A low start point of just 46,000 vehicles helps to explain the 'meteoric' rise in finance leasing, alongside specialist finance lease companies joining the BVRLA during 1998, according to the association's 1999 Industry Review. But the impressive expansion of fleet management is on an altogether wider scale, accounting for an extra 139,901 vehicles during 1998, which took its total business volume to 583,155 among BVRLA members.
Contract hire now accounts for 939,436 units on the BVRLA's collective fleet, and is expected to breach the one million threshold in the very near future. It has also become the leading service offered by the rental and leasing companies within the BVRLA, with 62% of the membership now offering contract hire, compared to 55% offering daily rental.
'The advantages of contract hire for companies, particularly in a time of economic downturn - which was very much the case in 1998 - are overwhelming and more companies undoubtedly took a hard look at their vehicle funding options,' said the report. 'With its removal of risk on both residual value and maintenance and its off balance sheet financing, contract hire can only continue to gain converts in the long term.'