After winning a competitive tender, ALD Automotive will work with Mazda dealers and its four regionally-based business development managers to further support franchises in maximising local business opportunities in their respective areas.

The new partnership kicks off this month and ends a seven-year partnership with Lex Vehicle Leasing, now known as Lex Autolease following the Lloyds/HBOS merger. However Lex Autolease will continue to manage out all existing agreements with Mazda Contract Hire.

Mazda fleet and remarketing director Steve Jelliss said: 'We have a desire to grow Mazda Contract Hire volumes and believe that this collaboration with ALD Automotive will achieve our ambitions.

'The imaginative and creative approach that Mazda is adopting, particularly to the SME fleet sector through our Business Development Programme, which was officially launched 12 months ago with the appointment of the development managers, is matched by ALD Automotive.'

Jelliss added: 'Mazda has a growing presence in the UK market - particularly in the contract hire and SME sectors - and the ability of our franchised dealer network to work with their team to offer customers a vehicle leasing opportunity with budgeted monthly motoring costs will, we believe, further increase sales.'