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The UK's top 20 leasing firms

Date: 12 March 2008

Find out who are the biggest leasing companies in the country. Tom Webster reports

Little has changed in the table of the UK's top 20 leasing companies over the past 12 months, but no news may not be good news.

We spoke to Jon Walden, the managing director at Lex, which emerged as the company with the largest fleet once again, and asked him about his predictions for 2008.

"The external market will get tougher, in particular due to the famed credit crunch. We're already seeing a softening in the housing market and the new car market, and at the start of this year we're seeing the used car market soften too," said Walden. "People are spending less, and in basic terms we sell big ticket item, so our market is bound to get caught in this.

"We're due a recession and I believe there will be one, but not a huge one."

If one does come along as Walden predicts, the next 12 months will be very interesting indeed. An economic slowdown may well affect the big leasing companies, further placing the emphasis on quality of service offered.

Tellingly, there were no major acquisitions in the top 20, unlike 2006 when ING Car Lease purchased Appleyard Vehicle Contracts to treble in size and rocket up the table.

With such little movement this year, we asked Walden whether anyone would ever catch up with Lex in terms of size?

"It's hard to say. It's certainly possible. A few years ago we were number five, now we're number one," he replied. "We don't have a plan to be the biggest, we have a plan to be the best. Being the biggest doesn't get me out of bed in the morning, being the best does."