments at our Hull depot is great. Shelley, Steve and Gemma have brought a wealth of experience to the team and we look forward to seeing each of them achieve great results in 2013."

05 February 2013 - NORTHGATE HAS LANDED IN LUTON AS PART OF 2013 BUSINESS GROWTH STRATEGY

In response to demand for a national commercial fleet provider in the Luton area, Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet management solutions, has launched a brand new site on Hatters Way. The new depot will create seven jobs within the first year of operation, continuing Northgate’s 2013 business growth strategy to expand and provide efficient and effective fleet solutions that meet the needs of local businesses.

Northgate has landed in Luton as part of 2013 business growth strategy

Located on the main route from Luton to Dunstable and next to the M1, the new depot is approximately 1.5 acres in size and is ideally equipped to service the needs of the growing fleet size in Luton, with up to 80 vehicles being housed at the new depot at any one time. It is also anticipated that the new depot will eventually hold full workshop facilities and the depot will eventually create 10 full time jobs from year three onwards.

James Fitzpatrick, Area Operations Manager for Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"The launch of the new site in Luton is a fantastic opportunity to better service the needs of our customers within the area. The region has experienced a period of business growth, which in turn has provided Northgate with a unique opportunity to trade in an area that houses a diverse mix of business opportunities. We’ll be focusing on working closely with sectors showing real potential in Luton, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale and retail and logistics."

He continued: “The Luton depot is based at a primary site on Hatters Way, enabling us to appeal to surrounding Bedfordshire businesses. This, paired with our attractive flexible rental offering and full depot facilities, leaves us confident that the site will experience the same success as neighbouring businesses in the area.”

The new depot will offer customers state of the art and comfortable waiting areas. With friendly and helpful hire desk staff and access to the latest fuel efficient vehicles, customers can be ensured of the best possible experience from the moment they walk through the door to the moment they drive away.

Local Sales Manager, James Caves, commented:
"As a local person who lives and works here I have seen for myself the potential that the Luton and surrounding area holds for Northgate. This prime location is easily accessible from the M1 and, being positioned on a main route into the town centre, we expect to be able to do a lot of business working alongside local businesses helping them tackle the challenges of running reliable and cost efficient fleet operations."

The depot launch coincides with the Luton Gateway multi-million pound area regeneration project, which has seen Luton, amongst other Bedfordshire towns, being highlighted as a ‘growth area’ for business development. As a result, the Luton depot will be offering opening deals to new local businesses, in addition to commercial vehicle hire packages starting from £55 per week. In addition, the recent introduction of Northgate’s retail hire offering allows the general public to benefit from extremely competitive daily hire rates on both cars and vans.

The new depot can be found at Unit 18, Cosgrove Way, Luton, LU1 1XL.

29 January 2013 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE GETS SET FOR GROWTH BY APPOINTING A NEW HEAD OF REGIONAL SALES

Northgate Vehicle Hire gets set for growth by appointing a new Head of Regional Sales

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet management solutions, has appointed Neil Burroughs as Head of Regional Sales for the UK and Ireland as part of a business growth strategy for 2013.

Previously working as Head of Sales for independent financial services group, Tenet, Neil has a wealth of experience in driving growth for businesses. Neil also has considerable knowledge in fine-tuning corporate propositions and acquisitions, following his work as a consultant for leading international companies such as Zurich and Oaktree Capital.

As Head of Regional Sales, Neil will be responsible for driving growth and profit across Northgate’s ten UK and Ireland based regions, in addition to fine-tuning the company’s flexible fleet solutions offering to ensure the proposition has added value and maintains a customer focus.

Neil commented on his new role:
"Northgate’s offering is unique; not only do we offer complete fleet management solutions for businesses, but flexible vehicle hire too. It is this exclusive proposition that, as Head of Regional Sales, I am keen to further develop in order to drive business growth moving forward."

Neil continued: "I hope to achieve this by working closely with the new management team and company board to emphasise the existing focus on the customer and also by directing an internal effort on developing the skill set of our employees to ensure Northgate is delivering an excellent service across the board."

18 January 2013 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE APPOINTS NEW RENTAL MANAGER IN HUNTINGDON

Northgate Vehicle Hire appoints new Rental Manager in Huntingdon

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has welcomed a new staff member at its Huntingdon depot, with the appointment of Katherine Butler-Duffin as Rental Manager.

Previously working as Regional Manager at Monarch Personnel, Katherine brings with her a vast amount of experience and expertise in managing and being responsible for a team of eighty plus personnel. Katherine will be responsible for managing the hire desk as well as the driver and valet staff, in addition to overseeing the depot's budgets and finances.

Katherine Butler-Duffin, Rental Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire in Huntingdon, commented: "Having worked in the aviation industry for most of my working life, I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the fleet industry. Northgate has always been a company that I have admired from afar, from its clever branding to its smart approach to staff training. I'm thrilled to be a part of the Huntingdon team."

Mark O'Mahoney, Area Operations Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"We are delighted to have welcomed Katherine to the team and have every confidence that her wealth of experience will assist the Huntingdon depot in its growth moving forward."

15 January 2013 - NORTHGATE CELEBRATES RECORD GROWTH & PROFITS AFTER CONTEMPLATING CLOSURE

The Irish operation of Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet solutions, is performing at its best ever rate with a 15% growth per annum, despite the trials and tribulations faced by many Irish businesses in the current market.

Northgate celebrates record growth & profits after contemplating closure

After contemplating closing 18 months ago, the business opened new depots in Cork and Limerick in 2012, in addition to its base in Belfast and depot in Dublin. Now more profitable than it was pre-recession, Northgate also appointed two local staff at the Limerick depot and is recruiting for five new positions throughout 2013.

Northgate CEO, Bob Contreras, commented:
"We had to look hard at the business, its model and its people but, after successfully making it through this transition and investing in a local team who knows the local market, we are currently prospering. And not only are we prospering in Ireland, but elsewhere in the UK too. Our Irish operation has been our learning curve and, while there have been some incredibly dark days, the future now looks bright."

Northgate opened its Limerick depot, located on Cathedral Place in Limerick City, after increased demand from customers in the West of Ireland. The Cork depot is located in Ballytrasna, Little Island. Both depots are approximately 2000sq ft in size and cater for walk in rentals and private hire.

11 January 2013 - SAFETY FIRST - NORTHGATE PARTNERS WITH GOODYEAR DUNLOP TO INCREASE ITS FLEET SAFETY THROUGHOUT THE UK AND IRELAND

Safety first - Northgate partners with Goodyear Dunlop to increase its fleet safety throughout the UK and Ireland

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet solutions, has partnered with 4Fleet, the UK fleet service from Goodyear Dunlop, in a three-year contract that demonstrates the vehicle hire company's commitment to fleet safety.

The partnership will see Northgate fit its 52,000 UK and Ireland based fleet of vehicles on "premium only" tyres. The partnership also includes round the clock support for 365 days a year, alongside transparent real-time tracking through 4Fleet's FleetOnlineSolutions system.

Northgate's commitment to its tyre policy is such that it has adopted the Dunlop Econodrive product. This premium product will provide Northgate customers with increased tyre safety, fuel efficiency and product mileage, which in turn will help to reduce cost for Northgate customers throughout the UK and Ireland.

Mike Willink, Northgate's Supply Chain and Business Development Director, commented:
"Operating a fleet the size of Northgate's means the need for both operational and economic efficiencies is always paramount, as is our commitment to providing our customers with the best possible service. We took the decision to move to a "premium only" tyre policy for a number of reasons, but notably because it will deliver benefits to both Northgate and our customers through improved wear, fuel efficiency and safety and environmental qualities."

Mike continued, "We were also particularly impressed with the level of innovation that the Dunlop Econodrive offered and we are confident that our partnership with Goodyear Dunlop's 4Fleet team will provide our customers with a heightened premium service, with very clear benefits from both a safety and cost saving perspective."

Kerry Watts, Consumer Fleet Business Manager at Goodyear Dunlop UK & Ireland, added:
"We have enjoyed a relationship with Northgate that stretches back over 12 years. However, the re-launch of our comprehensive 4Fleet service a year ago enabled us to offer Northgate a truly market leading service. We're confident that Northgate and its customers will enjoy impressive mileage and fuel efficiency from this product."

04 January 2013 - NORTHGATE CONSTRUCTS FLEXIBLE COMPLETE FLEET SOLUTION PACKAGE FOR MORGAN SINDALL GROUP PLC

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet solutions, has partnered with Morgan Sindall Group plc, a leading UK construction and regeneration group, in reducing the outlay of capital on its 1,000+ fleet of commercial vehicles.

Northgate constructs flexible complete fleet solution package for Morgan Sindall Group plc

The new partnership sees Northgate provide Morgan Sindall Group with a complete fleet solution, which includes over 550 rental vehicles in addition to fleet management services such as pay as you go service, maintenance and repair, a direct driver line, breakdown and recovery and vehicle monitoring services for the remaining funded light commercial fleet. The driving factor behind the partnership was Northgate's ability to provide Morgan Sindall Group with transparency across its fleet of commercial vehicles, which in turn works to reduce costs for the company.

In addition to these services, Northgate's unique fleet management software, Fleet Dynamix, offers Morgan Sindall Group the capability to view and manage its owned, leased and rented commercial vehicles in real time, and provides comprehensive management information across the entire light commercial fleet.

Andy Riley, Commercial Sales Manager for Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Morgan Sindall Group plc is a leading UK construction and regeneration group. It works on diverse projects across the length and breadth of the country, and with this comes the need for a flexible and effective fleet solution, one which can be achieved via Northgate's complete fleet solution package. Not only do we supply Morgan Sindall Group with high quality, fuel-efficient rental vehicles but we offer the company a bespoke fleet management service that allows it to reduce fixed costs and maintain operational efficiency. We are confident that our partnership will continue to grow from strength to strength in 2013."

Jonathan Hall, Director of Plant at Morgan Sindall, commented: "The complete fleet solutions package that Northgate has constructed for Morgan Sindall Group provides us with the ability to choose the correct acquisition method for our light commercial fleet, dependent upon each of our individual contract commitments. The flexibility of utilising rental vehicles or funding vehicles over a longer period, allied with the comprehensive fleet management expertise available from our partnership with Northgate, will undoubtedly allow us to shape future fleet policy and result in an overall reduction in fleet running costs."

18 December 2012 - NORTHGATE HELPS CHARITY FUNDRAISERS CELEBRATE THE HALF A MILLION MARK

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet solutions, has partnered with Theydon Bois and District Friends of Cancer Research UK to help members of the charity celebrate raising £500,000 over the past 40 years.

Northgate helps charity fundraisers celebrate the half a million mark

Northgate's Waltham Cross depot provided a minibus and driver for 12 fundraisers after they were invited by Cancer Research UK to tour its research laboratory to mark their success. The minibus enabled members of Theydon Bois and District Friends of Cancer Research UK to visit and tour the charity's facilities and receive a big thank you from the team at Cancer Research UK.

Northgate's Waltham Cross depot became involved with the charity after appointing Driver and Valeter Peter Parkin to the team over three years ago. Peter has been associated with Theydon Bois and District Friends of Cancer Research UK for over 18 years and sits as Chairman for the charity fundraisers.

Peter Parkin, Chairman of Theydon Bois and District Friends of Cancer Research UK and Driver at Northgate's Waltham Cross depot, commented:
"We are delighted that Northgate agreed to support our charity. The van and driver that they provided enabled us to visit the fantastic Cancer Research UK facilities and see for ourselves where the money we have raised has been put to good use."

Colin Graham, Hiredesk Manager at Northgate Waltham Cross, commented:
"When Peter approached me about providing a van for this opportunity, I knew Northgate would be more than happy to support such a worthwhile charity and help it to celebrate such a major milestone. We are extremely proud of Peter and his fundraising team and we wish them the best of luck with raising their next £500,000."

Northgate helps charity fundraisers celebrate the half a million mark

13 December 2012 - NORTHGATE HULL HELPS CASH FOR KIDS IN THE RUN UP TO CHRISTMAS

Northgate Vehicle Hire has partnered with Cash for Kids, a children's charity set up by Yorkshire based radio stations Viking FM & Magic 1161 and 96.3 Radio Aire & Magic 828, which form part of the Bauer Radio Group. Cash for Kids delivers "Mission Christmas" to help provide disadvantaged children with Christmas gifts throughout the festive season.

Northgate Hull helps Cash for Kids in the run up to Christmas

Northgate's Hull van hire depot has provided two Volkswagen Transporter vans to the Cash for Kids charity to deliver over £650,000 worth of gifts to local children across Yorkshire from disadvantaged backgrounds. Based in Leeds and Hull, the Transporter vehicles are easily spotted as Advantage Signs has also donated free livery for the vehicles in a bid to help boost awareness of Cash for Kids' hard work within the region.

Shelley Forster, Branch Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire's Hull depot, commented:
"Cash for Kids is a fantastic charity that works hard to raise the hopes of vulnerable and disadvantaged children within the local area. Northgate is delighted to have donated the vans and we hope they will help to spread a little festive joy across the county this Christmas."

Katy Winterschladen, Head of Bauer Yorkshire's Cash for Kids, commented:
"Thank you so much to Northgate Vehicle Hire for kindly donating the Mission Christmas transporter vans. The vans are the driving forces behind Mission Christmas, collecting all of the gifts from the hundreds of drop off points across the region. These gifts will then be distributed to the neediest local children who are at risk of waking up to nothing on Christmas morning."

To watch the Mission Christmas video and get involved, please visit www.radioaire.com/missionchristmas or call 0113 283 5555. Thank you, together we can keep the Christmas Dream Alive.

05 December 2012 - NORTHGATE SPONSORS MAMMOTH CHARITY CYCLE CHALLENGE

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, which has a depot in Bolton, has recently showed its support for a charity cycle challenge in memory of Elliot Granger organised by his parents Louise and Simon Granger.

Northgate sponsors mammoth charity cycle challenge

Team Elliot has gone on to raise over £3,800 for the Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Trust after successfully cycling 170 miles across Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Louise and Simon Granger were motivated to raise awareness of spinal muscular atrophy Type 1 after the sad loss of their son Elliot in February this year, who suffered from the disease. Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) is an inherited neuromuscular condition that very specifically affects nerve cells in the spinal cord called lower motor neurons. SMA is a relatively rare disease that affects approximately 1 in 6,000 - 10,000 babies born and about 1 in 40 of us carry one of these faulty gene copies. SMA is a recessive genetic disorder, meaning that two faulty copies of the disease gene have to come together, one from each parent for the disease to occur.

As part of their mission the couple, along with 12 others, completed the 170-mile three-day Way Of The Roses cycle challenge, which saw Team Elliot cover routes across Lancashire and Yorkshire on the National Cycle Network including Linton-on-Ouse, York and Bridlington, all in an effort to raise money for SMA research.

As well as sponsoring the team, Northgate provided a minibus and transit van, both with a free tank of fuel, to contribute to the team's amazing effort, which saw them battle through floods and rain, before finishing in Bridlington.

Louise and Simon Granger, commented:
"The cycle ride was in memory of our perfect little boy Elliot. After losing Elliot we wanted to do something challenging in Elliot's memory to help raise awareness of SMA as until Elliot was diagnosed we had never heard of it."

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, added:
"We believe it is extremely important to contribute to charity efforts like Team Elliot's cycle challenge. We were delighted when Louise approached us and were more than happy to provide vehicles for the team. They have raised a huge amount for such a well-deserved charity and we hope they turn to Northgate for support in the future."

The team has raised more than £3,800 and is still collecting sponsorship. To donate please visit justgiving.com/TeamElliot4SMAT.

Northgate sponsors mammoth charity cycle challenge

28 November 2012 - NORTHGATE GETS TO "GRITS" IN THE RUN UP TO CHRISTMAS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet solutions, has partnered with GRITIT to assist the UK's leading winter risk management specialist in its rapid growth across the UK.

Northgate gets to "grits" in the run up to Christmas

The complete fleet solution partnership includes services such as maintenance and breakdown cover on GRITIT's 200-strong fleet of vehicles, which ranges from 4x4s to pick-ups and vans - a task that was previously managed in house by GRITIT.

In addition to these services, Northgate's flexible vehicle hire allows GRITIT to meet demand in busy cold periods throughout the winter months without investing capital in purchasing vehicles and growing its own fleet. GRITIT can simply hand back the keys to its vehicles when the busy period is over, without penalty.

Andy Riley, Commercial Sales Manager for Complete Fleet Solutions at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Our partnership with GRITIT highlights the extensive services Northgate has to offer. There is a common misconception that Northgate focuses its offering on vehicle hire alone, this is not the case - over the past 24 months we have invested heavily into developing our complete fleet solution offering and supporting this with continual training and development of our growing sales team and investment in the Northgate depot and workshop network."

Andy continued, "As a result we are in a position to offer cost effective and flexible fleet solutions for customers both new and old. In GRITIT's case this has led to a bespoke partnership with Northgate, which is tailored to the company's needs."

Northgate's partnership with GRITIT will also provide the company with complete vehicle visibility using the market leading Fleet Dynamix software platform, which monitors vehicles' location, age, maintenance history and movements, which is set to help to reduce costs during GRITIT's continued period of growth.

Nikki Singh-Barmi, managing director at GRITIT, added: "Our team of operators, or gritters, work around the clock in often very icy conditions. They play a vital role in keeping retailers, offices and banks open for business - whatever the weather. It is therefore vital to ensure that the vehicles they use are maintained to the highest standards - not only for their safety, but also for customers and the general public."

