He predicted that 12 firms outside the top 50 would be catapulted into the 'big league' through acquisitions by much larger rivals. His personal hit list for possible buyers and sellers in the near future included ARVAL PHH, Hertz Lease, Lex Vehicle Leasing, Lloyds TSB autolease, debis Car Fleet Management, Powermarque and VELO. His comments follow a year in which the leasing industry saw record consolidation, with acquisitions and mergers at an unprecedented level.
His prediction was backed by Rael Winetroube, sales director of debis Car Fleet Management, who said: 'We will see an unprecedented level of consolidation in the sector.' Last year, debis Car Fleet Management revealed plans to more than double in size in three years, to a fleet size of 63,700 vehicles by 2002. First National Vehicle Holdings said it could see its fleet size reach 160,000. LeasePlan became the first fleet to break the 100,000 vehicle barrier last year in the FN Top 50 list of the country's largest contract hire firms, following its acquisition of Dial.