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Leasing market stabilises as economic fears remain

Date: 18 October 2011   |   Author: Rachel Burgess

Signs the fleet industry is back on its feet after the credit crunch are starting to emerge with slight growth in the sector following a drop of 3.9% (or 57,000 vehicles) last year and 10% in 2009.

According to BusinessCar's annual BC50 report, which charts the state of the leasing industry, overall fleet numbers in leasing are up fractionally, by 0.7%.

While the economy falters, the latest BC50 shows encouraging potential despite many in the industry continuing to be cautious for the coming year.

The top 10 leasing firms stay the same with a minor reshuffle among them. Number one, Lex Autolease, continues to drop its fleet size as does Lombard Vehicle Management, while other big players such as Arval and ALD Automotive increase vehicles on risk. Alphabet, previously number 10, now sits at number six, and it is set to rise to number three next year after its acquisition of ING Car Leasing was recently confirmed.

Fleet expert David Rawlings from Business Car Finance said: "We are in very difficult times of uncertainty and low consumer confidence, the economy looks bleak and growth at best is minimal.

"However, cars remain fundamental to most businesses. Notwithstanding the increases in company car taxation from April, lower-emission vehicles are still a very tax-efficient benefit.

"History showed us that through the dark days of the 1970s when income tax was high and tax on benefits was low, employers moved to giving company cars and second cars as a benefit - not far from where we find ourselves today with the re-emergence of salary sacrifice."

He added that, without doubt, 2012 will be difficult. "But smart employers will continue to review and manage costs, they will seek out creative ways of rewarding and retaining the best staff and when the economy turns will be well-placed to capitalise on the renewed market," he said.

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