"Given our rapid growth, we considered it necessary to begin working with a partner on the vehicle fleet management side. Northgate provided a tailored package to suit our unusual requirements, and we hope to develop this relationship further as we continue to grow."

For further information on GRITIT, please visit www.gritit.com.

Northgate gets to "grits" in the run up to Christmas

15 November 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE REACHES NEW HEIGHTS WITH CHARITY MOUNTAIN CLIMB

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible van hire and complete fleet solutions, reached new heights when 16 members of its Head Office team climbed Ben Nevis for charity - raising a massive £1,925 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance, Everyman Cancer, Help for Heroes and Cancer Research UK.

Northgate Vehicle Hire reaches new heights with charity mountain climb

Led by Maximum Adventure, the team began the 1,334 metre ascent up Ben Nevis on 13th October. Battling through foggy and icy conditions the group climbed to the top within five and a half hours. All 16 participants successfully completed the challenge, which saw the team trekking for a total of 10 hours.

Adrian Beckett, Technical Support Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"The trek presented us with quite a challenge, with the wintery weather conditions keeping us on our toes! We would like to thank all colleagues, family members and friends who donated money to these very worthy causes. We're very proud of our achievements, it was a great team effort all round."

Northgate Vehicle Hire reaches new heights with charity mountain climb

15 November 2012 - NO NEED TO SPEED! NORTHGATE ENCOURAGES DRIVERS TO SLOW DOWN THIS ROAD SAFETY WEEK

Northgate Vehicle Hire is teaming up with road safety charity, Brake, to help raise awareness of the importance of driving safely in the area this Road Safety Week, 19th - 25th November, with the use of their road safety mascot Bright Van Man.

No Need to Speed! Northgate encourages drivers to slow down this Road Safety Week

The market leader in flexible vehicle hire and complete fleet solutions is encouraging its managers and employees to promote this road safety message to the local community.

Bright Van Man will this year encourage drivers to reduce their speed with his "No Need to Speed!" campaign. Through the dedicated Bright Van Man webpage on the Northgate Vehicle Hire website and page on the Northgate intranet, the road safety mascot communicates five top tips and facts to drivers:

  1. Speed Kills: Slower speeds save lives - a pedestrian hit at 20mph has a 95% chance of survival. At 40mph there's an 80% chance they'll die.
  2. Keep Your Distance: The higher the speed the greater the stopping distance. A car travelling at 30mph has a stopping distance of 23 metres (six car lengths). This increases to 96 metres (24 car lengths) at 70mph.
  3. Road Conditions: The national speed limit is not a target! Think about the road conditions. Fog, rain, ice and traffic flow should all influence your speed.
  4. Vulnerable Road Users: Be aware of vulnerable road users such as cyclists, joggers and horse riders.
  5. Rural Driving: Take care on rural roads - fatal accidents are four times as likely on rural roads than urban roads.

Colin Gilstin, Group Safety & Environment Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Road Safety Week is a great opportunity each year for Northgate to raise awareness of the dangers that are exposed to us in our everyday lives. Speeding is a preventable action, we encourage all to take into consideration the risks involved when they put themselves behind a wheel."

Northgate has also compiled a Driver's Guide covering speed safety and other key road safety topics including drink and drug driving, mobile phone use and driver fatigue. The Driver's Guide and a Bright Van Man poster can be downloaded from the dedicated Bright Van Man webpage.

14 November 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE INVESTS IN NEW MANAGEMENT TEAM IN SCOTLAND

Northgate Vehicle Hire has continued to invest in its Scottish management team this month with the appointment of Derek Barr as New Business Manager and Jonathan Outterson as Account Manager for its depots in Aberdeen, Broxburn, Glasgow and Stirling. The new appointments will see both Derek and Jonathan apply their extensive experience into driving sales and new business in the region.

Northgate Vehicle Hire invests in new management team in Scotland

Derek Barr, who previously worked as Area and Regional Manager for Hallmark's Scottish multi-site franchise, Goldline Networking, will be responsible for increasing new business sales in Scotland. Derek also has experience in the motor trade as Sales Manager for Suzuki Glasgow and Regional Business Manager for Citroen's Northern England and Scotland based commercial vehicle arm.

Joining Derek is Jonathan Outterson who has extensive experience in the commercial and corporate banking sector, including working as Relationship Manager for IBS Intelligence and Clydesdale Bank. Jonathan will transfer his banking experience as he heads up the management of Northgate's existing client accounts in Scotland.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Both Jonathan and Derek have proven track records in maintaining exceptional client relationships and driving sales. We are confident that this experience will help to further increase Northgate's success in Scotland and contribute to the company's growth moving forward."

12 November 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE APPOINTS NATIONAL SALES AND MARKETING DIRECTOR

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible hire and fleet solutions, has appointed Jon Tobbell as National Sales and Marketing Director to drive the company's ambitious plans into 2013.

Northgate Vehicle Hire appoints National Sales and Marketing Director

Previously working as Commercial Director for Hermes Logistics, Jon has a strong track record when it comes to delivering results, having achieved an impressive 50% revenue increase in his former role. Jon hopes to achieve comparable results in his new role for Northgate.

The position will see Jon take charge of Northgate's 100 strong sales team across the company's 62 sites. Reporting to Northgate's CEO, Bob Contreras, Jon will be responsible for driving sales for the national team which, after a re-structure earlier this year, now involves Fleet Management, Vehicle Monitoring and Northgate Vehicle Sales, allowing the company to consult with customers using one representative to support their complete fleet needs.

On his new role, Jon commented:
"There is a common misconception that Northgate only offers commercial vehicle hire, this is not the case; Northgate offers flexible hire and complete fleet solutions, and it is this untold story that appealed to me. As National Sales and Marketing Director it is now my responsibility to ensure that this message transpires and, as a result, our complete fleet solutions help to generate further growth across the business."

Jon continued, "Northgate is widely accepted as the market leader in commercial vehicle hire, it is my goal to raise the bar and drive Northgate forward as the leader of complete fleet solutions."

12 November 2012 - ONLINE LEADS BRING IN THE BUCKS FOR NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE

Northgate Vehicle Hire has recorded a 20% conversion to account from enquiries submitted through its website in the last quarter (May - August 2012). The increase, which peaked to 25% in July, equates to 323 leads and 139 vehicles on hire (VOH) throughout the three-month period.

Comparable to 148 VOH throughout the whole of the last financial year, the figures show a significant uplift in website performance for the market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"As a company Northgate has gone through a lot of changes over the last year and this is showing in our performance levels. There has been more of a focus on our online resources from a marketing point of view and our customers are using the website as a reliable way to submit an enquiry and request a call back from a member of the sales team. The rise in conversions reflects the enormous increase in people, from all sectors whether wholesale or construction, using the web instead of picking up the phone."

31 October 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE'S RETAIL HIRE REVENUE GOES THROUGH THE ROOF

Northgate Vehicle Hire is on track to double its year end revenue from its retail hire product to £4.4million after tremendous success with its consumer offering, which gives members of the local community access to van hire for as little as £25 per day.

Northgate Vehicle Hire's retail hire revenue goes through the roof

Website bookings have also peaked, with a year-on-year increase of 312%, as a result of increased demand from members of the public looking for van hire for personal use. Standardised pricing was introduced throughout all of Northgate's UK depots earlier this year, to ensure customers receive the highest quality vehicles at extremely competitive rates.

Northgate's retail hire offering means that members of the public can walk into any Northgate depot and hire a van without having a business account, leading to increased accessibility for customers. Northgate also introduced a new loyalty scheme earlier this year, whereby customers can hire a high quality vehicle for free after receiving five stamps.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"We re-launched our retail hire offering in January and, since then, it has quite literally gone through the roof. Our customers have access to extremely competitive rates and, as a company, Northgate is becoming more associated with retail hire, in addition to our better known 'complete fleet solutions' for businesses. We're all set to be 100% up on the last financial year and can only anticipate further growth in this area as we approach 2013."

October 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE "SHARES" ITS SUCCESS WITH NEW STAFF REWARD PROGRAMME

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has recently introduced a free shares scheme for all staff members who have been with the company for over 12 months. The new initiative, which was promoted to colleagues through the use of an internal campaign, has proved very popular, with over 90% of staff signing up for the scheme in the two months since its launch.

Northgate Vehicle Hire "shares" its success with new staff reward programme

Launched in July, the Free Shares Award has allowed staff members to receive 250 free shares with the company worth over £500. With Northgate already bucking industry trends after an 11% rise in annual profits was reported last month, it is now in a strong position to share its success with its staff.

Marc Bertrand, HR Director at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"We are delighted to be in a position to thank our employees with a free shares scheme that rewards their contribution to our success. We expect to see the shares award become a fantastic free investment and a great way of rewarding our employees for their continued hard work and dedication to Northgate Plc."

September 2012 - FANTASTIC FOUR - NORTHGATE STAFF MEMBERS RAISE A WHOPPING £7,638 FOR CHOSEN CHARITIES AT THE GREAT NORTH RUN

Four staff members from Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, ran the Great North Run on Sunday 16th September and raised an impressive £7,638 in total.

Ben Fawcett took on the iconic race to show his support for Epilepsy Action

Each Northgate staff member managed to complete the challenging race for their chosen charities, with some exceeding their fundraising target.

  • Senior Buyer, Ben Fawcett took on the iconic race to show his support for Epilepsy Action. Ben has been supporting the charity since his childhood friend suddenly died from an epileptic seizure earlier this year.
  • Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager, raised a remarkable £1,500 for The Variety Club, a charity he has been involved with for many years.
  • Jonathan Smith, IT Director, and his two brothers successfully completed the run and raised £4,344 for CLIC Sargent, a charity that is very close to Jonathan's heart.
  • Joining Jonathan was John New, IT Infrastructure Architect, and his wife who smashed their £500 target for MacMillan Cancer support by an impressive £200.

September 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE DRIVES SWEET SUCCESS FOR EXPANDING CONFECTIONARY BUSINESS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has helped Ireland based Tubs Sweets in its continued expansion this month with the supply of eight fully branded vehicles. Hitting the road from early September, the eight strong fleet of vehicles were supplied by Northgate Vehicle Hire on a flexible contract, which includes cost effective features such as vehicle maintenance, back up service throughout the UK and, in Tubs Sweets' case, branded vehicle wrapping and text. The flexible contract has helped the confectionary company in its growth by reducing fixed costs, freeing company funds to drive into an expansion program.

Northgate Vehicle Hire drives sweet success for expanding confectionary business

Brian Gilna, Sales Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Our partnership with Tubs Sweets has been a great success. 12 months ago the company was a new start up, so our flexible vehicle hire proved to be a sweet deal for the company. So much so, that one year on we have increased the number of Sprinters hired by the company to eight. And to sugar coat the deal we included full vehicle wrapping and text branding under one rental cost."

Brian continued, "At Northgate we work hard to ensure our contracts are as flexible as possible, which enables businesses of all sizes to access, utilise and benefit from our services."

Kevin Ginty, MD at Tubs Sweets, commented:
"Over the past 12 months our company has grown from strength to strength and so working with a flexible vehicle rental company has been essential. The Northgate team has been incredibly supportive and productive from day one. We wouldn't hesitate to recommend their flexible and cost effective services to any business affiliate."

In a bid to react to the company's rapid expansion, Northgate also supplied the fully branded vehicles within just three weeks of ordering. Northgate has worked closely with Tubs Sweets, which is based in Co Wicklow in Ireland over the past 12 months to support the company's expansion plans and the confectionary company is now looking to invest in a further three vehicles in the coming months.

September 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE INVESTS IN FUTURE GROWTH WITH APPOINTMENT OF NEW SUPPLY CHAIN AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR

Northgate Vehicle Hire has continued its growth and development this month by appointing a Supply Chain and Business Development Director. Mike Willink, who has worked at Northgate for the past year has taken the position to help further drive an integrated approach to the supply chain from vehicle purchase through to rental and finally ex-fleet vehicle sales.

Mike will also be working with the UK sales and marketing team at Northgate, currently standing at over 60 strong, to help develop the company's future growth plans. He brings with him a wealth of experience, including working with brands such as Rolls Royce and private equity company, Endless.

The news comes after a successful year of growth for Northgate with the company already achieving an 11% increase in annual profits on last year.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Mike has worked with our company on an interim basis for the past year and, having witnessed the impressive results he has achieved, we are extremely confident that he will deliver equally significant results within his new role."

Jonathan continued, "Northgate has completely restructured its offering in the past 18 months. This has allowed us to provide our customers, suppliers and business partners alike with a more structured and productive way of working."

August 2012 - NORTHGATE APPOINTS NEW AREA SALES MANAGER FOR THE NORTH EAST

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has welcomed a new senior staff member to its team this month, with the appointment of John Deacon as Area Sales Manager for the North East.

Previously working as Business Development Manager at the CAON Group, John Deacon brings with him a wealth of expertise and experience in sales management and staff training. John will be responsible for driving sales in the North East, along with heading up business relations and prospects for five of Northgate's 60 sites.

John Deacon, North East Area Sales Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Although this will be my first role working within the fleet industry, I have always admired Northgate's innovative business model, from its clever branding to its smart approach to staff training. I'm delighted to have been welcomed on board and I'm looking forward to investing my knowledge and expertise in sales management and training to drive sales within the North East."

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"Throughout 2012 Northgate Vehicle Hire has continued to grow from strength to strength. We have recorded an annual profit rise of 11%, which, in turn, has lead to investment in both infrastructure and people. We are delighted to have welcomed John to the team and we have every confidence that his wealth of experience will assist Northgate in its growth moving forward."

August 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE CONTINUES TO HELP CHARITY WITH COMMUNITY REGENERATION

Market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, Northgate Vehicle Hire, has shown its continued support to the training and enterprise charity Building Futures East this month by sponsoring a category at the charity's "Celebrate Success" awards.

The awards saw in excess of 120 people celebrate the successes of the charity's learning groups. Northgate sponsored the Customer Service category at the awards to highlight the importance it places on skills in customer service.

In addition to sponsoring the awards, over the past four years Northgate has offered continued support to Building Futures East, including donating two Northgate vans, offering advice and assistance on adhering to Government legislation such as health and safety, investing time in mentoring the charity's financial management and helping to increase the social enterprise's financial standing. Chris Muir, Financial Director at Northgate Vehicle Hire, has stood as a trustee of the charity for the past four years.

Chris Muir, Financial Director at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"Northgate places a huge emphasis on investing in the development of its employees, an ethos which is reflected by Building Futures East. The charity invests an incredible amount into developing positive growth within our communities and encouraging disadvantaged people into training and employment programmes."

Chris continued: "The work Building Futures East achieves is incredible and we are proud to play our part in helping the charity to regenerate our communities."

Anthony Woods-Waters, Chief Executive of Building Futures East, commented:
"To have an established and respected brand such as Northgate supporting our charity makes a huge difference. Northgate's continued support has been invaluable. We are particularly grateful for the time Chris Muir has invested in helping Building Futures East to be financially viable. This, in turn, has allowed us to support thousands of people in disadvantaged communities."

For further information please visit www.buildingfutureseast.org.

July 2012 - NORTHGATE ESTABLISHES NEW APPROACH TO COMPANY RECRUITMENT WITH LAUNCH OF CAREERS WEBSITE

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has teamed up with recruitment solution partners, Resource Bank, to launch a new Northgate Careers website. Launched in May, NorthgateCareers.co.uk has attracted over 12,300 visits, resulting in 418 CV submissions and 16 new appointments.

The new website, which was launched to improve Northgate's employer brand awareness within the industry has centralised the company's recruitment process as well as streamlining and speeding up the logging and authorisation of all new job roles. Home to a host of features including a behind the scenes online authorisation portal, which allows all job roles to be logged centrally by Northgate's 250 plus hiring managers, a job vacancy library and "submit your CV" function, the site also features a series of interesting and helpful collateral to give visitors useful interview hints and tips and in depth information about Northgate.

Lee McLane, Head of HR, commented:
"The Northgate Careers website has proved to be an extremely useful tool for our business. It allows us to monitor the interest in our advertised vacancies in a consistent and cost effective way. Here at Northgate, we are always looking for innovative solutions to industry issues, and the launch of our careers website is just one of many new initiatives we are developing that offer our company a new and more effective way of operating."

Lee continued:
"The ultimate aim was to create a website that would accurately communicate the Northgate brand. We didn't want to sugar coat the reality of working for Northgate, nor did we want to undersell ourselves. We wanted to give an honest insight into the Northgate environment and strike a chord with the right type of candidates, attracting those people with the energy, drive and willingness to roll up their sleeves to help Northgate get where it wants to be. So whether it's a mechanic looking for a workshop position, a sales person looking to be part of our commercial team or an accounts administrator wanting to work in our Head Office in Darlington, they can find out what it is like to work in that specific type of role."

Gavin Clark, Telemarketing Manager, continued:
"The new recruitment procedure has been welcomed with open arms by our department and our first experience of recruiting through this new method has been extremely positive. I'm 100% happy with the service that the new recruitment partners have delivered. They have taken away all the time consuming aspects of the recruitment processes that in the past have left hiring managers such as myself dedicating a lot of time to the screening process. We can now concentrate on doing our day-to-day job, confident that all the crucial ground work for selecting the best candidates is taken care of by a professional and reliable team. The end result being that we are presented with top calibre candidates from which to choose."

