§ Mr. Spellar
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to make an announcement for the white vehicles contract for use in Germany; which companies have been invited to tender; what is the estimated value of the order; and what efforts are being made to maximise the British-built content in the order. 
§ Mr. Arbuthnot
I expect to announce my decision on the outcome of the competition for the provision, management and maintenance of non-operational vehicles for the British forces in Germany early in the new year. After an expressions of interest campaign, six companies were sent an invitation to tender. These were:
- ALD AutoLeasing D GmbH
- Leaseplan Deutschland GmbH
- Lombard Leasing GmbH
- Mercedes Benz AG
- PHH Europe plc
- Ryder plc.
ALD AutoLeasing D GmbH withdrew during the tender period, while PHH Europe plc declined to tender but decided to act as a sub-contractor to Ryder plc. Consequently, tenders were received from Leaseplan Deutschland GmbH, Lombard Leasing GmbH—a member of the NatWest group—in a joint venture with Sixt AG, Mercedes Benz AG and Ryder plc/PHH Europe plc.
The procedures used in the market test followed the guidelines laid out in the "Guide to Competing for Quality in Defence Services". This meant that both the statement of requirement and the invitation to tender which were drawn up specified the level of service required but not how it was to be delivered. No pre-set level of British content was sought; indeed the vehicle industry tends to be multinational in nature and seemingly "British" vehicles may, in fact, contain a high level of components purchased from other countries.104W
The final decision on the market test has not yet been made and, given the need for commercial and contract confidentiality, it would be inappropriate to state what the estimated value of the contract will be. Finally, the criteria for the selection of the winning bid is based on best value for money, which includes technical and commercial competence, and tenders will be assessed accordingly.