Van demand slows among builders

Date: Friday, October 24, 2008

Customers in the building trade are slashing their demand for vans as the full force of the credit crunch makes its presence felt.

 

“They're definitely feeling the pressure,” says Mark Lovett, commercial vehicle director at leasing and contract hire giant Lex Corporate. “Van deals are either being put on the back burner or cancelled completely.”

It's not all bad news however, he stresses. “We are still doing business with people in the service industries, and in some cases business is growing,” he reports. “Companies involved in major construction projects such as building the facilities for the 2012 Olympics as opposed to housing aren't cutting back and there is no cutting back by the public sector either.”

Lex Corporate
's parent is HBOS, due to be acquired by Lloyds TSB — which also happens to own van lessor Autolease — at the time of writing. So are Lovett and his colleagues short of funding??
“That's not something we're suffering from at the moment,” he replies. “However we're looking a lot more closely at the trading forecasts produced by prospective customers in order to minimise our exposure to risk.”

There's growing interest among clients in sale and leaseback deals and in lease extensions, says the former Renault and Nissan executive. He's also finding that customers are eager for advice on how to make their operation more efficient and how to make it more environmentally-friendly.

Lex Corporate has around 40,000 vans out on contract hire or under management.

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