July 2012 - ROAD TO SUCCESS - NORTHGATE DRIVES INVESTMENT IN 30 NEW APPRENTICES

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has demonstrated its commitment to the future skill set of its employees this summer by investing in 30 workshop apprentices across the country, adding to the 40 plus apprentices already employed by Northgate.

Out of the 30 new employees, who will gain hands on experience and structured training throughout their apprenticeships, 12 will be specifically trained on a certified Mercedes-Benz programme with the remaining 18 honing their skills via the Ford Masters Apprenticeship programme.

The Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme will be managed and co-ordinated on behalf of Ford by training partners Skillnet, with apprentices attending dedicated block release training at Daventry or Blackpool. The Mercedes-Benz Apprentice Programme will be managed by the Mercedes-Benz in-house Apprentice Management Team with the apprentices attending on a block release basis at the Mercedes-Benz Training Centre at Tongwell, Milton Keynes.

Ian Dunn, Head of Training, commented:
"We are continuing to focus on growing the number of apprentices throughout Northgate, as this form of recruitment into the company has proven to be a highly effective way of securing future talent. The quality of the screening process in the recruitment of these apprentices ensures that we have only the most highly capable, motivated and enthusiastic young people entering the company, strengthening our commitment to providing the best levels of customer service at all times."

June 2012 - NORTHGATE DEFIES DOWNTURN WITH PROFIT RISE

Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in flexible vehicle hire, has this morning announced an 11% rise in annual profits. The results reflect a series of changes across the business, including higher hire rates, a rise in used vehicle sales and a refining of the company's UK and Spanish fleets.

Having reduced its van fleet by 13%, from 104,700 to 91,300, over the last 12 months, the senior management team has been working to make the entire organisation more efficient and effective.

Northgate made £46m in the year ending 30 April, up 74% from £26.5m in the previous year. It has also made an extra 19% profit on each van hired out in Spain. The operating profit margin in the UK rose 23% on higher hire rates and reduced loan repayments.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"In these uncertain times we're finding that more companies are choosing the flexibility of our rental product over other methods which require the financial commitment of a contract. A number of important changes have taken place throughout both the UK and Spain over the last 12 months to drive us forward and it's rewarding to see the positive impact on the business' bottom line."

June 2012 - SALES RESTRUCTURE LEADS TO SENIOR PROMOTION AT NORTHGATE

Following the 25% increase in its sales force and restructuring of the operational areas, Northgate Vehicle Hire has promoted former Commercial Manager Non Rental Products, Colin Wilson, to Head of National Sales. In his new role, Colin will oversee all sales activity on a national level and manage 15 national sales and account managers.

With 28 years of industry experience, Colin has worked for Northgate three times during his career. Starting off at Cartrux Vehicle Hire where he became Managing Director, Colin was also MD at Spinelink Self Drive, another Northgate company, and, more recently, has held the positions of Business Development Manager and Head of Fleet Management in the organisation.

With additional posts at GE Capital, Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles and BT Fleet, Colin's expansive experience in the fleet industry makes him a key part of Northgate's revised structure and strategy moving forwards.

On his new role, Colin commented:
"All recent decisions within Northgate have been to make the organisation more efficient and more effective. We are already seeing the results of this internally and the benefit is now being passed on to our customers. Restructuring the sales team has made our customers' lives easier, giving them a sole point of contact for any Northgate product or service and has effectively streamlined our offering. I'm looking forward to driving this into the next financial year to build on our reputation and ability to offer a complete fleet solution to customers."

Northgate has recently re-structured its operational areas from six to four. The national sales teams for Fleet Management, Vehicle Monitoring and Northgate Vehicle Hire have been moved into one national team so, whereby in the past a customer may have a visit from one member of each team, they would now meet with one representative who can consult over the best way Northgate can support their fleet needs.

June 2012 - WHITEFIELD DISTRIBUTION ANNOUNCES VEHICLE DESIGN COMPETITION WINNER

Whitefield Distribution, a leading family run Parcel Distribution Service, whose vehicles have been supplied by Northgate Vehicle Hire for 10+ years, has announced the winner of its North East wide competition to find the most creative van livery design for the company's limited edition Olympic vehicle.

Running across Whitefield's three depots in Newcastle, Kent and Heywood, fifty employees took part in the competition, but the overall winner was crowned due to the creativity and attention to detail of the vehicle design. National colours, the inclusion of the British flag and a patriotic slogan - "Supporting Our Nation" - impressed the judging panel that felt it captured the spirit of the nation perfectly. Michael Landreth from the Newcastle depot claimed the top prize.

Mr Landreth will have the pleasure of driving his limited edition vehicle until it is de-commissioned after 3 months and Whitefield Distribution will also be producing two more liveried vehicles with the same design to run out of the Heywood and Kent depots.

Dayne Smith, Director of Whitefield Distribution, said:
"As a family business we strongly believe in keeping our workforce happy and making them feel a part of the company so we thought what better way than to run a competition for our employees to create a vehicle design to commemorate this wonderful sporting year. I think Northgate was thoroughly impressed with the winning design as it stood out from the crowd, clearly identified the year of sport and gave a sense of being proud to be British. We'd like to take this opportunity to thank Northgate for all of its help over the years."

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager of Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"Whitefield is a valued customer and they are a pleasure to work with. It's a strong family business that's currently thriving despite the wider economic difficulties, and the competition was a fantastic idea to keep morale and motivation high amongst employees. The winning vehicle design is very fitting for what's set to be a fantastic year of sporting activities."

For further information on Whitefield Distribution Ltd please visit http://www.whitefielddistribution.co.uk/.

June 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE CELEBRATES FOURTH CONSECUTIVE GOLD RoSPA AWARD

Northgate Vehicle Hire of Darlington has had its approach to the prevention of accidents and ill health recognised in the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2012, for the fourth consecutive year.

The Gold Award was presented at a ceremony at the Hilton Birmingham Metropole Hotel, at the National Exhibition Centre, on Thursday, May 17, 2012.

Dating back to 1956, the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards scheme is the largest and longest-running programme of its kind in the UK. It recognises commitment to accident and ill health prevention and is open to businesses and organisations of all types and sizes from across the UK and overseas. The scheme does not just look at accident records, but also entrants' overarching health and safety management systems, including important practices such as strong leadership and workforce involvement.

David Rawlins, awards manager at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), a safety charity with a 95-year history, said:
"The RoSPA Awards programme provides well-deserved recognition for the winners and spurs on other organisations to raise their standards of accident and ill health prevention. We congratulate Northgate Vehicle Hire on its success and encourage it, and all our other winners, to remain committed to safety and health, an approach that is well recognised to be good for workers and the bottom line."

Colin Gilstin, Group Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented:
"It's an absolute honour to have our attitude towards health and safety recognised at the RoSPA awards, for the fourth year in a row. For this to come so soon after our ISO 14001 accreditation, it now firmly cements our commitment to health, safety and the environment to both colleagues and customers alike."

The majority of RoSPA's awards are non-competitive, marking achievement at merit, bronze, silver and gold levels. Organisations maintaining high standards can win gold medals, president's awards and orders of distinction.

Competitive awards are presented in more than 20 sectors, and specialist awards recognise excellence in specific areas, such as the management of occupational road risk.

The headline sponsor for the RoSPA Awards 2012 is NEBOSH (the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health). Sponsors of specialist trophies are: The Workforce Involvement in Safety and Health Trophy - Westinghouse Springfields Fuels Ltd; The International Dilmun Environmental Award - Gulf Petrochemicals Industry Company of Bahrain; The Managing Occupational Road Risk Trophy - Allianz Insurance plc; The SME Assistance Trophy - BHSF; and, The Astor Trophy (occupational health) - airsweb.

Three days of award ceremonies and three gala evening dinners were held in Birmingham from May 15-17, alongside Safety and Health Expo 2012, which is Europe's leading annual health and safety exhibition. An award ceremony and gala dinner will also take place in Glasgow on September 20. See www.rospa.com/awards/ for more information about the RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards.

May 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE LAUNCHES NEW CORK DEPOT TO REFLECT INCREASED CUSTOMER DEMAND

After increased demand from customers, Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in flexible van hire and fleet solutions, has launched a brand new site in Cork, continuing in its aim to support local businesses in need of efficient fleets.

Located in Ballytrasna, Little Island, the new depot is approximately 2000sq ft in size and it is ideally equipped to service the needs of the growing fleet size in Cork. In addition it is able to cater for walk-in rentals and private hire.

Lee Saunders, Area Sales Manager of Northgate Vehicle Hire in Ireland, commented:
"The launch of the new site in Cork is a fantastic opportunity to better service the needs of our customers in Ireland. We already have a depot in Dublin and Limerick but, due to increased demand, we knew we needed to expand further. With the new depot, not only are we able to provide the local area with a wide variety of efficient fleets and fleet solutions but we've also brought employment opportunities to the city too."

He continued:
"We're also pleased to include our retail hire offering at the Cork depot, which enables our customers to hire a vehicle for personal use even if they don't have a business account with Northgate Vehicle Hire."

Northgate Vehicle Hire's vehicle supply network includes leading manufacturers such as Mercedes, Volkswagen, Ford and Peugeot, and the company is also investing in thousands of new vehicles this year to ensure that they provide the most efficient fleet in the market.

May 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE INCREASES SALES FORCE BY 25% AFTER RE-STRUCTURE

Despite difficult trading conditions, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, Northgate Vehicle Hire, has announced a 25% increase in its sales force following the completion of its centralisation and a re-structure of the national sales team.

With Northgate's focus over the last 18 months being on making the organisation and its offering more efficient and effective, the operational areas have been re-structured from six to four. The regional sales teams for Fleet Technique, Vehicle Monitoring and Northgate Vehicle Sales have been moved into one national team so, whereby in the past a customer may have a visit from one member of each team, they would now meet with one representative who can consult over the best way Northgate can support their fleet needs.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"While Northgate's re-brand launched in May 2010, the operational culture of the business was still very much pre-re-brand. The centralisation of administration and finance tasks that's been taking place throughout the last year or so has been working hard to change that and has been successful to date. The increase in our sales force reflects that and, despite difficult trading conditions, we're confident the changes that have been made will result in positivity moving forwards into the new financial year."

The rationale behind the changes in regional operations stemmed from a desire to allow the teams to focus on the three most important parts of the business: customers, staff and assets (vehicles). The current operational areas are now North (with Glasgow, Stockton and Bolton as the main hubs), South (with Southampton and Snodland as the main hubs), East (with Hull, Nottingham and Ipswich as the main hubs) and West (with Cannock, Milton Keynes, and Bristol as the main hubs).

As part of Northgate's on-going investment across the UK, £300,000 has been invested in its Glasgow depot, £297,000 in its super site in Grantham, £400,000 in a new site in Limerick, £500,000 in both the Snodland and Milton Keynes depots, and £1.2m in a new site in Cannock; all since August last year.

May 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE EXPANDS FLEET WITH THIRTY TOYOTA AURIS VANS

Toyota Ireland today announced that one of the country's leading van hire companies Northgate Vehicle Hire has chosen the Toyota Auris Van as the newest addition to its fleet of over 60,000 vehicles on rental through more than 60 locations in Ireland and The United Kingdom. The deal accounts for a total of thirty Auris Vans to be supplied to Northgate.

Northgate has shaped and defined the van hire market for over 30 years. The company offers a vast range of vans on a fully flexible hire through its central hub in Dublin, along with its recently opened depot in Limerick City and soon to open Cork depot. Northgate's direct service network includes an excellent infrastructure of 56 workshops, 300 technicians and 56 mobile technicians who service a diverse customer base ranging from blue chip corporations and local authorities right down to small and medium sized enterprises and owner operators.

Commenting on the deal, Lee Saunders of Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"The decision to go with the Auris Van was actually a relatively easy one to make. Toyota has an excellent reputation for quality, great value and incredibly fuel efficient vehicles - key attributes we look for when selecting new vehicles for our fleet. The Auris Van also perfectly matches our customer needs in the light commercial vehicle range and will definitely enhance our large fleet offering."

Commenting on the announcement, Cathal Ryan, Fleet Manager for Toyota, said:
"We are very proud to have been chosen to supply Auris Vans to Northgate - a company with a significant history in the commercial vehicle rental market, and one that certainly knows what its customer base is looking for. We believe that our reputation in quality, dependability and performance continues to stand to Toyota in what are increasingly difficult market conditions and the success in winning this contract is clearly representative of the confidence the Toyota brand continues to inspire."

May 2012 - NORTHGATE RECOGNISED FOR COMMITMENT TO THE ENVIRONMENT

After showing a continued commitment to the environment, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, Northgate, has been awarded the ISO 14001 accreditation.

An internationally recognised standard that sets out to organisations how to put in place an effective Environmental Management System, the ISO 14001 allows a company to identify aspects of its business that impact on the environment and also understand those environmental laws that are relevant to its operations. It also enables a business to produce clear objectives and implement a management programme to achieve them, with regular reviews for continuous improvement.

Implementing an ISO 14001 environmental standard meant that Northgate could effectively balance between maintaining profitability and reducing environmental impact. Building upon its considerable environmental achievements to date, the standard follows in the footsteps of Northgate's RoSPA award wins and supplements the robust environmental management controls that were already in place.

Colin Gilstin, Group Health, Safety and Environment Manager at Northgate, commented:
"This standard is just the beginning for us in terms of continued improvements and is absolutely key when it comes to raising and improving awareness of Northgate's environmental commitment. We are thrilled to have been recognised with this external accreditation and are now in a position to communicate our priorities to customers externally, as well as to our employees and want to improve our efforts further by setting benchmarks to continue reducing our impact on the environment moving forwards."

Jennifer Appleton, Operations Director for ISO Quality Services Ltd, commented:
"We are pleased to have been working in partnership with Northgate over the past year to help implement its ISO 14001 environmental standard. As a company, ISO Quality Services Ltd believes in assisting all of our clients to become the best they can be and we congratulate Northgate on its progressive thinking towards the environment."

Jennifer continued:
"Helping our clients build environmental sustainability not only resonates with staff, suppliers and customers, but also helps to cement real cost savings and future benefits within companies."

Ensuring Northgate continues to meet environmental legislation and corporate policy requirements, the new accreditation demonstrates to employees, customers and stakeholders that the company is environmentally responsible, and it increases competitiveness and profits through potential process improvements and energy conservation. Northgate has already put new plans in place to raise awareness throughout the company and will shortly be developing a number of initiatives to engage with Northgate employees.

March 2012 - NORTHGATE INVESTS IN SNODLAND TO SUPPORT THE SOUTH EAST

Market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and a fleet solutions, Northgate Vehicle Hire, has unveiled its new look Snodland depot after investing £500,000 in the existing infrastructure, to drive process efficiencies for customers and set its commitment to the region in stone. The new depot will now act as the central hub for Northgate in the South East.

The largest depot in the region, Snodland was selected for refurbishment due to it having one of the busiest workshops within the Northgate network. Strategically positioned on the prestigious Mid Kent Business Park, the hub generates a high level of activity and transactions and, as such, the refurbishment was a necessity to support the business in delivering uncompromised high levels of customer service.

The Snodland workshop, in particular, has seen a significant development with the re-design allowing optimum operational efficiency and workflow, as well as the mechanics benefitting from updated equipment, such as brand new state-of-the-art brake tester equipment. Two new three ton two post ramps, two five ton two post ramps and two four ton four post ramps have also been introduced, as has a set of vehicle lifts and stands. The pit area has been filled in, head light alignment equipment installed, new oil, water, and air hose reels installed and bulk oil tanks installed outside the workshop. A tyre bay has also been fitted for fast fit tyres.

Vanessa Leach, Branch Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire in Snodland, commented:
"The Snodland site is the central hub for Northgate's entire operation in the South East and so its presentation and facilities are of utmost importance. We're now catering for walk in customers with our new retail hire offering, as well as our business customers, so investing in our facilities was key to ensure our commitment to the region. Alongside providing our colleagues with a working environment that allows them to carry out their jobs effectively, process efficiencies will improve significantly to ensure that our customers have an unrivalled experience with every single visit."

The site has been transformed from dated and operationally unsuitable, to a hub which boasts a dedicated reception area for rental and workshop customers, two plasma TVs with information points; one of which will display a live workshop planner so customers can track the maintenance progress of their vehicles; a refreshment and working area with Wi-Fi access for customers, and a canteen for colleagues. The redevelopment also sees a new open plan back office to improve operational performance and communication between departments. Corporate signage has also been introduced.

March 2012 - NORTHGATE INVESTS IN MILTON KEYNES WITH £500,000 RE-DEVELOPMENT

Market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, Northgate Vehicle Hire has unveiled its new look Milton Keynes depot after investing £500,000 in the existing infrastructure. To drive process efficiencies for customers and offer an unrivalled experience, the re-development has taken place over three months and the depot will now act as the central hub for Northgate in the Home Counties.

Strategically positioned on the M1 corridor, the hub generates a high level of activity and transactions and, as such, the refurbishment was a necessity to support the business in delivering uncompromised high standards of customer service. Transforming the dated and operationally unsuitable site into a hub that boasts a dedicated reception area for rental and workshop customers, two plasma TVs with information points; one of which will display a live workshop planner so customers can track the maintenance progress of their vehicles; and a refreshment and working area with Wi-Fi access for customers, the redevelopment also sees a new open plan back office to improve operational performance and communication between departments.

