Watch out Uber? Addison Lee's investing £17m in 550 new Ford Galaxys

Rebecca Smith
The firm's investment will replace 12 per cent of its fleet
The firm's investment will replace 12 per cent of its fleet

Addison Lee is striking while the iron's hot.

It has just announced some hefty investment, plugging £17m into new cars, purchasing 550 Ford Galaxy people carriers, as it renews 12 per cent of its 5,000 strong fleet.

Earlier this year profits were down as it battled the rise of mobile challengers, like Uber. But with the ride-hailing app now appealing an employment tribunal ruling that said Uber drivers were not self-employed but entitled to workers' rights, it's made for handy timing for the private car hire firm.

Read more: Uber drivers are NOT self-employed, says employment tribunal

Catherine Faiers, Addison Lee's chief operating officer, said: "This £17m investment shows just how committed we are to investing in a quality experience for all of our passengers."

She added that it will provide "increased safety, comfort and efficiency" for the car service's customers.

The new cars will be the Ford Galaxy Zetec, fitted with smart sensors as well as Addison Lee's new driver app, that uses real-time traffic information to help assess the fastest route.

The investment marks part of Addison Lee's growth strategy, which also involves some international acquisitions and partnerships. In June it was revealed the company was buying rival Tristar.

Read more: Change to Addison Lee driver contracts boosts earnings

The firm, which aims to differentiate itself from the likes of Uber, by concentrating on premium, high-end services, said the investment also underlined its commitment to environmental technology. The new vehicles will exceed Euro standards and Transport for London's sustainability guidelines.

Addison Lee reported post-tax earnings for the year to August dipping to £11.6m - a drop of nearly two-thirds from £32.9m in the previous year, as the rise of mobile app upstarts proved challenging.

It was founded by London cabbie John Griffin in 1975, before being taken over by private equity giant Carlyle in 2013. The firm now serves 70 per cent of the FTSE 100 and has 15,000 B2B customers.

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