The top 20 kings of leasing
07 February 2007
In our annual chart listing the leasing industry's big players, the big story is that Lex growth means we're seeing the dawn of the 'Superleasor'
Last year was yet another dramatic year in the history of the leasing industry, seeing high-profile buy-outs, massive consolidation and major growth from the key players in an attempt to carve out a larger share of the lucrative corporate leasing sector.
Casting your eye on the upper half of our illustrious list (click on the downloadable PDF right) reveals few surprises, with the first five firms holding fast, but look that little bit closer and you will find a monumental shift in the dynamic of our list.
In simple, blunt terms, Lex owned 2006 and the impact of some of the firm's decisions will be felt for years to come and will reshape the very industry in which it operates.
Last year saw the leasing giant break away from the pack with quite frankly astonishing growth that saw the number of vehicles it leases rocket by more than 125,000 vehicles, to in excess of a quarter of a million. Behold, the birth of the 'Superleasor'.
The massive fleet increase was thanks to the marriage of Lex Vehicle Leasing and Bank of Scotland Vehicle Finance. Following the successful amalgamation the leasing behemoth underwent a rebranding that saw the 'Vehicle Leasing' dropped from the name, highlighting both the current wide scope of the business and future aspirations.
Almost on cue and a sign of huge paternal pride, parent company HBOS snapped up the other half of Lex ownership from Aviva.
After the excitement of last year don't expect Lex to be spend 2007 resting on its laurels.
Mergers and amalgamation were very much the order of the day last year as other companies desperately combined to boost purchasing power.
GE Fleet Services bought Custom Fleet, increasing its fleet size from 54,000 to 68,000 vehicles, while ING Car Lease shot up the chart to the number 12 spot following a shopping spree that saw the purchase of Appleyard Vehicle Contracts.
Pendragon doubled its size by purchasing Vardy Contract Motoring. Leasedrive, however, took a different approach by opting for the merger route, doubling its fleet size and purchasing power by joining with Velo and slipping into the final 20th spot.
Issues for 2007
The industry voted unanimously that duty of care - an as ever-looming threat to the leasing industry and company's alike - and green issues will be at the forefront of customers and industry concerns.
"Hopefully 2007 will be the year people stop talking about risk and start taking more action - with or without legislation," says a Masterlease spokesperson.
"The environment will remain the biggest issue in 2007," adds a Lombard spokesperson. "Eco concern is becoming integrated into corporate strategy and companies will want to limit their carbon footprints."
Finally, the uncertainty of how the HM Revenue & Customs will treat Employee Car Ownership (ECO) schemes has also crept into leasing's collective worry bank for 2007 with fears they will be hit hard by the Chancellor at the next budget.