The Milton Keynes workshop, in particular, has seen a significant development with the re-design allowing optimum operational efficiency and workflow, as well as the mechanics benefitting from updated equipment, such as a brand new state-of-the-art brake tester, which has a scientific way of testing brake efficiencies and is in line with MOT standards.

Chris Tudge, Branch Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire in Milton Keynes, commented:
"The Milton Keynes site is the central hub for Northgate's entire operation in the Home Counties and so its presentation and facilities are of utmost importance. Our £500,000 investment in the infrastructure has been worth every penny and, as well as providing our colleagues with a working environment that allows them to carry out their jobs effectively, we have improved process efficiencies significantly to ensure that our customers have an unrivalled experience with every visit."

Northgate's newly launched retail hire offering is also available at the Milton Keynes depot, which enables customers to hire a vehicle for personal use even if they don't have a business account with Northgate.

February 2012 - NORTHGATE LAUNCHES NEW SITE IN LIMERICK AFTER DEMAND FROM WEST OF IRELAND

After increased demand from customers in the West of Ireland, Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has launched a brand new site in Limerick. Continuing in its aim to support local businesses in need of efficient fleets.

Located on Cathedral Place in Limerick City, the new depot is Approximately 2000sq ft in size; it is ideally equipped to service the needs of the growing fleet size in Limerick, and additionally caters for walk in rentals and private hire. As a result of the depot opening, Northgate has taken on two new local staff and is looking to recruit for five new positions in the next 12 months.

Darren McNamara, Branch Manager of Northgate Vehicle Hire's Limerick depot, commented:
"The launch of the new site in Limerick is a fantastic opportunity to better service the needs of our customers in the West of Ireland. We already have a depot in Dublin but, due to increased demand, we knew we needed to address our locations. Not only are we able to provide the local area with a wide variety of efficient fleets but we've also brought employment opportunities to the city too."

He continued:
"We're also pleased to include our retail hire offering at the Limerick depot, which enables our customers to hire a vehicle for personal use even if they don't have a business account with Northgate."

Northgate's vehicle supply network is from leading manufacturers such as Mercedes, VW, Ford, Peugeot and the company is investing in thousands of new vehicles this year to provide the most efficient fleet in the market.

February 2012 - THE FLEXIBLE ALTERNATIVE TO VEHICLE FINANCE

With external costs increasing faster than the eye can see, the question of how to finance a fleet of vehicles is increasingly playing on the minds of fleet managers and business owners nationwide. While vehicle finance may be an appealing alternative to buying a fleet, there is actually a more attractive option that brings with it more benefits.

Enter flexible vehicle hire, an option that has never been more pertinent than in today's climate. Over the last few years we have seen a remarkable increase in commodity price increases… Fuel, for one, has increased in price by 34% since 2009, tyres are up 15%, oil and lubricants up 25%, breakdown and recovery up 15% and braking parts and consumables are up by 5%. This all makes for some rather sobering reading if people are trying to balance the cost of financing a fleet too and, considering that 90% of businesses still own some or all of their vehicles, they'll be depreciating in value at the same time as we're facing these increasingly harsh economic pressures.

But, alas, there is an alternative to vehicle finance and it comes in the form of flexible vehicle hire. Soaring in popularity for years now, partly due to the unstable economy, which is unfortunately showing little sign of recovery in the near future, more and more businesses are opting to hire vehicles as and when they need rather than commit to contract hire or finance agreements that allow little flexibility should times get tough. For businesses that may see seasonal fluctuations, having the flexibility to add to or remove vehicles from your fleet at any time without penalty could be the make or break factor. And it isn't necessarily the case that because external costs are going up, fleet suppliers put their costs up too... buying in volume enables them to counteract price increases, making flexible vehicle hire even more relevant and beneficial in the current market.

Businesses' needs change with the seasons - and the extent of this can't always be anticipated - but, for financial reasons, a fleet needs to be utilised 100% of the time to increase efficiency. This is often why hire rather than purchasing and financing fleets makes more business sense. There is no depreciation, no need to worry about residual value, risks are removed, and the support of the supplier is guaranteed should emergency back up or replacement vehicles be required. Really, it's a win-win situation with the constraints of contract hire and finance agreements completely removed.

Flexible vehicle hire is where the clear benefits lie for those who aren't always able to forecast their fleet and want an element of ‘wiggle room' rather than be tied down to a specific contract linking them to x number of vehicles for x years, and finance agreements costing £x per month. Some of the benefits of flexible vehicle hire include:

  • The ability to control fleet costs and forget about forecasting fleets
  • Flexible hire periods and fleet sizes
  • Access to the latest fuel-efficient vehicles, which may have been previously unaffordable
  • Enjoying customised vehicles, for example including tow bars, roof racks, beacons and livery - all tailored to individual requirements
  • Freeing up budget that would otherwise be spent on purchasing (or financing) vehicles

With no contract, no risk and no ties, flexible vehicle hire is the best step for smart businesses that don't want to be paying over the odds in interest, and it brings with it the benefits of owning a fleet without the commitment factor. Fleet suppliers can often support customers with insurance needs too, taking the onus off them and freeing up more of their valuable time.

Fuel cards may be another sensible option to think about alongside flexible hire, helping to control costs even more with the added bonus of reducing emissions. This is particularly noteworthy at the minute, following the closure of the Coryton refinery in Essex and the onslaught of panic petrol buying that's sweeping the nation as petrol prices are anticipated to rocket even further.

Key benefits of fuel cards include:

  • Understanding and controlling fuel costs
  • Tracking fuel purchases nationwide with online management
  • Efficient VAT recovery - no need to collect till receipts
  • Paying for fuel directly instead of refunding your employees
  • Having more accurate costs and getting rid of over inflated expense claims
  • Controls can be installed to enable fuel-related purchases only
  • Significant reductions in administration through consolidated invoicing

This is just a little bit of food for thought for businesses wincing at the thought of vehicle finance. But one thing's for sure; the benefits of flexible vehicle hire grow at a similar rate to the spiralling external costs we're currently seeing in the market. People need to be smarter, think about cost-saving measures and look at the benefits of having an all inclusive fixed cost that covers servicing and MOTs as well as the actual rental, so that they can forward plan for what's set to be another challenging year.

February 2012 - CENTRALISED ADMINISTRATION BRINGS 80 JOBS TO THE NORTH EAST/DARLINGTON

The market leader in the provision of light commercial vehicle rental and associated fleet solutions, Northgate Vehicle Hire, is increasing its presence in the North East by adding 80 administrative jobs to the 300 already employed at the headquarters in Darlington, as the company continues to centralise many operational functions. The increase of almost 30 per cent will bring more efficient fleet management within Northgate.

The newly appointed administrative teams have been put in place to serve the increased flow of fleet management tasks, while attention has also been given to colleagues at depots and workshops to reinforce their part in ensuring the smooth running of customer related tasks. The team will focus on three key areas for Northgate: Damage Recharge Management, Scheduling and Compliance and Asset Administration.

Reaffirming Northgate's commitment to the North East, the administrative move is the latest in a series of developments for the organisation. In May 2010 Northgate began the process of bringing its 20 separate businesses together to deliver a constant service across the country. And a new CRM system has since been implemented, reiterating Northgate's commitment to efficiency, effectiveness and improved customer service.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager for Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"An honest reflection on the existing administration tasks pointed to the need for change in order to ensure that this area of the business delivered service levels congruent with those in other areas of Northgate. This is an extremely exciting time for the business and we're thrilled to have brought new jobs to the North East, especially at a time when the climate is notoriously difficult. The centralisation of operations has enabled us to increase our loyal and committed workforce and we look forward to building on this further over the coming years."

The business function of the new administration team will deliver consistency across the UK as well as helping relieve workshops of their admin tasks, freeing up their time to concentrate on other aspects such as customer service. The individual functions will include the following:

  • Damage Recharge Management involves all dealings with suppliers and booking vehicles in for repair, as well as recharging to the customer.
  • Scheduling and Compliance is concerned with the scheduling of all maintenance events such as MOTs, services and tyre changes.
  • Asset Administration is a crucial function that ensures that the customer receives their tax discs, V5 documents and any penalty charges in a timely and efficient manner.

February 2012 - NORTHGATE APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF ACCIDENT MANAGEMENT AND INVESTS IN THE NORTH EAST WITH FOUR NEW PROMOTIONS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, is celebrating four new promotions in the North East and a new appointment as it welcomes a new Head of Accident Management, following a successful start to the year.

Previously Head of Central Operations, Nora Curry has been promoted to Operation Manager - Customer Support Centre (CSC) at Northgate's Darlington head office. Campaign Manager, Jonathan Pearce has been promoted to Marketing Manager, and former Head of Fleet Management, Colin Wilson, is now Commercial Manager Non Rental in Gateshead.

Steve Granger has also been appointed as Head of Accident Management for Northgate Vehicle Hire and Fleet Technique. His appointment follows six and a half years with BT Fleet as Operations Manager and 16.5 years with AXA Insurance. Steve's role at Northgate will see him head up the operational management of the company's team of in-house engineers, accident repair control, and recharge administrators. He will also be responsible for the operational performance of the network of external accident repairers.

It's not only Northgate Vehicle Hire that's started the New Year on a positive note, but Van Monster, which is part of Northgate PLC, too. Former Sales Executive, Mark Hughes, has been promoted to Sales Manager.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"The last 18 months have been an incredibly busy time for Northgate - with the rebrand and centralisation of administration functions - but it's great to welcome a new face to the team and see the existing team's hard work recognised. I know everyone is united in their bid to maximise the impact Northgate has on the fleet industry. We have a lot planned over the next 12 months to ensure we stay ahead of the game and maintain our position as leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions."

February 2012 - WHAT THE LOW EMISSION ZONE MEANS FOR FLEET OPERATORS

Introduced back in 2008 as part of efforts to improve air quality in the capital, the Low Emission Zone (LEZ) has now introduced tighter emissions regulations to force heavy polluting diesel vehicles to become cleaner. Since January, thousands of vehicles have had to comply with minimum Euro 3 emission standards when travelling within the LEZ. Non-compliance is clearly not an option, with the government imposing stinging daily charges and hefty fines.

As a result, many fleets will be forced to upgrade to newer compliant vehicles. Others may have to choose short-term hire to cover them for occasional visits to the capital. For others, long-term hire is a more effective option, when operating a heavy diesel vehicle in the capital is a daily occurrence.

Where larger fleet operators are likely to have laid out a significant initial investment in order to ensure compliance, smaller operators may find it more challenging, not necessarily having the disposable capital to invest in new vehicle purchase. Let's take a closer look at the facts, to see what the new regulations mean for the fleet operator.

  1. As many as 85,000 or 37% of vehicles already operating in the capital may be affected. UK wide it is estimated that as many as 1 million LCVs out of 3.75 million could be affected by these new regulations.
  2. Daily charges can be up to £200 for larger vehicles such as buses and coaches - an unappetising option for many. However, fines for non-compliance can be as high as £1000.
  3. Even for those travelling into London on the odd occasion, it can still result in prohibitive operating costs. A van travelling into the capital once a week and paying the £200 charge on each trip can result in an annual payout of £5,200.
  4. Options to avoid paying charges include fitting a filter. However, be aware that the lead-time to have one fitted and certified can be up to three months.
  5. Converting an existing van to ensure compliance is not always a viable option. For example converting a 2002 VW Caddy with 210,000 miles on the clock could be anything from £1,800 to £3,500; more than the value of the vehicle itself, making the acquisition of a newer vehicle a more effective prospect.
  6. The stringent emissions standards will, for the first time, affect vans, lorries, buses and coaches registered before 1st January 2002.
  7. The LEZ emissions standards affect all roads within the Greater London area, including those at Heathrow and parts of the M1 and M4. However, the M25 is not included (even where it passes within the Greater London Authority boundary).
  8. Euro standards were introduced in 1992 for passenger vehicles, with light commercial vehicles following in 1994, to ensure that the new vehicles being produced were ‘cleaner' than previous models.
  9. An army of cameras within the LEZ are able to read vehicle number plates, checking them against a database compiled using data from the DVLA and VOSA. Avoiding the new regulations is clearly not an option.
  10. The LEZ operates 24 hours a day, 364 days a year, including Bank Holidays and should not be confused with the Central London Congestion Charging Zone, which operates 7.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday excluding Bank Holidays. Remember, congestion charges still need to be paid even if you comply with LEZ standards or have paid the daily charge.

February 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE RE-LAUNCHES RETAIL HIRE OFFERING

In an effort to support the local community, Darlington based Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has re-launched its retail hire offering due to increased demand from members of the public looking for van hire for personal use.

Members of the local community can now walk into any Northgate depot, including those in Darlington, Blaydon, Stockton-On-Tees and Wallsend, and hire a van without having a business account, leading to increased accessibility for customers. To further support the retail hire re-launch Northgate has introduced a new loyalty scheme, whereby customers can hire a high quality vehicle for free after receiving five stamps.

All Northgate employees will be going through rigorous training throughout January and February to ensure they are fully up-to-speed with the new service offering and are equipped to cater for any retail hire customers and enquiries. This follows on from Northgate's drive to increase customer service levels throughout 2011. Standardised pricing has also been introduced throughout all of Northgate's UK depots, to ensure customers receive the highest quality vehicles at extremely competitive rates.

Jonathan Pearce, Marketing Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"Due to increased demand for retail hire, we decided to re-launch our current offering to make sure our customers are getting rates that are competitive in the marketplace by aligning ourselves with our main competitors in the UK. While Northgate isn't typically associated with retail hire we wanted to take this opportunity to let the local communities around our depots know that our vehicles can be used for personal use as well as by businesses that have accounts with us. From moving house to taking a van load to the tip or picking up new furniture, we are here to help and make life that little bit less stressful!"

January 2012 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE ANNOUNCES ONE VISION HOUSING CONTRACT

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has won a three-year contract with One Vision Housing (OVH), a property services company based in Merseyside, providing the business with a flexible fleet of 80 plus vehicles.

After a highly competitive tender process, Northgate is now providing OVH with a core fleet of up to 80 vehicles, as well as supporting this with spot rental during busier periods. With OVH consistently growing over the past five years, the company was in need of the support of a fleet provider that could offer flexibility and quality service.

Paul Broadbent, Director of Operations at One Vision Housing, commented:
"During the tender process we were very impressed with Northgate’s flexibility, as well as its quality of service, attractive terms and flexible rates. As a growing company we often need to increase our fleet during busier periods, as well as decrease in size at quieter times of the year and Northgate’s service allows us to do so as and when required."

He continued:
"Since working with Northgate the staff have continually impressed us with their dedication to customer service. We are thoroughly impressed with the service offering and look forward to maintaining our relationship throughout the next three years."

Nick Cash, Head of Northgate Public Sector, said:
"We are thrilled to be working with One Vision Housing. Not only is the company renowned for customer service, which is an area we take extremely seriously, but it’s great to be involved at such an exciting time with its current plans for growth. As always, we are proud to offer such a flexible and reliable service to all of our public sector customers. We have no doubt that our relationship with OVH especially will go from strength to strength over the coming years and are looking forward to the journey."

OVH was acknowledged as the fifth best company to work for in the UK in the prestigious Sunday Times top 100 list in February 2011. It is a Registered Provider of Social Housing with more than 11,700 homes across Sefton, Merseyside. For more information please visit www.ovh.org.uk.

December 2011 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE APPOINTS NEW OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

Northgate Vehicle Hire has appointed Dylan Jones as its new UK Operations Director as the market leader in the provision of light commercial vehicle rental and associated fleet solutions continues to build on its current market leading position.

Bringing extensive senior management skills to Northgate, Dylan has a great amount of experience in a variety of industries in both operational and commercials roles. Prior to his appointment with Northgate he ran the UK, Italian, French and Spanish B2B operations for Staples for over four years.

Bob Contreras, Northgate Vehicle Hire's CEO commented:
"Dylan brings extensive senior management experience to Northgate, having worked both in the UK and overseas for Coats Viyella, Tetley Group, Filtrona Plc and Staples, so we are thrilled to have him on board."

On his new role, Dylan said:
"I have been fortunate enough to work for some well respected brands over the years, and joining Northgate at this time, following the many positive changes in the business, provides me with a hugely exciting challenge. With the strong team which is in place I'm looking forward to helping Northgate build on its current market leading position."

Operating over 60,000 vehicles in the UK and Eire, Northgate has over 30 years experience in fleet solutions; as such, it is no wonder Dylan is excited to have joined the successful organisation.

December 2011 - NORTHGATE CROWNS BRODERICK BROTHERS AS VEHICLE BRANDING AWARD WINNERS

Northgate Vehicle Hire has announced Broderick Brothers as the winner of its Vehicle Branding Awards, due to the eye-catching livery for the Broderick's Bars and Cakes brand. Beating over 100 entries to the top spot, Broderick's took home £1,500 of Northgate Vehicle Hire workshop vouchers.

The judges at Northgate awarded the prize to Broderick Brothers due to the creativity and attention to detail of the vehicle design, bringing the brand's identity to life through the use of bright colors, inventive designs and characters.

Bernard Broderick commented on the award win:
"We are so proud to have won Northgate's Vehicle Branding Awards as we have put so much work and effort into making The Chocolate Rocket campaign a big success. Since appearing on The Apprentice last year we have seen people becoming more and more interested and excited by the Broderick's brand, so having our vehicles branded was the next logical step. We'd like to thank Northgate for the brilliant prize and for supporting Broderick's Bars and Cakes."

