The total UK business fleet leasing market for cars and vans has grown 2.5% year-on-year to 1,338,000, according to new research from the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA).
Its quarterly leasing survey for Q3 2017 shows that the car portion of the business fleet leasing market (covering contract hire and finance lease only) fell 0.3% to 964,000 year-on-year, but the LCV sector had its ninth consecutive quarterly increase, up by 10.3% year-on-year to 374,000 vehicles.
Total car leasing (all leasing types) grew by 6% year-on-year, down from 11% in Q1 2017.
Much of this growth continues to be driven by the personal contract hire (PCH) segment, although growth rates have slowed in 2017, down from 49% annual growth in 2016 to 28%.
The proportion of diesel cars in the BVRLA fleet remains relatively static at 74.1% in Q3 2017, down marginally by 0.8% quarter-on-quarter.
However, the proportion of diesel cars in new registrations fell by nearly five percentage points, from 68.1% to 63.4%.
The shift away from diesel is predominantly seeing a move towards petrol cars, which now represent 20.4% of the total car fleet and nearly a third of new registrations among members.
BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney said: “We currently have a poorly designed tax environment that encourages people to make their own arrangements rather than choosing a company car. This is putting older, higher-polluting grey fleet vehicles on our roads.
“To this we can add the demonising of diesels and continued uncertainty around air quality measures, which is nudging people towards petrol cars. The inevitable result is that we are seeing CO2 levels increasing.”
Average CO2 figures for newly registered BVRLA member lease cars show an upward trajectory, with CO2 emissions up 0.9% in Q3 2017 compared to the same period in 2016 (110.7g/km).
Keaney added: “With the right tax regime, incentives and government communication, the fleet industry can have a huge impact on improving air quality across the country.
“BVRLA fleets are on average 8% cleaner than the national average and our members are ready to advise and provide individuals and businesses with the cleanest and most suitable cost-effective solution to best meet their needs.”