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travel and the wellbeing of their travellers. “A company might pay more for a basic

rental but that car will have a better engine and use less fuel so it’ll the tick the box environmentally. Employees are spending more and more time away from home so employers need to look after them,” says McLoughlin. Does that mean that fleet managers will

become dinosaurs? “I’d better be careful what I say,” he cautions, predicting that, “They won’t die but they’ll be less involved with business travel and more involved directly with car manufacturers and leasing companies.” While not quite sounding the death knell for

fleet managers, he certainly is when it comes to grey fleet – something that's no longer viable since duty of care regulations put the burden of checking that vehicles are fit for purpose squarely on employers’ shoulders. He believes that car rental and car share

has a big part to play in a managed travel programme, as the average age of a Sixt car is six months. Not only that, but car sharing will also help take more private cars off the road as, according to Transport for London, every car club vehicle on the road takes 20 private cars off the road. McLoughlin is quick to proffer the facts on

comparative costs of car ownership versus car share (sourced from the AA), stating that an average car-owning Londoner spends £750 a month and only drives for 30 hours, working out at £25 per hour. That figure reduces dramatically to less than £11 per hour when using Sixt’s car sharing scheme, DriveNow, more of which later. McLoughlin’s big picture is firmly anchored

in mobility, taking more cars off the road and changing the perception of car sharing, something he knows about first hand from the US-based sustainable transport consultancy, VPSI he worked for. McLoughlin’s career has been steeped in cars

for the last decade but he’s the first to admit that he’s not a 'car person' at all. “I’m not a typical petrol head,” he says. Sport and food are in fact his two passions. He was formerly a full back for London Irish and keeps up with the game as an avid supporter of Irish rugby, as well as following Manchester United and holding a mean golf handicap of five. He began his career in hospitality, working

in private catering in major banks and soon found himself as Head of Facilities at Ernst & Young. He followed this with a Masters in Facilities (“which they paid for, which was great”) but on turning 30 decided to return to his native Ireland. A job consulting on property for Savills caught

the attention of US-based consultancy VPSI and he was soon bound for the consultancy role across the pond. “I’ve always been passionate about sport and food so I turned that passion to mobility.

They’re things that make a difference,” he says. Reducing CO2

is a big push for him and

while he applauds the changing habits of the average car user, he is also cognisant that all they’re really doing is using car sharing as self-service car rental. Sixt has come up with a solution called

DriveNow, a 50 per cent joint venture with BMW, which he promises, is “the next generation of car sharing”. The key differences are

that it’s one-way – so users drive to their destination and leave the car there – and they only pay for the time used, akin to a self- drive taxi or Boris Bikes. The cost is less than £11/¤13.80 an hour and gives people great BMW vehicles without the hassle of ownership. The second difference is the technology inside the car. Driver profiles are incorporated into the settings and will immediately switch the radio to the preferred station and the driver’s seat to the correct angle. “So it feels like your car,” says McLoughlin. A screen also shows how long it is to the destination and the estimated cost, and will even guide the driver to the nearest parking space. “It’s way more sophisticated than anything

He also wants cities to wake up to these

transport alternatives and to incentivise people to use public transport. “Nobody’s got it right but London has a great public transport scheme in place and car ownership is less than 50 per cent so already a captive audience. In Manchester it’s higher so they would need to put more carrots in place. Edinburgh has no underground system but it has trams in place.” His move to the US in

“DriveNow is all about convenience as you don’t have to

book it. If you see a car in the street you just get into it”

2006 to VPSI came out of a scheme he was working on to ease congestion in Dublin, utilising high occupancy vehicle lanes and car sharing, and developing technology that would match people up. From there McLoughlin moved to Zip Car, one

of the early car club schemes, as European general manager of the company, launching the brand across Europe and introducing it to London. “It was a funky brand, hip and irreverent,” he says. The demographics were surprising: 24-40 year-old users, University educated and earning more than £30,000pa so they could afford to buy a car. When it merged with Streetcar three and a

out there and it complements car hire. DriveNow is all about convenience as you don’t have to book it. If you see a car in the street you just get into it,” says McLoughlin. Launched in Germany across three cities last

year (Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt) and in two more before the end of 2012, DriveNow will have its debut in London – and other major UK cities – next year. But the UK capital will pose challenges, not least in having to secure parking spaces with 32 different boroughs. Sixt is taking it slowly, attempting to negotiate

with six neighbouring central boroughs initially and launching a hybrid within one borough. McLoughlin says it will relieve parking spaces

for residents, give more space for visitors who will pay for parking, tackle congestion and complement its car rental product. “Every time we put a Sixt rental car on the road, six private vehicles come off the road, according to the BVRLA,” quotes McLoughlin. He’s wise enough to know that users aren’t doing it for green reasons. “It’s a savvy choice as you save money,” he says. The take-up in Germany has been phenomenal, with 50,000 members each paying a one-off membership fee of ¤29 and using the service on average twice a month and with an average use of 30 minutes each time. “It’s part of a mobility mix; they might also

use car rental,” says McLoughlin. “Car-sharing membership is stagnating so this offers more choices – a solution for a day or half an hour.”

half years later, he was off again, and landed an interim role setting up an electric vehicle charging company. The German car hire company Sixt followed;

a calculated move as at this point in his career, there were probably only a few car hire companies that he was interested in joining. Sixt fitted comfortably for its strategy of trying to change people’s perceptions of car rental. Being a family-owned business – there is still a Mr Sixt holding the reins – was another deciding factor as the company could be nimble. “I work for the decision maker, Erich Sixt,”

McLoughlin explains. “It’s a ¤1.7billion revenue company, the largest car rental company within Europe – with a 40 per cent market share in Germany – and one of the most profitable in the world.” While he wanted to go into an organisation

on the up, and one with an ethos of no bureaucracy, he’s also aware of the fact that, in the UK, the brand has stagnated. “I see myself as an underdog in the UK," he says. But that’s all set to change as Sixt launches DriveNow alongside its existing flexible rental, car share and chauffeur drive products. He also has robust expansion plans for the company in London and in other major UK cities. “It’s a premium provider. Sixt is BMW's biggest customer and we’re unique. We’re trying to be something different,” he says. Watch this space. McLoughlin means to change the use of car travel around major cities in order to control pollution, noise and the number of cars jamming our roads. Hoorah to that!


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