Lee Saunders, Regional Sales Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, said:
"We were thoroughly impressed with the designs that the brothers put together; the whole team at Northgate thought the vehicles stood out from the crowd, clearly identified the company's offering, provided prominent contact details and oozed the brand's personality with the bright colours, whacky designs, character replicas and quirky one liners. Broderick's is a very deserving winner but we would also like to thank everyone who entered for their contributions."

In January 2011 Broderick's Bars and Cakes launched The Chocolate Rocket campaign to encourage people all over Ireland to support Irish businesses and Spar retailers, which have stocked the Broderick's Bars and Cakes over the past year. The Vehicle Branding Awards were hosted in Ireland and held in association with Fleet Transport magazine.

Northgate has been trading across Ireland for over a decade and is the market leading commercial vehicle hire company in the UK operating over 62,000 vehicles in 60 locations. Its depot in Ireland is on the Rosemount Business Park in Dublin.

For further information on Broderick's Bars and Cakes please visit http://www.brodericksbrothers.com/.

December 2011 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE CELEBRATES 2011 VEHICLE MONITORING SUCCESS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, is celebrating a successful year after the triumph of its vehicle monitoring telematics system. Proven to save up to 20% off fuel costs and 15% off overtime claims, vehicle monitoring has been delivering 24/7 fleet visibility for Northgate's customers throughout 2011.

The fleet manager that never sleeps, Northgate's vehicle monitoring provides in depth reporting and data to allow customers to measure efficiency and ensures productivity levels remain high. It also fulfills duty of care responsibilities by identifying specific training or discipline requirements, which is a key area of focus for fleet managers worried about the safety of lone drivers. Alerted when a vehicle's movements differ from those planned, the telematics system has seen personal vehicle use for Northgate customers slashed.

Lisa Tomlinson, Fleet Manager of Cruden Property Services, said:
"The product has proved to be very favourable by all of our management team. We are able to locate drivers who are closer to emergency jobs saving us time and money rather than sending somebody else who is further away. As well as fuel savings and overtime costs we have increased productivity and trimmed personal vehicle use, both by 15%."

Stuart Fairbrother, Head of Sales Non-Rental Products at Northgate Vehicle Hire explains how easy it is to set Vehicle Monitoring up:
"We don't require any initial lay out costs or tie companies into excessive contract terms. We can demonstrate in just 15 minutes how the state-of-the-art technology can save a company literally thousands of pounds whilst increasing operational efficiency."

November 2011 - BRIGHT VAN MAN STEERS DRIVERS IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION THIS ROAD SAFETY WEEK

14 November 2011: Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leader in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, is helping to steer drivers in the right direction this Road Safety Week, 21st–27th November, with a new health and safety campaign aimed at raising awareness of the dangers of driving in the dark.

In association with road safety charity, Brake, Northgate's Bright Van Man is full of bright ideas for driving safely in the winter months and is communicating six simple subjects with drivers:

  • Vision
    Remember vulnerable road users and approaching obstacles are more difficult to spot. Expect the unexpected!
  • Lights
    Always check your lights when approaching oncoming traffic to avoid 'dazzling'. Remember, it's illegal to drive without fully functioning front and rear lights.
  • Speed
    Drive at a speed that will allow you to react to unexpected hazards.
  • Distance
    Perception of distance is altered in the dark so extend the two second rule to three seconds.
  • Fatigue
    For long journeys take rests, or consider sharing the drive. Make sure you are well rested before a long nighttime journey. Plan your journeys.
  • Maintenance
    Vehicle maintenance - keep your washer fluid topped up and your vehicle in tip top condition. Ensure all lights are working.

Also supporting the Lighter Later Campaign, which is coordinated by 10:10 and backed by Brake, Northgate is a firm believer that more daylight hours during winter will make the UK roads safer.

Jonathan Pearce, Campaign Manager at Northgate Vehicle Hire, commented on the new campaign:

"With the clocks going back and road casualty statistics showing that 40% of collisions occur in the hours of darkness*, it's more important than ever that we communicate the importance of driving safely, in the winter months especially, with our colleagues and customers. The Bright Van Man puts a lighthearted face to a serious message and we're really hoping to strike a chord with drivers this Road Safety Week."

Northgate has also compiled a Driver's Guide covering Bright Van Man's driving tips and other key road safety topics including drink and drug driving, mobile phone use, driver fatigue and speeding. The Driver's Guide and a Bright Van Man poster can be downloaded from a dedicated Road Safety Week page on Northgate's website -www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk/brightvanman.

For more information on Northgate Vehicle Hire please visit www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk, follow Northgate on Twitter at http://twitter.com/northgatevhire or join the company on Facebook at www.facebook.com/northgatevehiclehire. For more information on Brake please visit www.brake.org.uk.

* According to The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (ROSPA).

November 2011 - NORTHGATE IMPLEMENTS NEW CRM SYSTEM TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER COMMUNICATIONS

2 November 2011: Northgate Vehicle Hire, the market leader in the provision of light commercial vehicle rental and associated fleet solutions, has installed new Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software across the company as a means of demonstrating its ongoing commitment to improving customer communication.

The bespoke CRM system functions as a comprehensive digital resource, allowing information to be stored in one place, accessible to all key stakeholders in the business, from sales and marketing to operations. It also provides transparency to the activity of all sales and account management teams. This allows the company to track the progress and status of any customer or prospect, and therefore greatly assists the successful management of customer expectations.

Part of the technology contributing to the CRM system is the mobile PDA, which enables employees to record all information electronically, automatically updating the main system. This removes the need for the duplication of work and time-consuming data input at the end of each day, which, in turn maximises the time that the sales force and account management team can spend with customers; essentially giving the benefit of a mobile office.

To support the new system, Northgate has rolled out a comprehensive training programme to ensure that Northgate colleagues can effectively use the new tool. To date, 115 staff members have been involved in the training.

Tony Anderson, Northgate's Commercial Project Manager, comments:

"We're really pleased with the new system. The training programme has only been going for a month but already we've had a great response. Our colleagues seem to be particularly impressed by how user friendly the system is and the way that it will save time in their day-to-day activities. Essentially, the CRM system has streamlined our operations, and the benefits will allow us to offer even better service to our customers."

For more information on Northgate please visit www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk or follow Northgate on Twitter at http://twitter.com/northgatevhire.

October 2011 - VAN MONSTER FLAGSHIP LAUNCHES IN CANNOCK TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS

19 October 2011: Leading commercial vehicle retailer, Van Monster, has launched a brand new £2.5 million site in Cannock, to support local businesses in need of quality used vehicles at competitive prices. Located just off the M6, the new 5.75 acre flagship site will be Van Monster’s West Midlands hub for the specialist sale of premium used commercial vehicles.

Van Monster, which is part of Northgate PLC, has space for 120 vehicles to be displayed in the new Cannock site, as opposed to 70 at the old site in Birmingham, and will be joined by Northgate Vehicle Hire in November, with Northgate occupying 480 sq/m of office space. As part of a £2.5m investment package the Van Monster site opened on 3rd October.

Gary Sullivan, Managing Director at Van Monster, commented:

"The move to Cannock is a fantastic opportunity and we're thrilled to have a bigger space, which allows us to provide the local area with a wide variety of premium used vehicles. Due to the accessibility of the Cannock site we expect to see growing demand for the workshop facilities at the Northgate site too, which will open in November."

Shelly Emery, Branch Manager at Van Monster Cannock, continued:

"This will be a new market for Van Monster and Northgate and, aside from an increased revenue opportunity, we are particularly looking forward to bringing further employment to the local community."

The relocation of the site coincides with an ongoing campaign to work closely with tradespeople who make up the majority of Van Monster customers, including plumbers, electricians and builders. The new site will showcase Van Monster's renowned selection of used vans and other vehicles.

October 2011 - FLEET INSURANCE SAVINGS

Does switching your insurance provider always save you money? The answer is "no" in many cases.

It has been proven that companies who constantly switch their fleet insurance could be costing themselves money, not saving it. With numerous companies communicating the message 'saving through switching', people are now convinced that changing their insurance provider can save them money, but that doesn't always apply to businesses.

A strong relationship with your provider can often be the best way to save money. In addition to this, businesses who change their insurance providers on a yearly basis have become unattractive prospects to suppliers. Insurance companies who are asked to quote businesses who have had 3 or more providers in the last 3 years are likely to be put off as there is no continuity in the deal. As a result, insurers will often either not quote at all or make a deliberately uncompetitive offer.

Developing a good relationship with a professional insurance broker can mean fantastic savings in renewal quotes. Brokers can advise on the best insurance products for your business and it is their job to seek out the best possible deal. Once insured, brokers can also offer advice with regards to claims handling and will liaise with insurers and third parties on your behalf.

Northgate's own approved broker, Aldium Insurance, specialises in fleet insurance and has access to a wide range of reputable insurers including Lloyds of London markets. Unlike many insurance brokers, Aldium is one of the few to allow the addition of temporarily rented vehicles to a fleet policy, which as a Northgate customer, could be very beneficial to you, especially if your fleet numbers fluctuate on a regular basis. Recently, one of Aldium's new fleet clients made a 43% saving against their previous premium. The average level of saving made by Aldium fleet clients so far this year is 21%.

Aldium will:

  • Offer quotes which are free and without obligation.
  • Provide ongoing professional insurance and risk management advice.
  • Supply you with comprehensive management information updates.
  • Handle all MID reporting on your behalf.
  • Give you total claims support.
  • Re-quote your fleet premium at every renewal to ensure they are still offering you the best deal that they can.

To find out more about the benefits that can be achieved through insurance brokers or to receive your no obligation free quote, contact Derek Williams on 0151 3365881 or email derek.williams@aldium.co.uk. All enquires made before the 30th November 2011 will be entered into Aldium's prize draw to win an Amazon Kindle e-book reader.

Visit Aldium online at www.aldium.co.uk

October 2011 - BEWARE OF THE 'CAT' BURGLAR

The ever present recession of the UK economy over the last 2 years has seen a steady increase in the value of precious metals, which is great if you own a gold mine but bad news if you own a vehicle with a substantial ground clearance.

'Cat theft' has been rising steady in the UK now for several years As thieves are now targeting catalytic converters in order to sell on the precious metals they contain such as platinum, palladium and gold, figures have risen from 1100 in 2009 to more than 2,300 reported incidents in the first 5 months of 2011, that’s a massive 109% increase!

It would take a qualified mechanic up to 3 hours to remove the converter from a vehicle but it can take only seconds to the expert criminal. Most victims of ‘cat theft’ spot the damage in the morning when they see their exhaust lying on the ground. Damage has been known to extend to wiring and break-lines as well. Prices to repair the damage caused by these thieves ranges from £200 - £2000 per vehicle not to mention the down-time and loss of potential business and irritation to customers.

There are, of course, some security measures that you can take to prevent the theft. For under £20 you can protect your vehicle through the use of a catalyst marking kit which includes a variety of products, ranging from metal marking fluid to security stickers. There are other products on the market which provide a more substantial deterrent through the process of clamping the converter to the vehicle. Through a combination of bolts and aircraft-grade steel cables which surround the converter like a cat’s-cradle, the caging can pose a serious warning to prospective thieves. Such devices can be removed by a mechanic, however, this takes around 30 minutes and the companies responsible believe that the criminals simply aren’t willing to spend the added time to remove both the clamp and the converter.

Questions have been raised about such products invalidating the warranty of the converter itself and manufacturers will always advise caution when fitting any product which cannot guarantee to protect the Catalytic Converter or the vehicle.

If you have any concerns about your vehicle falling prey to catalytic converter theft you should speak to your mechanic or servicing and maintenance provider about possible preventative measures. Police advise that vehicle owners park in well lit areas, preferably with security lighting, and try to park in areas where CCTV is present.

References:

October 2011 - 5 YEARS FOR SERIOUS INJURY CAUSED BY DANGEROUS DRIVING

The introduction of a new 'dangerous driving offence' in England and Wales has been announced by the Ministry of Justice.

The offence will form part of the Legal Aid and Punishment of Offenders Bill and will carry a maximum sentence of 5 years in prison for those who cause serious injury as a result of dangerous driving.

Causing death by dangerous driving currently carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years and other dangerous driving offences carry a sentence of up to 2 years. This change in legislation is enthusiastically welcomed by RoSPA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents) as it provides a long awaited middle-ground between the current offences in place.

RoSPA's Head of Road Safety, Kevin Clinton, said: "RoSPA has previously called for the offence of causing death by dangerous driving to be extended to cover serious injury, so we welcome the announcement of a new offence of causing serious injury by dangerous driving."

Northgate is a company that works hard to promote safer driving to colleagues and customers and supports national Road Safety Week, coordinated by road safety charity Brake. This year Brake's theme of the campaign will be "Too Young To Die". See how you can get involved by visiting www.roadsafetyweek.org.uk/.

October 2011 - NORTHGATE INVESTS IN INFRASTRUCTURE WITH £300,000 GLASGOW RE-DEVELOPMENT

10 October 2011: Market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, Northgate Vehicle Hire, has this week unveiled its new look Glasgow depot after investing £300,000 in the existing infrastructure. To drive process efficiencies for customers and offer an unrivalled experience, the re-development has taken place over three months.

As part of Northgate's £1.5m investment across the UK this year, the Glasgow site was the natural starting point due to the size of its market area. Striving to set new benchmarks for depots and facilities across the group, the Glasgow site will be used as the blueprint for all 62 depots.

Transforming the dated and operationally unsuitable site into a hub that boasts a dedicated reception area for rental and workshop customers, two plasma TVs with information points; one of which will display a live workshop planner so customers can track the maintenance progress of their vehicles; a refreshment and working area with Wi-Fi access for customers, a new open plan back office to improve operational performance and communication between departments, and a canteen for colleagues, the new site is more in keeping with a retail environment and has a new dedicated customer parking area and entrance and a fully landscaped exterior. Corporate signage has also been introduced.

Simon Ridley, Northgate's Operations Director North, commented:
"The suitability of our existing sites has been an area we've wanted to review for a long time. The fleet has grown substantially over the last 15 years and it was time our facilities reflected the standard of service offered."

He continued:
"We have spent around £300,000 reconfiguring the Glasgow site to make it more efficient. Alongside providing our colleagues with a working environment that allows them to carry out their jobs effectively, process efficiencies will improve significantly to ensure that our customers have an unrivalled experience with every visit."

The Glasgow workshop, in particular, has seen a significant development with the re-design allowing optimum operational efficiency and workflow, as well as the mechanics benefitting from updated equipment.

September 2011 - NORTHGATE LAUNCHES NEW SUPER SITE IN GRANTHAM TO SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESS

Launching a brand new super site in Grantham this week, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, Northgate Vehicle Hire, is continuing in its aim to support local businesses in need of efficient fleets, and provide state-of-the-art facilities for vehicle servicing and maintenance.

Strategically located in a prestigious location just off the A1 in Gonerby Moor, the new Grantham depot is the result of the consolidation of the existing workshop site in Long Bennington, the rental location in Newark and the current rental site in Grantham. A £297,000 investment now sees the 1-acre site with 333 sq m of workshop space ideally equipped to service the needs of the growing fleet size in the large conurbation, and caters for walk in rentals and private hire.

The new site boasts a dedicated reception area for rental and workshop customers, two plasma TVs with information points; one of which will display a live workshop planner so customers can track the maintenance progress of their vehicles; a refreshment and working area for customers, a new open plan back office to improve operational performance and communication between departments, a five bay mechanical workshop with an additional valeting bay, and a brand new brake tester.

The new state-of-the-art brake tester is a scientific way of testing brake efficiencies and is in line with MOT standards. New diagnostic equipment, self-fit tyre facilities and full vehicle valeting facilities are also on site.

David Howarth, Northgate Vehicle Hire's Regional Manager, commented:
"The consolidation of the sites in and around Grantham to launch one super site will provide our customers with everything under one roof. The site was picked due to its accessibility and the facilities we could incorporate to cater for our growing fleet and the increasing demands of our customers."

He continued:
"All of our staff are undergoing a training programme, which was piloted in Glasgow, to ensure that not only our facilities, but our service levels, are exceptional."

The launch comes as part of Northgate's £1.5m investment in infrastructure, which saw the Glasgow site unveil a £300,000 re-development in August; the Glasgow depot is being used as the blueprint for all sites.

September 2011 - NORTHGATE INTRODUCES NEW FLEET SERVICES FOR UK COUNCILS

Northgate introduces new fleet services for UK councilsIn an effort to support public sector transport within the local community, Northgate Vehicle Hire, market leaders in flexible vehicle hire and fleet solutions, has introduced a brand new range of wheelchair accessible buses to its fleet, to help councils avoid the spiraling maintenance and service costs of long-term leases.

With public sector organisations currently being scrutinised on their allocation of funding, one large area of concern is the cost-effective provision of community transport. As part of its public sector division, Northgate Public Sector, Northgate works with the region's public bodies and councils to offer an alternative to long-term leases.

As a means of overcoming the challenges of providing the community with quality fleet services, Northgate's extensive fleet network provides local communities with a top of the range service. The new fleet of wheelchair accessible buses offers a cost-effective and service efficient means of assisting some of the most disadvantaged sections of the community. The fleet itself is brand new and boasts fuel-efficient Euro 5 engines, 3.8t or 5t derivatives, automatic transmissions and completely flexible seating layouts and wheelchair fixtures.

