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Addison Lee acquires Camden-based rival Cyclone VIP to drive Uber off the road

3 min read

17 April 2015

Former deputy editor

Car service Addison Lee has acquired Camden-based rival Cyclone VIP Cars & Couriers to compete against Uber by bolstering its fleet of private hire vehicles to dominate the sector across London.

Cyclone launched in 1985, ten years after Addison Lee, and today counts 100 drivers on its books who service “premium corporate clients” across the capital.

The company claims to specialise in events including award shows and TV production shoots, with the fleet comprising Mercedes Benz E Class and S Class vehicles to manage the glamour and people carriers Ford Galaxy and VW Sharan to support crew and equipment.

Meanwhile, the courier division comprises pushbikes, motorcycles and vans – again demonstrating a cohesion with Addison. Cyclone also houses what it calls a “mobile office”, which comes complete with table, WiFi, PC, printer, scanner and four charging stations.

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Liam Griffin, CEO of Addison Lee, said:“We are very pleased to announce Addison Lee’s acquisition of Cyclone – a company that, like ourselves, prides itself on offering customers a premium service alongside assured performance.

“Following the launch of Addison Lee Eco and rollout of complimentary 4G WiFi across our fleet this acquisition further demonstrates our continued investment to deliver best-in-class experiences for our customers.”

The financial details haven’t been disclosed, although the buyout marks the ninth in five years for Addison. It’s a significant move, one that follows comments from the company that it is “excited to lock horns” with much publicised American rival Uber.

While Uber is often referred to as a tech firm, Addison has made key technological investments of its own over the years.

It revealed in March that its on-demand booking apps will be enhanced to support the Apple Watch when it launches on 24 April, which follows on from the six-figure Cool, Calm and Collected advertising and product development campaign launched in October.

“By refreshing our marketing strategy and updating our digital channels, we can continue to provide a stand-out customer journey from beginning to end,” Addison’s chief commercial officer Peter Boucher explained.

The British business has also expanded its international footprint by pushing into £2.2bn taxi market New York in March.

At the time, Griffin said: “After London, New York is the world’s next biggest taxi market, so it seemed like a natural step for us as Europe’s largest minicab firm. We already have a great number of existing corporate clients in New York, so demand is already there and it’s an opportunity with real scale.”