Operational leasing accounted for 7% of the company car fleet across the five leading markets of Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Croatia in 2003 and this is expected to grow to more than 13% in 2008.
The prediction comes from results in the Eastern European Fleet Markets Database 2004 produced by independent market analyst Datamonitor. It believes that the growth of operational leasing in Western Europe will mainly come from customers switching funding supplier rather than from new business.
This is prompting suppliers to investigate new markets with LeasePlan, ALD Automotive and Arval leading the way. Others are expected to follow. Datamonitor fleet analyst Zafar Currimbhoy said: 'Companies are targeting the Eastern European region not only as a consumer market in which to sell products but also as a producer base to manufacture goods more cheaply.'