Nick Cash, Head of Northgate Public Sector, comments:
"As market leaders in fleet solutions, we are very aware of our responsibility to the communities we operate in and we hope that the introduction of the wheelchair accessible vehicles will directly benefit local communities."

He continued:
"The wheelchair accessible buses are state-of-the-art vehicles and we're genuinely excited about the potential they might have for improving the day-to-day lives of those who really need it. In difficult economic times, we certainly think our fleet can offer the service that the community deserves."

With most councils owning their own wheelchair accessible bus fleet or having funding through banks and finance houses in the form of operating leases, arrangements often mean the lifetime of vehicles can be up to 12 years. This poses the problem of spiraling maintenance costs and increasing down time, which has a negative impact on front line services. In some of the worst cases, vehicles still tied to operating leases are being taken off the road because of these costs and the excessive termination penalties imposed by the finance providers.

Northgate Public Sector's offering:

  • Avoids significant asset purchase costs
  • Employs new and modern vehicles
  • Reduces the risk of costly maintenance charges
  • Lessens the risk of vehicle downtime resulting in improved front line service
  • Provides access to Northgate's national service network with 24/7, 365 support

August 2011 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE ACCIDENT REPAIR CENTRE

Northgate Vehicle Hire have announced the sale of GPS Body Repairs Warwick following a review on the efficiencies of a stand alone Accident Repairs business within the Northgate network.

After a thorough negotiation process and having sought assurances over the ongoing employment of the Warwick GPS employees, an offer has been accepted from ADR Accident Repair Centres Limited (ADR).

Simon Ridley, Operations Director North, comments on the sale, "Following a recent review it was concluded that, whilst an in house body repair facility very much fits into the Northgate operation and we recognise the efficiencies this can provide, we believe that such a facility is only viable going forward, when situated on site with either a rental or a vehicle sales location, as is the case in Huddersfield and Stockton."

Northgate will continue to operate the two Accident Repair Centres in Stockton and Huddersfield.

August 2011 - TREAD CAREFULLY!

Do you know the legal minimum tread depth for tyres? Most people do, but how many people actually check them? Many are unaware of the fact that although the minimum tread depth is 1.6mm, it is recommended that tyres are replaced once it reaches 3mm.

In 2003, the British Rubber Manufacturers' Association (BRMA) commissioned Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) to study the effects of tread depth on stopping distances. The results recommended that tyre tread depth be a minimum of 3mm as evidence showed that below this, the stopping distance increases drastically and vehicle handling is compromised.

As an organisation with a strong emphasis on health and safety, we have a responsibility to our customers to help and encourage vehicle safety. As a result, we have produced a pocket sized tyre tread depth indicator card to identify when tyres reach their minimum tread depth. To order your free pocket sized tyre tread depth indicator card contact info@northgatevehiclehire.co.uk

We take our duty of care responsibilities seriously and we want to encourage our employees and our customers to practice safe driving habits. From working closely with the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA), it has been made clear that the tyre safety message is one that we should continue to promote.

Organisations must meet their duty of care responsibilities by ensuring that their employees are driving safely, in well maintained and roadworthy vehicles. If they aren't met, organisations can be found guilty of Corporate Manslaughter in accordance with the Corporate Manslaughter act of 2008.

It goes without saying that tread depth is a key area of vehicle maintenance training. As such, organisations have an obligation to ensure that their employees are carrying out these necessary checks and committing to safe driving.

In addition to the tyre tread depth checks we recommend that you regularly carry out a full tyre inspection, checking for bulges, rips and wear, as well as ensuring tyre pressure is at the manufacturer's recommended pounds force (PSI) or BAR pressure.

For more information about tyre safety and other vehicle safety, click here for the RoSPA website: http://www.rospa.com/roadsafety/adviceandinformation/vehiclesafety/default.aspx

August 2011 - SMARTER DRIVING

According to the Energy Savings Trust, smarter driving techniques can help reduce fuel bills by up to 15 per cent; they suggest that small changes can make a big impact upon fuel costs. We agree with this statement and would like to share with you some helpful hints on how to improve driving efficiency within your fleet.

In addition to the financial benefits of smarter driving, such as a reduction in fuel costs and wear and tear on vehicles, the safety and environmental benefits can also be significant. Efficient driving encourages safer driving techniques and has the added benefit of reducing carbon emissions.

We've taken a look at what the Energy Savings Trust lists as the top tips for smarter driving and have summarised them into 3 key points.

1. Ease off the pedals

Reducing your revs, changing before 2,500rpm (petrol) or 2,000rpm (diesel), driving smoothly, reducing heavy breaking, going easy on the accelerator and driving more slowly will all improve your MPG.

2. Air conditioning- use it sparingly!

This warm summer weather tends to have us all reaching for the air conditioning, but this can increase fuel consumption significantly. Try instead, using the eco setting or opening the window, but remember, opening the window at high speed can be more inefficient than using the air conditioning! According to the Energy Saving Trust air conditioning at full blast can increase fuel consumption by up to 25%!

3. Tyre Maintenance

Ensure tyre pressure is correct as underinflated tyres are dangerous and can add an unnecessary 2% on to fuel consumption. Always refer to manufacturers' recommendations and ensure that your tyre tread depth is above 3mm. Read our 'Tread carefully' story to find out what Northgate is doing to increase awareness of this issue.

For a comprehensive list of the points above visit the Energy Saving Trust website.

http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Travel/Drivers/Smarter-driving

August 2011 - DRIVING EFFICIENCY THROUGH TELEMATICS

Whether you are a small to medium sized enterprise (SME) with a small fleet, or a national company with 100s of vehicles to manage, vehicle monitoring can offer significant cost savings. Industry publications repeatedly promote the benefits of fleet management software and Fleet News recently suggested that “the benefits they bring will often outweigh any initial expenditure.” Fleet News, Telematics Technology Grows Up.

Growth in the telematics market has been predicted by industry experts, estimating that the European market could be worth more than £6bn by 2013, (Fleet News). With this in mind, organisations wanting to remain operationally efficient and competitive should consider the benefits of vehicle monitoring available from Northgate.

1. Locate your vehicles 24/7, 365 days a year

Real time information allows you to know where your vehicles are, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Being able to locate your vehicle locations means you can respond more quickly to customer demand, a massive advantage for companies operating in the utilities and services industry where call outs are a regular occurrence and where a responsive service is essential. Delivery times and dates can also be accurately evidenced.

2. Increase productivity

Hours of work, journey route, journey time and rest time can be monitored. Any idleness and inefficient use of time can also be identified. Measures can then be put in place to eliminate bad practice and inefficient use of time to ensure that your fleet is operating productively.

3. Reduce fuel consumption

Poor driving behaviour can reduce MPG and increase fuel expenditure but vehicle monitoring technology allows this behaviour to be highlighted, allowing fleet managers to stamp out bad practice and take control of fuel consumption.

4. Duty of care

Being able to monitor the speed of your vehicles means you can ensure that your drivers are staying within the speed limits. If needed, driving training can be implemented to improve driving standards throughout the company.

Vehicle monitoring is designed to bring improved management and cost saving benefits to fleets, by giving insight and hard data, so that fleet managers can make informed and effective decisions. To find out what Northgate Vehicle Monitoring has to offer, visit:

http://www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk/vehicle_monitoring.html

July 2011 - FLEET DEMAND FOR FLEXIBLE RENTAL ACCELERATES AS BUSINESSES LOOK TO DRIVE DOWN COSTS

Flexibility is crucial in business and never more so than when companies are in the grip of economic uncertainty and every penny counts as all corporate costs go under the microscope.

As a result, Northgate Vehicle Hire, Britain's largest vehicle rental company with a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles available nationwide from 62 locations, is reporting accelerating demand for its non-contract rental solution.

The likelihood of rising interest rates, continuing economic uncertainty, a lack of business confidence and the possibility of a 'double-dip' recession still looming, means that companies are reluctant to use hard earned cash to invest in new vehicles themselves or sign leasing agreements that can run for several years.

Gareth Jones, sales and marketing director, Northgate Vehicle Hire, said: "Funding issues continue to remain the single largest challenge facing many fleets and small businesses.

"They are reluctant to invest available money in the purchase of vehicles, which are a depreciating asset. Equally, due to economic and business uncertainty over the longer term, they are not willing to commit to signing three or four-year contract hire agreements.

"As a consequence of those issues, demand for hired vehicles is accelerating rapidly. We have increased our on-hire count in the first months of 2011 to both existing clients and new customers as a result of a number of business wins."

The attractiveness to companies of vehicle hire flexibility through Northgate Vehicle Hire's Norflex product is that there is no capital outlay, depreciation or residual value risk or service, maintenance and repair bill concerns as there would be if vehicles were bought.

Equally, in comparison with contract hire, there are no upfront deposit, lengthy contract commitments, which if broken could trigger significant financial penalties; and vehicles can be returned without charge if business demand drops. However, if business activity increases then additional vehicles can be immediately added.

Northgate customers also benefit from the company's fleet being composed of the newest vehicles powered by the most modern technology that vehicle manufacturers offer and equipped with the latest safety features.

In addition, Norflex rental agreements include vehicle servicing and breakdown cover, which are typically subject to additional costs from leasing providers.

Mr Jones said: "Vehicle hire provides flexibility, while still leaving companies in full control of their operations and with a fleet profile that can be quickly changed to meet demand. Unwanted vehicles can be handed back without charge.

"It is right that fleet costs are under the microscope as companies look to save money and reduce their risks. However, whether businesses presently outright purchase or lease, it is clear that too many are still failing to appreciate the cash-saving potential of rental.

"All fleets, irrespective of size, should view rental as an alternative vehicle funding route. It is extremely price competitive and significantly more flexible in comparison with other funding methods.

"Rental has historically been viewed as a stop-gap transport solution. But that perception is changing and more companies are waking up to the fact that it is vehicle usership and not ownership that is key."

Mr Jones added: "Many of our customers are looking to Northgate not simply as a supplier of vehicles but as a fleet solutions provider.

"Added on to the supply of vehicles through Norflex, customers want a range of services available either within the standard package or as an add on. These might include fleet management, vehicle reporting, corporate social responsibility and duty of care issues etc."

Benefits of Norflex v Outright purchase v Contract hire
Norflex Outright purchase Contract hire
No capital outlay Up front capital outlay Locked into fixed-term contracts
Contract free Residual value risk Advance payments impact on cash flow
No upfront deposit Costly service maintenance and repair bills Costly early termination charges apply
Penalty free if fleet demand shrinks Cash flow complications Excess mileage charges if contract breached
Free vehicle upgrades An expensive asset to maintain if business levels drop No vehicle upgrade during contract term
Inclusive of maintenance and breakdown Stuck with vehicle until you decide to replace Additional charges typically apply for these services
No residual value risk

For more information go to www.northgateonline.co.uk

June 2011 - MOTOR INSURANCE DATABASE (MID) - IMPORTANT NOTICE FOR ALL VEHICLE USERS

All vehicles being driven in the UK must appear on the Motor Insurance Database (MID). If a vehicle does not appear on the MID the registered keeper can face harsh penalties for non-registration by the DVLA.

All commercial policy holders and/or their insurer are responsible for regularly submitting information about their vehicle(s) to the MID.

If a vehicle does not appear on the MID, the registered keeper can face one of the following:

  • Notification, without penalty.
  • A fixed penalty fine of £100.
  • The vehicle being clamped, seized and disposed of.
  • A court prosecution with a maximum fine of £1000 unless a Statutory Off Road Notification (SORN) has been made.

These new measures are in addition to the powers the police already have to seize an uninsured vehicle and fine the driver.

Vehicles can be checked to see whether they appear on the MID through the services available on the MID website www.askMID.com.

June 2011 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE COMPLETES GOLDEN HAT-TRICK IN 2011 RoSPA HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARDS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, the UK's largest vehicle rental business, has been presented with its third consecutive Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' (RoSPA) Gold Award.

The Award was presented to the company's safety and environment manager Colin Gilstin at a ceremony at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole Hotel, National Exhibition Centre. The ceremony took place alongside Safety & Health Expo 2011, Europe's leading annual health and safety exhibition.

RoSPA launched its awards programme, which looks not only at accident records, but also entrants' overarching health and safety management systems, including important practices such as strong leadership and workforce involvement, 55 years ago.

Darlington-based Northgate Vehicle Hire, which operates a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from 62 locations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and also operates in Spain, won RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Gold Awards in 2009 and 2010 after winning a Silver Award in 2008.

David Rawlins, RoSPA's awards manager, said: "RoSPA firmly believes that organisations that have demonstrated their commitment to continuous improvement in accident and ill health prevention deserve recognition. Northgate Vehicle Hire has shown that it is committed to striving for such continuous improvement and we are delighted to honour it through the presentation of an award."

After being presented with this year's Gold Award, Mr Gilstin said: "The award is the culmination of yet another year's tireless efforts to maintain the highest possible levels of safety across the whole Northgate Group. To win a Gold Award for the third consecutive year against extremely strict judging criteria is testimony to the successful implementation of a wide-range of health and safety initiatives to ensure the health and welfare of all of our 2,000+ employees."

Most recently, Northgate further enhanced its reputation for promoting health and safety among its employees and customers with the launch of a new campaign focused around 10 key principles to staying safe and sound at work fronted by Ms Safe and Mr Sound.

Mr Gilstin said: "The two characters are being used to raise and promote health and safety awareness across all of our workplaces. By following these simple but effective 10 key principles, which take a sensible and practical approach to health and safety, employees can help improve standards and avoid accidents or incidents where they work."

"The focus of the campaign is to help influence safe behaviour and attitudes, both of which are paramount in meeting Northgate's objective of providing a safe place of work."

Other health and safety initiatives in the past 12 months have focused on reviewing and updating policies and procedures and issuing "winter driving packs" to all of the company's 450+ collection and delivery drivers.

The company's significant investment in health and safety also sees employees attend a range of British Safety Council courses to equip them with the necessary safety skills and knowledge for their roles.

The RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2011 are sponsored by NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health), the leading health and safety professional examining body.

RoSPA Gold Award

Colin Gilstin, Northgate Vehicle Hire's safety and environment manager, (right) receives the Gold Award certificate from Michael Hampson, RoSPA trustee.

May 2011 - NORTHGATE ORGANISATIONAL RE-STRUCTURE

On 16 May 2011 Northgate plc will implement an organisational re-structure which will see the company build on its existing position as the UK's number one commercial vehicle hire company.

Since the company re-branded in 2010, Northgate has focussed on providing an industry leading product and service experience under one name. Having listened to our customers, the primary aim of the re-structure is to make our service delivery more visible and consistent, therefore significantly improving the customer experience.

Whilst it is expected that there will be a relatively small number of redundancies announced as part of the reorganisation, the majority of the reductions are in back office, finance and administrative positions where our new IT platform will simplify processes allowing us to remove duplication. Positively, as part of the consolidation process a significant number of roles will be made available and these will be offered to those affected where possible to mitigate job losses.

All of the proposed changes are being made with customers in mind and in addition to this we will make the following investments in 2011-12 to further improve the service experience:

  • Purchase of over 20,000 new vehicles in line with the past two years.
  • Significant investment in our infrastructure with additional sites and a major refurbishment of many of our existing facilities.
  • Introduction of technology and additional training for our staff to better manage the vehicle delivery, collection and communication process.
  • Completion of the implementation of our workshop planning system to better manage the vehicle service, maintenance and repair process.
  • Centralisation of key administrative tasks to speed up customer response times, reduce issues and communicate in a clear and consistent manner.
  • Improving controls to ensure vehicles delivered to customers meet a high standard.
  • Embark on a group wide training and development plan for customer service.

May 2011 - MS SAFE AND MR SOUND TAKE NEW HEALTH AND SAFETY MESSAGE TO MORE THAN 2,000 NORTHGATE EMPLOYEES

Northgate Vehicle Hire, the UK's largest vehicle rental business, is enhancing its reputation for promoting health and safety among its employees and customers with the launch of a new campaign fronted by Ms Safe and Mr Sound.

Darlington-based Northgate, which employs more than 2,000 people and operates a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from 62 locations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and also operates in Spain, has unveiled its 10 key principles to staying safe and sound at work.

The "Safe and Sound" campaign has been launched in the wake of Northgate winning a prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Gold Award for the third consecutive year.

The company's safety and environment manager Colin Gilstin said: "Two new colleagues, Ms Safe and Mr Sound, are being used to raise and promote health and safety awareness across all of our workplaces. By following these simple but effective 10 key principles, which take a sensible and practical approach to health and safety, employees can help improve standards and avoid accidents or incidents where they work".

"The focus of the campaign is to help influence safe behaviour and attitudes, both of which are paramount in meeting Northgate's objective of providing a safe place of work".

"We are confident that our existing health and safety systems are very good and rival or better any others in our industry. The company's safety record is comparable with any organisation because of the controls we already have in place and the culture Northgate has adopted over many years, but we are always looking to improve".

The 10 principles are being introduced across all areas of Northgate's business including workshops, rental and sales depots, head office and support services.

The safety principles are supported by other processes and controls which include risk assessments, safety inspections, effective accident and incident investigation, competence training and the continuous development of employees through initiatives such as staff attending British Safety Council accredited training courses which are carried out internally by the Northgate safety and environment department.

