The number of vehicles on BVRLA members’ leasing fleets has reached the highest level seen since 2017.

The rental and leasing industry body’s latest Leasing Outlook Report reveals the total is now above 1.9 million vehicles, thanks in part to a 4.8% year-on-year increase in the size of the business contract hire car fleet.

There has also been a very strong increase in demand for salary sacrifice cars – up by 68%.

Together with a 3.3% increase in the size of the van fleet, these have more than offset an 8.6% decline in the size of the personal contract hire car fleet.

The BVRLA has also reported strong demand for EVs, with these accounting for 42% of new additions to the fleet in the third quarter of 2023 – a figure which rises to 47% for the business contract hire fleet.

The BVRLA said the overall fleet growth and EV transition had been facilitated by the return of vehicle supply and easing of delivery lead times. However, it said these improvement had come with a ‘perfect storm’ of parts delays and a technician shortage, combining to increase downtime for SMR work.

BVRLA director of corporate affairs Toby Poston said: “Stability and certainty breed growth, and the leasing sector is reaping these benefits when it comes to vehicle supply and BIK tax.

“As ever, a more detailed analysis shows that some motor finance products are doing better than others, while new supply chain challenges continue to appear. 

“The BVRLA will continue to work with policymakers and colleagues from across the automotive industry to try and deliver positive market momentum across all segments.”