Commercial vehicle rental providers are reporting that the length of the average van hire is increasing rapidly.
GE-owned company, TLS Vehicle Rental, which has an LCV fleet of 18,000 vehicles, said more of its customers are viewing rental as a longer-term means of acquiring the vehicle they need.
Carl D'Ammassa, chief operating officer at TLS, which is a division of GE Capital Solutions, said: “Tough economic times bring into sharp focus one of the key benefits of renting – there is no long term financial commitment.
"You can hand back the vehicle at any time.
“With the general loss in economic confidence, this is very attractive to many businesses.
"They are unsure what the next few months will bring and so don’t want to sign up to a three-year lease or commit to buying a vehicle at the moment.”
The trend has also been seen at Northgate, the country’s largest LCV rental provider.
While it confirmed that it is experiencing a higher rate of churn – an upturn in the number of vehicles being returned – it is also experiencing a greater number of longer-term LCV rentals.
“We are seeing companies that would have outright purchased their vehicles coming to us attracted by our flexible rental,” said marketing director, Ross Clarkson.
“These companies are no longer confident about risk of ownership and many also cannot secure credit for vehicle purchases.
"For them the answer is often rental.”