Mr Gilstin concluded: "The overriding objective of the campaign is to improve culture, and everyone's appreciation of working safely. We want this to become an everyday habit rather than an occasional hindrance. We want all employees to 'work safe, stay safe' in whatever role or task they carry out".

The 10 principles to staying safe and sound at work are:

  1. Keep Safe - if you see anything that looks like it could be hazardous, let the company know
  2. Read, look, listen - understand rules, signs and instructions before starting work
  3. Clean up - keep work areas neat and tidy to avoid unnecessary accidents
  4. Cover up - ensure protective clothing and special equipment are in good condition
  5. Speak up - all accidents, incidents and near misses must be reported to your manager
  6. Don't DIY - do not adjust, modify or repair any work equipment unless competent and authorised to do so
  7. Do it right - only trained and competent people should use work equipment and machinery
  8. Spot check - check tools and equipment are in good condition and use the correct ones for the job
  9. Weigh it up - before lifting, assess the load and capability to move it
  10. Any ideas? - any suggestions about making the workplace safer.

The poster and microsite campaign is fully supported by senior management and all employees in the UK, Ireland and Spain will be given information about the campaign through various mechanisms such as in their safety committee meetings and toolbox talks at locations.

April 2011 - NORTHGATE LAUNCHES NEW IMPROVED WEBSITE TO DRIVE FORWARD ONLINE BOOKINGS AND CUSTOMER SERVICE

Northgate Vehicle Hire has launched a new website for all customers with a raft of new features to make selecting and specifying the "right model for the right job" as simple as possible and drive forward online bookings.

Launch of the website, which is accessible at www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk, follows last year's nationwide rebrand of the Northgate plc owned business to Northgate Vehicle Hire from a network of 20 local hire companies.

The enhanced website has also been launched as Northgate Vehicle Hire, which now runs a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from 62 locations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and also operates in Spain, celebrates its 30th anniversary.

Simplification is the key to the new website, instead of the previous separate websites for business and retail customers, the "one company" approach signified by the rebrand sees the creation of one website for all.

Website users whether private individuals, businesses, public sector organisations or those looking to purchase a used vehicle are immediately able to navigate their way to the most appropriate section.

New tools that have been introduced include:

  • A vehicle customisation tool that allows users to spec a vehicle to meet their own individual requirements
  • A CO2 emissions and MPG tool that enables users to choose the most environmentally-friendly, fuel-sipping vehicle

The "Northgate Twitter Stream" delivers all the very latest company news and there are also comprehensive news and features sections, which keep website users up to date with the very latest in-house and wider industry developments.

"Digital colleagues" appear throughout the site, which are designed to engage website users. They include, for example, a magician who assists users to customise their vehicle from a menu of features ranging from beacons, ladder racks and tows to internal racking, security gates and livery.

As well as enabling customers to rent vehicles, the site also advises business customers on the range of services offered, which include Northgate Vehicle Hire's established:

  • Norflex fully flexible non-contract rental solution, which is the acquisition alternative to leasing or buying vehicles
  • Fleet management service through sister company Fleet Technique
  • Vehicle Monitoring, which is the company's own in-vehicle telematics solution

Digital manager Carolyn Lee said: "Simplification of our entire website offering means that all users are able to more easily navigate their way to the vehicle solutions they require and discover a wide range of information to support their rental decision-making".

"Coupled with the availability of a range of new tools and information we are confident that website traffic will increase and that will result in more vehicle bookings from retail customers and increased business opportunities with private and public sector fleets as well as smaller organisations".

The new site has been designed in-house and Ms Lee added: "We took inspiration from some of the websites of some of the world's best known brands to develop the new site, which will be continuously updated in terms of design, content and functionality".

April 2011 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE SCORES GOLDEN HAT-TRICK IN ROSPA HEALTH AND SAFETY AWARDS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, the UK's largest vehicle rental business, has had its reputation for promoting health and safety to employees and customers recognised with a prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' (RoSPA) Gold Award for the third consecutive year.

Darlington-based Northgate Vehicle Hire, which operates a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from 62 locations across the UK and the Republic of Ireland and also operates in Spain, won a RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Gold Award for the first time in 2009 after winning a Silver Award in 2008.

The Award will be presented to the company's safety and environment manager Colin Gilstin at a ceremony at the Birmingham Hilton Metropole Hotel, National Exhibition Centre, on Thursday, May 19. The ceremony will take place alongside Safety & Health Expo 2011, Europe's leading annual health and safety exhibition.

RoSPA launched its awards programme, which looks not only at accident records, but also entrants' overarching health and safety management systems, including important practices such as strong leadership and workforce involvement, 55 years ago.

David Rawlins, RoSPA's awards manager, said: "RoSPA firmly believes that organisations that have demonstrated their commitment to continuous improvement in accident and ill health prevention deserve recognition. Northgate Vehicle Hire has shown that it is committed to striving for such continuous improvement and we are delighted to honour it through the presentation of an award."

Mr Gilstin said: "The award is the culmination of yet another year's tireless efforts to maintain the highest possible levels of safety across the whole Northgate Group. To win a Gold Award for the third consecutive year against extremely strict judging criteria is testimony to the successful implementation of a wide-range of health and safety initiatives to ensure the health and welfare of all of our 2,000+ employees."

New health and safety initiatives in the past 12 months have focused on reviewing and updating policies and procedures and issuing 'winter driving packs' to all of the company's 450+ collection and delivery drivers. The special packs consist of an illuminated warning triangle, ice scraper, torch, first aid kit and vest together with a Northgate Vehicle Hire branded carrying case.

The company's significant investment in health and safety also sees employees attend a range of courses to equip them with the necessary safety skills and knowledge for their roles. For example, Northgate trained around 250 employees last year to a British Safety Council Level One standard in health and safety meaning more than 1,000 members of staff have attained the qualification over the past three years. Additionally, 40 managers and senior members of staff have attended the three-day Level Two course with further training taking place this year.

A further initiative has seen the appointment of safety representatives for each of the company's 12 regionally based business units covering UK and Ireland. They act as the conduit between Mr Gilstin and the company's head office health and safety department and staff employed at Northgate Vehicle Hire locations nationwide.

Mr Gilstin said: "Constant and consistent communication with employees on all health and safety issues is vital. The appointment of regional representatives helps to ensure local level engagement on all health and safety issues."

The latest award further adds to Northgate's external as well as internal board of directors-led focus on health and safety. The company remains the only rental firm that has joined the 'Driving for Better Business' campaign, which is managed by RoadSafe to promote occupational road risk management in a bid to reduce the 150 road deaths and serious injuries a week resulting from crashes involving at-work drivers.

The RoSPA Occupational Health and Safety Awards 2011 are sponsored by NEBOSH (The National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health), the leading health and safety professional examining body.

February 2011 - NORTHGATE INCREASES SAFETY FOCUS WITH WINTER PACKS FOR ALL VEHICLE COLLECTION AND DELIVERY DRIVERS

Safety-focused Northgate Vehicle Hire has issued all of its 450+ collection and delivery drivers with their own 'winter driving packs'.

The special packs consist of an illuminated warning triangle, ice scraper, torch, first aid kit and vest together with a Northgate Vehicle Hire branded carrying case.

Government statistics highlight that more people are killed and injured on Britain's roads in the winter months than at any other time making it imperative that everything possible is done to help all road users to stay safe. With the onset of freezing driving conditions, fog and wet roads, Northgate Vehicle Hire has underlined its award-winning safety credentials with the issuing of the 'winter driving packs'.

The company is the UK's largest vehicle hire business with a fleet of more than 60,000 cars and vans available from 62 locations. Colin Gilstin, group safety and environment manager, said: "Providing a safe workplace for our employees is of paramount importance and that includes when they are collecting and delivering vehicles.

"For our collection and delivery drivers the vehicle is very much their workplace so it is essential that we provide them with the tools to ensure they are safe as possible on the roads.

"All of our collection and delivery drivers are expected to carry the packs with them at all times when driving at work."

ast year, Northgate Vehicle Hire had its reputation for promoting health and safety to employees and customers recognised with a prestigious Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents' (RoSPA) Gold Award for the second consecutive year.

Additionally, the company remains the only rental firm that has joined the 'Driving for Better Business' campaign, which is delivered by RoadSafe and promotes occupational road risk management. The company is also a leading supporter of road safety charity Brake.

An estimated 150 road deaths and serious injuries a week result from crashes involving at work drivers with more employees killed and seriously injured on Britain's roads while driving on behalf of their employer than in any other work-related activity.

Mr Gilstin added: "The company takes its employee duty of care responsibilities very seriously with staff also attending a range of health and safety courses to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge for their roles."

February 2011 - NORTHGATE CELEBRATE 30 YEARS

Northgate Vehicle Hire, the UK's largest vehicle hire company, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2011.

The company, which now runs a fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles from 62 locations across the UK and the Republic or Ireland and also operates in Spain, can trace its roots back to the launch of Noble Self Drive Hire in Darlington in 1981.

But, today the FTSE listed Northgate Plc business is much more than a vehicle hire company as it has transformed itself into a one-stop shop fleet solutions provider with a complete range of services for businesses from sole trader to multi-national.

Northgate Plc, apart from owning Northgate Vehicle Hire in the UK and Northgate Spain which operates a fleet of more than 45,000 vehicles, also includes, specialist fleet management business, Fleet Technique, which manages some 12,000 vehicles, and used vehicle outlets Van Monster and Trade Sales Direct.

Crucially, Northgate Vehicle Hire has developed to offer companies a flexible long-term hire alternative to the more traditional vehicle fleet funding options of outright purchase or contract hire.

Called Norflex, it is at the heart of Northgate Vehicle Hire's rental proposition and is contract-free and fully flexible. It also comes with a range of additional benefits such as telematics through the company's own Vehicle Monitoring service.

Northgate Vehicle Hire sales and marketing director Gareth Jones said: "Today, the company is much more than a provider of vehicles. The business is a complete fleet solutions provider giving customers a real marketplace choice with a range of added value products.

"Northgate Vehicle Hire is the clear marketplace leader in the rental sector, but is also an expanding provider in the fleet solutions arena with a range of services that include full fleet management solutions, online fleet management reporting, occupational road risk management duty of care compliance and its own workshops for vehicle service, maintenance and repair."

Although the company has a string of big-name customers includes the likes of the Royal Mail, Tesco.com, B&Q and Securitas, Mr Jones said: "Northgate is an unknown quantity to many businesses in terms of providing a complete range of fleet solutions.

"Therefore, as the company enters its fourth decade we will be continually aiming to leverage our knowledge and fleet expertise and broaden our customer base across all sizes of public and private sector organisations, but particularly in the SME (small and medium enterprises) segment.

"Additionally, the company will continually look to expand its range of fleet solutions as new services are demanded by customers to meet their fleet operating requirements."

Long-term business sustainability is the key for Northgate and that was underlined by last year's decision to rebrand itself and the demise of some its competitors due to the impact of the credit crunch led recession.

Unlike many of its rivals, Northgate continues to invest in the acquisition of new vehicles. Last year the company purchased 18,800 vehicles and in 2011 the company will continue the renewal of its UK fleet.

Mr Jones said: "Fleets want stability and sustainability. The marketplace is undergoing tremendous upheaval but that is presenting increased business opportunities for Northgate.

"The company is built on extremely solid foundations and is focused on continuing to make the right decisions that will see it offer services to businesses for a further 30 years and longer."

The development of what became Northgate started with the launch by Alan Noble of Noble Self Drive Ltd. He subsequently acquired rental businesses in Stockton on Tees and Newcastle and in 1986 established Northgate Motor Holdings Ltd as the parent company for the three vehicle hire outlets.

A year later, Northgate Motor Holdings Ltd was acquired by Goode Durrant Plc, a conglomerate involved in several business sectors including the motor industry.

Goode Durrant oversaw a major acquisition of independent hire companies over several years and also established Northgate Vehicle Sales as a separate business for the buying and selling of commercial vehicles.

In 1996 the rental fleet numbered some 10,000 vehicles nationwide and three years later Goode Durrant changed its name to Northgate plc. In 2000, Northgate opened its first outlet in the Republic of Ireland and a year later opened its 50th rental location in Chester.

During the 21st century landmarks continued to be achieved and they included:

  • The 2002 entry into the Spanish market with the acquisition of a 40% stake in rental company Fualsa, which operated 10,000 vehicles.
  • The same year in the UK, Northgate was officially ranked as the country's largest daily rental company by industry publication Fleet News.
  • Van Monster, which sold ex-hire vehicles to retail customers, was launched in 2004 and in the same year Northgate completed the acquisition of Fualsa.
  • A year later in 2005, Northgate further expanded its Spanish business with the acquisition of a 49% stake in Record Rent a Car - the company acquired the whole business in 2006.
  • Also in 2006, Northgate completed the acquisition of major UK company Arriva Vehicle Rental (10,000+ vehicles) and broke into the fleet management sector with the purchase of Fleet Technique.
  • Further acquisitions followed over the remainder of the decade, including Hampsons in 2007.
  • In 2010, Mr Noble, the driving force behind Northgate's early growth who went on to hold a variety of board positions, retired from the company.

Five things you didn't know about Northgate:

  1. The company's headquarters is in Darlington – the town where the business was founded 30 years ago
  2. More than 12,000 vehicles display the Northgate Vehicle Hire name - the remainder carry the livery of clients such as B&Q and Tesco.com - making it the third largest liveried van fleet in the UK (after the Royal Mail and BT Openreach) with plans to brand over 30,000 vehicles by the end of 2011
  3. The green Northgate 'dial' in the company's livery represents a speedometer
  4. The company employs more than 2,000 people in the UK and Republic of Ireland and a further 1,000 in Spain.
  5. Group turnover (excluding vehicle sales) was £563.7 million in 2010

December 2010 - BUSINESS BOOMS FOR NORTHGATE AS RENTAL INDUSTRY RESTRUCTURES IN BUILD-UP TO BUSY FESTIVE SEASON

Northgate Vehicle Hire, Britain's largest vehicle rental company, is already reaping the benefits of what promises to be a far-reaching restructure of the industry. In recent days GE Capital has announced that it is to close its vehicle rental business TLS, while a second rental firm, Leaseway, is consulting with staff on the possible closure of two branches in Birmingham and London.

The announcements have been made in what is traditionally a very busy time for vehicle rental companies with many fleets requiring additional vehicles to meet increasing demand in the run-up to Christmas. Northgate Vehicle Hire, which has a UK-wide fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles available for hire from over 60 outlets, is already seeing a rise in rental demand and is in talks with around 300 TLS customers about meeting their vehicle requirements on an ongoing basis.

The boost in business for Northgate Vehicle Hire comes in the wake of the company continuing to renew its fleet - 20,000 new vehicles will be purchased in total in 2010 and the replacement programme will continue in 2011 - and completing a major UK-wide rebranding programme.

Northgate Vehicle Hire Sales and Marketing Director Gareth Jones said: "Fleets want stability and sustainability. The upheaval which is taking place has been widely predicted for several months, which is why Northgate has focused on ensuring it has in place a wide range of vehicles for hire and a national infrastructure to support corporate customers.

"We not only continue to buy new cars and vans but have available an immediate supply of vehicles most of which are under three years in age to meet the ongoing demand from existing and new customers. With a current utilisation rate of more than 90%, it means that at anyone time Northgate Vehicle Hire normally has 5,000 to 6,000 cars and vans available for hire."

Mr Jones added: "Many courier, parcel delivery and home delivery organisations require significant additional fleet capacity to ensure business efficiency during the festive season. Northgate is already supplying several thousand additional vehicles to such businesses and we anticipate that demand to increase further day-by-day from both our long-established customers and new clients we are in dialogue with.

"The company therefore continues to access 'reserve' stocks of vehicles to ensure client demand continues to be met." At the heart of Northgate Vehicle Hire's rental proposition is its contract-free, fully flexible NORFLEX rental solution, which makes financial and operational sense as organisations can rent a vehicle for as long as needed and then hand it back the moment it is not. Mr Jones continued: "The announcements by both TLS and Leaseway will obviously cause uncertainty. But Northgate Vehicle Hire is well-established and can ensure continuity of vehicle supply and service.

"Business is tough enough for organisations with fleets of vehicles without them having to worry about vehicles and whether they will have access to them. They need sustainability in terms of their transport and distribution requirements which Northgate Vehicle Hire can deliver."

In addition to the significant fleet renewal programme, Northgate Vehicle Hire has continued to invest heavily in its infrastructure and staff. The company recently announced a major apprenticeship investment programme in partnership with Ford, which has seen Northgate take on 35 youngsters who will complete either mechanical or bodyshop apprenticeships.

Northgate Vehicle Hire manages vehicle service, maintenance and repair through its own workshops, operates a team of mobile mechanics, provides a roadside breakdown service and provides access to replacement vehicles when needed - all designed to provide customers with support 24/7 to ensure they are able to concentrate their time on managing their business, and not managing vehicle supply.

"With a very considered approach through vehicle acquisition, vehicle hire operation and vehicle disposal Northgate Vehicle Hire is in a strong position and has the funding in place to move forward," said Mr Jones.

