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Employee car ownership schemes due to come back into fashion

Date: 15 June 2010

Zenith Provecta is predicting a return in popularity for employee car ownerships in April 2012 because of changes to the benefit-in-kind tax band.

Group development director Nick Sutton said ECO scheme interest had slowed but goes in "waves" - for example, when the tax band tightens again in April 2012, Sutton expects to see a rise in uptake. He admitted the financial benefits of ECO schemes is not as strong as it used to be thanks to manufacturers producing more CO2-efficient vehicles. However, Sutton thinks such programmes will always be around: "We are committed to it as an organisation."

The company's growth sector continues to be salary sacrifice schemes, which are expected to make up a third of its business in the future. At the moment, sal-sac accounts for around 8% of Zenith's 28,000-strong fleet - compared with ECO schemes, which currently take up around 30%. Sutton added that sal-sac is set to grow: 70% of Zenith's inbound calls are regarding such programmes. Last year, from these customer enquiries, 80% took up sal-sac. But this pace has now slowed, which Sutton attributes to increased competition - players such as Leaseplan and Venson are among those to have launched similar schemes this year.