A 24% surge in personal leasing helped the sector remain ahead in declining new car market.
SMMT figures showed a 7% drop in new car sales last year, but sales in the leasing sector fell by just 4%, says the BVRLA.
These figures have been delivered against a backdrop of growing economic uncertainty, with both the CBI and BVRLA business confidence indicators hitting their lowest point since Q2 2016, the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum.
“The leasing market is holding up well compared to the wider new car market, largely thanks to strong demand for personal leasing,” said BVRLA chief executive, Gerry Keaney.
The survey shows that a 24% uplift in the personal contract hire fleet between Q4 2017 and the same period of 2018 helped offset an 11% drop in business fleet leasing.
Keaney added: “This backs up the findings of our recent Industry Outlook Report, which said that BVRLA members were adapting to the prevailing business conditions, finding new customers and routes to market.”
Elsewhere in the survey is further evidence of a substantial shift in fuel type as new registrations of petrol cars overtook diesel for the first time. This change in fuel mix is also combining with the introduction of WLTP-tested vehicles to drive an increase in CO2 emissions. Average emissions for the BVRLA member car fleet have risen to 113.2g/km CO2, while for new registrations it has jumped to 118g/km.
“This continuing rise in average emissions is the price we are paying for diesel demonization and the government’s misaligned and contradictory taxation and environmental policies,” said Keaney.
“It is vital that the fleet industry continues to work together in urging the Chancellor to provide a company car tax regime that is fit-for-purpose and incentivises the uptake of cleaner vehicles.”