November 2010 - VEHICLE HIRE COMPANY, NORTHGATE BACKS NATIONAL 'KIDS SAY SLOW DOWN!' CAMPAIGN

The leading commercial vehicle hire company, Northgate, is backing Road Safety Week 2010 (22-28 November), coordinated by national road safety charity Brake, by creating a viral campaign called "Message Undelivered". The key message of the campaign is to convey the dangers of using mobile phones when driving. Northgate is producing a 30-40 second video, showing a van driver texting whilst driving and the devastating consequences of this behaviour. Northgate will show the video on sites such as YouTube and Twitter to increase awareness to a wide audience about the crucial road safety message.

During the Week, children across the UK will be calling drivers to slow down to 20mph or below in local communities. Thousands of companies, schools and community groups are getting involved to help raise awareness about how we can all play a part in making our roads safer.

A national survey of more than 15,000 children being launched for Road Safety Week by Brake and insurance company QBE has found that almost nine in 10 (86%) think drivers go too fast around their homes and schools. Shockingly, one in 10 children (10%) say they have been knocked down while walking or cycling, and a further 56% have had a near miss.

In 2009, 195 children were killed and 4,188 were seriously injured on UK roads – that's 12 deaths and serious injuries among under-18s every day. 59% of these deaths and injuries were children on foot and bicycle. Although the UK has the second lowest road death rate in the EU, our child pedestrian death rate per population is worse than 10 other EU countries, and eight times higher than Sweden's.

Gareth Jones, Sales and Marketing Director at Northgate said: "We're proud to be backing this important campaign to make our roads safer. At Northgate we work hard to promote road safety to our customers and local community, so Road Safety Week is an ideal opportunity to educate drivers of the dangers of using devices such as mobile phones whilst driving. We hope that by getting involved in this event, we can help to spread the message that we all have a part to play in preventing road deaths and injuries, and making roads more family-friendly."

Brake is calling on drivers to stay within speed limits and slow down to 20mph or below around schools and homes. At 20mph, you have a good chance of stopping in time if a child runs out three car lengths in front of you. Any faster than this, you would hit that child and have a significant chance of killing or maiming them. Click here for a diagram showing the relationship between speeds, stopping distances and the force of impact.

Brake is also urging the Government to put in place a strategy to continue bringing child deaths and serious injuries down – with a long term goal to reduce them to zero. Brake is calling for the default urban limit to be reduced to 20mph and for speed limits to be effectively enforced.

Katie Shephard, Acting General Manager for Brake, says: "Road Safety Week is a great opportunity for companies to raise awareness about road safety, so we're really pleased that Northgate is creating a campaign to educate drivers. Northgate are targeting a wide audience across the UK, releasing the video on the internet which is a great way to get the message across. For a society that places so much importance on the safety and wellbeing of our children, it is shocking and unacceptable that so many children die and suffer appalling injuries on our roads. We're appealing to all drivers to make a commitment to slow down to 20mph when driving in communities – this simple step means you have a good chance of being able to stop in time if a child runs out in front of you, so it could save a life."

For more information about Driver Safety, download our Special Edition Driver Safety Guide for more information - http://www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk/pdf/drivers_safety_guide.pdf

More results from Brake and QBE's survey of children:

  • 88% of 9-11 year olds and 85% of 11-13 year-olds (86% overall) think drivers go too fast around their home and school
  • 61% of 9-11 year olds and 67% of 11-13 year-olds (64% overall) think the roads around their home and school are dangerous for people on foot and bicycle
  • 6% of 9-11 year-old kids and 13% of 11-13 year-olds (10% overall) say they have been hit by a vehicle when walking or cycling.
  • 50% of 9-11 year-old kids and 61% of 11-13 year-olds (56% overall) say they have had a near-miss walking or cycling.

The full results – under embargo until 23 November – can be viewed on a restricted access web page.

Read more about the Road Safety Week 'kids say slow down' campaign:

  • Read full results of the survey of 15,531 children (on a restricted web page, under embargo)
  • Read Brake's 'Kids say slow down' campaign agenda
  • Read Brake's information sheet for drivers on slowing down
  • Read case studies on families whose lives have been devastated by speed

Go to www.roadsafetyweek.org for all other information about Road Safety Week including community and corporate participants, resources and sponsor info.

November 2010 - £5,000 AT STAKE AS NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE LAUNCHES HUNT FOR THE MOST CREATIVE VAN LIVERY ON THE ROAD

Northgate Vehicle Hire is on the lookout for the most creative use of livery on the side of a van with a £5,000 prize to the business with the best branding.

A witty company name or clever artwork may win the prize for the van owner, while the person who submits the photograph of the winning vehicle will be rewarded with an iPad worth £500.

Gareth Jones, Northgate Vehicle Hire Sales and Marketing director said: "We've all found ourselves laughing at inventive artwork on the side of a van. Therefore, as Britain's largest light commercial vehicle hire company we have decided to reward those organisations that have put the effort into capturing the public's attention and have used their vehicles as a marketing tool to promote their business."

Northgate Vehicle Hire has a UK-wide network of 60 centres and operates an LCV-dominated fleet of more than 60,000 vehicles. Customers include some of Britain's largest organisations such as the Royal Mail and Tesco as well as a wide range of SMEs including builders, plumbers and electricians.

Many of those vehicles are specially customised for clients at Northgate Vehicle Hire's own centre-based workshops. However, it does not need to be a vehicle supplied by the company that wins the prize.

Mr Jones said: "We hope that people will get into the spirit of the competition and keep their eyes open for the most creative livery on a van on the road."

The deadline for entries is December 12, 2010. Submitted entries will be categorised into funniest, most innovative and best visual design with the overall winning vehicle owner being presented with £5,000 in cash. The winner will be notified no later than January 10, 2011. Only photographs taken in the UK and of UK-owned vehicles will be accepted.

Anyone wishing to submit a design, should take a photo of the vehicle and email it to vanpics@htpr.co.uk or twitpic @northgateVhire or visit www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk for more information.

Submitted photographs should be accompanied by details of the sender's name, email address and telephone number, and whether they are the owner of the vehicle pictured. Additionally, if not clear from the photograph, please supply the company name or as much detail as possible about the vehicle nominated so it can be tracked down if successful.

Full competition terms and conditions are available from Northgate Vehicle Hire on request.

November 2010 - NORTHGATE VEHICLE HIRE JOINS FORCES WITH FORD TO LAUNCH UNIQUE NEW APPRENTICESHIP PROGRAMME

Northgate Vehicle Hire, Britain's largest vehicle rental company, has launched its first national apprentice training scheme in partnership with Ford, the UK's top-selling car and van manufacturer.

For the first time, Ford has made its internal Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme (FMAP) available to industry customers with Northgate Vehicle Hire selected as the first partner.

Northgate Vehicle Hire has taken on 35 apprentices who will complete a three-year programme combining hands-on workshop training at the company's centres with block release for training and study at Ford Colleges.

The youngsters will complete either mechanical apprenticeships or bodyshop apprenticeships and have jobs in selected Northgate Vehicle Hire workshops across the company's 60-strong centre network.

Historically, apprentices were recruited locally by the nationwide network of 20 local hire companies, which made up the Northgate Group. However, this year's rebranding of the entire network as Northgate Vehicle Hire has resulted in the launching of the company's first national apprentice programme.

The apprentices will work in state-of-the-art workshop facilities for servicing, maintenance and repair, which are located at most of Northgate Vehicle Hire's centres. Meanwhile, mechanical apprentices will attend colleges in two-week blocks in either Blackpool, Daventry or Langta in Scotland and bodyshop apprentices will study at the Ford College in Manchester.

Northgate Vehicle Hire operates a nationwide fleet of more than 60,000 light commercial vehicles and cars and is a major buyer of Ford vehicles in addition to other marques.

Ford says that the innovative new approach to training provision and developing key skills in the supply chain marks a radical move to offering better technical and mechanical support for its customers. Ultimately it will improve Ford's services beyond the brand's traditional remit.

The recruitment of 35 apprentices by Northgate Vehicle Hire marks a substantial investment in the future skills base of its staff and the growth of its business. Apprentices will work across Northgate Vehicle Hire's Ford vehicle fleet to maintain its efficiency and make sure all cars and vans are working to the highest standards.

The Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme is managed and co-ordinated on behalf of the manufacturer by specialist automotive training provider Skillnet Limited.

In its recent Ofsted inspection, Skillnet was recognised as an 'outstanding' grade 1 provider, a first for the motor industry and a reassurance that apprentices are trained to the highest standard. Each year over 500 apprentices across the UK are successfully recruited into one of 11 apprenticeships, including car and light commercial vehicle repair, vehicle paint and body repair. The programme also offers apprenticeships in sales, customer service and parts.

Ian Dunn, Northgate Vehicle Hire's Group Training Manager, has been working with Skillnet over the past year to bring the apprenticeship programme into fruition for Northgate.

He said: "To continue to develop and be the best in the industry, it is essential that we invest in developing young people as they are the future of our business.

"By partnering with such a prestigious and respected training partner as the FMAP we know we will get the high quality support we need and we will be better able to react to the changing vehicle demands that we face.

"The new apprenticeship scheme marks the first time that Northgate Vehicle Hire has partnered with a motor manufacturer and is the first time that an apprenticeship scheme has had a national focus for the company.

"However, following the rebranding of the company our centres will now request apprentices through the Group and we anticipate recruiting other youngsters to complete comprehensive training programmes in the future."

Stuart Harris, Ford College Strategy and Integration Manager, said: "We are delighted to be working with a customer like Northgate Vehicle Hire. This is the first time we have opened up our training programme to an industry client, which is a major move for the programme, but one that I feel will have endless benefits for our customers and also the scheme.

"Northgate Vehicle Hire's dedication to wanting to train the best technicians in the industry inevitably coincides with our aims. We look forward to working closely with the company to train the technicians of tomorrow. The training apprentices receive through the FMAP will significantly contribute to the future prosperity and dynamism of the business."

Photo caption: Some of the new Northgate Vehicle Hire apprentices who will be completing the Ford Masters Apprenticeship Programme with back row (left to right): Adrian Beckett, Northgate Vehicle Hire Workshop Trainer; Shaun Ingram, Northgate Vehicle Hire Assistant Health, Safety and Environment Manager; Andy Smith, Northgate Vehicle Hire Engineering Manager; and Ian Dunn, Group Training Manager. Front row is Melvyn Parr, Ford Programme Manager, Skillnet.

October 2010 - NORTHGATE IN THE PICTURE AS IT PUTS FILM AND TV INDUSTRY ON THE ROAD

Northgate Vehicle Hire is supplying an increasing number of vehicles to television and film industry logistical support company Makin Movies using Norflex, its flexible vehicle hire solution.

Northgate already has more than 50 vehicles on hire to Buckinghamshire-based Makin Movies and that number could increase by up to a further 20 later this year.

Northgate is Britain's largest vehicle hire company with a UK-wide network of more than 60 hire locations and a 60,000-strong fleet of cars and light commercial vehicles with more than 5,000 vehicles available to hire at any one time.

The company has been a vehicle supplier to Makin Movies for almost a decade and has traditionally supplied Mitsubishi L200 4x4s, which are used as camera mounts.

However, more recently the range of vehicles has extended to include panel vans and Lutons, which are used to transport equipment and props to and from different film and television locations.

Currently vehicles are being used behind the scenes on a number of films including the making of 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4' starring Johnny Depp, 'Johnny English 2' featuring Rowan Atkinson, Sherlock Holmes 2 starring Robert Downey jnr, the next X-Men movie and War Horse, which is being directed by Steven Spielberg.

Makin Movies has also supplied vehicles from Northgate Vehicle Hire during the making of a wide range of films including: 'Harry Potter 1-5', 'Quantum of Solace', 'Casino Royal', 'Mamma Mia', 'Da Vinci Code' and 'Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy'. Television credits include: 'Poirot', 'Miss Marple', 'EastEnders', 'Spooks', 'Silent Witness' and 'Holby City'.

In addition to vehicles, Makin Movies also supplies tents, building set-up, make-up equipment, generators, heating, lighting and boats to film and television production companies.

Northgate's Sales & Marketing Director, Gareth Jones said: "Demand for vehicles has continued to rise throughout 2010 and has peaked this month because production studies are fully booked by film makers as more producers make their movies in the UK.

"In addition to supplying an unprecedented number of vehicles to Makin Movies the range of vehicles we supply has increased to meet varied demand from film and television programme makers. The indications are that significant demand for support vehicles will continue at least until the end of the year"

Vehicles are supplied on Northgate's fully flexible Norflex hire solution with vehicles typically on hire for at least three months.

Sarah Brook, Manager at Makin Movies, said: "Frequently we are asked to supply vehicles at just one hour's notice. It is therefore vital that we have a vehicle supply partner that we can rely on to deliver.

"We have worked with Northgate Vehicle Hire for many years and the company always pulls out the stops to deliver vehicles when and where we require them to meet the demands of producers."

September 2010 - NORTHGATE UNDERLINES BUSINESS STRENGTH WITH DELIVERY OF MORE THAN 2,000 '60' PLATE VEHICLES IN SEPTEMBER

Northgate Vehicle Hire, Britain's largest vehicle hire company, is taking delivery of over 2,000 new vans and cars this month as it continues the renewal of its fleet.

A total of 1,500 new '60' registration plate vehicles are already out on the roads with customers and the company expects to take delivery of about a further 600 vehicles before the end of September.

The majority of these new purchases will be light commercial vehicles, which will bring a series of benefits to existing customers and is expected to generate new opportunities from businesses updating their fleets by hiring rather than buying outright.

The vehicles joining the Northgate Vehicle Hire fleet this month include: Ford Transits; Mercedes-Benz Sprinters; Volkswagen Caddy's; Peugeot Partners and Vauxhall Astravans. In addition, the new deliveries include models from the Audi, BMW, Iveco, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan and SEAT ranges.

The new vehicles are all powered by the very latest engine technology which means first-class MPG and low carbon dioxide emissions - both key requirements for fleet customers.

Additionally, new vehicles are more reliable and require less maintenance than older vehicles and, alongside improved fuel economy that translates into reduced operating costs for customers.

A further feature of the new vehicles is that they are fitted with the very latest safety equipment, which is crucial for fleet operators as they continually look to comply with occupational road risk management best practice.

Northgate Vehicle Hire Purchasing Manager, Ken Rayner said: "The continuous investment in new vehicles throughout 2010 underlines our commitments and gives the company a significant competitive edge over our rivals in terms of being able to respond to customer requirements.

"Our new '60' plate vehicles that are already out on the road with customers have either joined the fleets of new clients or have replaced vehicles operated by existing clients which we have defleeted."

He added: "As well as the operational benefits of running new vehicles, our business customers are also very conscious of portraying the 'right' image to their clients. Organisations like to be associated with other successful businesses and operating smart new vehicles is one way of achieving that recognition."

The addition of thousands of new '60' plate vehicles to the Northgate Vehicle Hire fleet in the final third of 2010 follows the recent completion of a total rebranding of the business from a network of 20 local individual brands to the creation of one national brand.

Northgate's strategy is also fuelled by its belief that an increasing number of companies will turn to the flexibility of its Norflex non-contract financial offering rather than using their own cash to buy fleet vehicles or commit to a three to five-year leasing agreement.

Sales and Marketing Director, Gareth Jones said: "We believe that companies want to manage risk and retain a degree of flexibility and that all points to our Norflex service, where cars and vans can be hired or handed back without penalty according to business demand."

He added: "The network changes are already delivering higher levels of brand awareness and increasing demand for vehicles both from our corporate and retail customers. The addition of new vehicles to the fleet will further leverage that awareness as they are seen out on the UK's roads."

Vans

A range of new Northgate Vehicle Hire 60 plate vehicles.

September 2010 - NORTHGATE REBRANDS TO RAISE PROFILE AND BOOST BUSINESS

Northgate, the UK's largest vehicle hire company, has rebranded its entire network as Northgate Vehicle Hire.

Northgate has moved from a network of 20 local individual brands to the creation of one national brand, Northgate Vehicle Hire which is now operating as 12 business areas with more than 60 sites, covering the UK and Ireland

A large part of the 60,000-strong fleet of mainly light commercial vehicles will now carry the Northgate Vehicle Hire branding making it the third largest liveried fleet in the UK after BT and Royal Mail. The remaining part of the fleet is typically branded by long-term hirers with their own corporate livery.

The rebranding of the business to Northgate Vehicle Hire has now been completed with new signage across more than 60 locations, new vehicle livery on thousands of vehicles and the development and launch of a new website with online booking facilities.

Marketing Director, Ross Clarkson said: "These changes are already delivering higher levels of brand awareness and increasing demand for vehicles both from our corporate and retail customers. We have also experienced higher levels of website traffic to www.northgatevehiclehire.co.uk. The rebranding to Northgate is being supported by the implementation of a single set of best practice processes offering customers more consistent levels of customer service."

"Northgate has long been the market leader in the UK and the move will enable the company to further improve its customer service and business efficiency."

Mr Clarkson continued: "We want to build further on the company's reputation and leverage further value from the Northgate brand as the industry leader which pioneered the development of flexible vehicle hire."

Northgate's expansion to become the UK's leader in vehicle hire has been built on the local provision of service to SMEs, which the company says remains a fundamental part of its business model going forward.

Van

For further information contact:

Ashley Martin (telephone 01733 390691) or Arthur Dalziel (0121 445 6633)

AWD Communications Ltd.

Ross Clarkson, marketing director, Northgate Vehicle Hire, on 01325 467558 or 07850 588721 or ross.clarkson@northgateplc.com

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