Lex Autolease capped a strong performance in the first half of 2014 by reporting 17% growth in new fleet deliveries in the first six months of the year compared to the same period last year, adding almost 10,000 new vehicles to its fleet since December 2013.
The leasing giant, which is part of Lloyds Banking Group, increased the size of its fleet from nearly 280,000 vehicles to almost 290,000 units in the six months to June 30 – a rise of approximately 5% year on year.
A key factor behind the growth has been the performance of the light commercial vehicle division including investment in new product development such as ‘Driveaways’ – a range of purpose-built vans designed specifically for professional trades persons.
During the first half of the year Lex Autolease enhanced its capabilities with the opening of a new multi-million pound site in Coventry.
The purpose-built facility will manage the process of de-fleeting more than 70,000 vehicles each year that are returned to the company following the end of their leasing agreement which are then sold to the general public.
The company is also targeting further growth in the large corporate segment after securing a number of significant corporate fleet contracts over the last 12 months.
Tim Porter (pictured), managing director at Lex Autolease, said: “Our key growth objective is to add 100,000 vehicles to the fleet during the course of the next five years.
“To achieve this target we will continue to make investments across the business to enhance our product and service capabilities.
“Much of the growth this year has been driven by commercial vehicles. This segment is a good indicator of the health of the wider economy and we expect to see further progress in this area as business confidence continues to rise.
“The SME market also offers significant growth opportunities. Our research indicates that three quarters of small businesses prefer to buy vehicles outright rather than lease.
“Lex Autolease, and the industry as a whole, needs to do more to educate these small firms on the benefits of leasing.
“By choosing to lock their capital into depreciating assets rather than investing in their business they risk missing out on the growth opportunities presented by the recovering economy.”
Porter added: “As a key part of Lloyds Banking Group we are fully committed to the Group’s helping Britain prosper strategy.
“In practical terms this means providing businesses of all size with the products, services and fleet expertise needed to support their growth ambitions.”