Outright purchase still most popular with SMEs
Out of 1,317 fleet managers with fleets ranging from 1-200 units interviewed by MIB Data Solutions – which produces the Prospecting Fleet Data and Fleet Entire industry databases – a total of 1,163 purchase vehicles while 685 use some form of leasing and 259 do both.
MIB managing director Nick Boddington explained that while several other surveys had shown leasing gaining ground across the fleet industry as a whole in the post-recession climate, the firm’s new research demonstrated that SMEs still largely preferred to buy.
He said: ‘There is no doubt that leasing has become a more popular part of the acquisition mix in recent years. It makes an increasing amount of sense for companies who want to preserve any cash reserves they hold, provides fixed costs and removes the considerable risk associated with future residual values.
‘However, in the SME sector, this snapshot research shows that outright purchase is still very much the most widely used acquisition method. In this part of the market, managers that often own and run their own business have traditionally liked to own their assets, and it appears that this is still very much the case with cars and vans.’
Boddington added that the research undertaken by MIB indicated that there was a fairly consistent relationship between fleet size and acquisition method.
He said: ‘If you look at the range of 0-200 vehicles, fleets that are the top end of the scale are much more likely to make some use of leasing than those with a handful of cars and vans. It could be that, the larger the fleet, the more likely they are to take a structured, methodical look at the acquisition method they use and, in the current climate, probably arrive at some form of leasing as the best outcome.’