This is according to an analysis of the latest Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) figures by commercial vehicle finance specialists Alliance & Leicester Commercial Finance.
Willie Paterson, head of commercial vehicles at Alliance and Leicester Commercial Finance, said: 'The commercial vehicle market is growing at a strong rate each year and the latest industry figures* reveal that it is the light commercial vehicle sector which has experienced the most growth during 2004. The FLA figures reveal that in the sector, hire purchase continued to be the most popular finance choice.
The FLA figures also showed that operating lease funding experienced the most growth by funding type, with a 20% increase in 2004 compared to 2003.
'Operating lease is a finance option which is flexible to the needs of a business, and Alliance & Leicester Commercial Finance has certainly seen a rise in the number of requests for this type of funding. This rise is also a result of the limited number of finance companies providing this form of funding due to the specialist nature of the product. This type of funding is particularly popular because the asset is off the balance sheet which in turn brings a range of associated benefits to a business.'
The findings from the FLA are supported by the most recent statistics from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). These statistics show that the UK commercial vehicle market has benefited from continued growth over the last four to five years.