Rental firm Europcar has claimed the new WLTP emissions testing regime is responsible for a hike in demand for van hire.

The firm says it recorded an 11% increase in van rental in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with the third quarter.

Unlike for cars, where all new vehicles sold had to be WLTP-certified by September 2018, causing some supply delays, for vans this only applied to new model introductions, with sales across the board not affected until September 2019.

However, Europcar claims businesses were still uncertain about the impact of the change, which caused them to choose rental as a more flexible option.

Director of commercial vehicles Stuart Russell said: “Companies needed to keep the wheels of business moving and for many, vans are a big part of that. Also, for small businesses, tying up capital on replacing old vans through acquisition isn’t economically viable.

“Businesses still need transport options that can keep their operations moving and our short and long-term rental services provide not only the flexibility that businesses need but also access to the newest, cleanest commercial vehicles without the commitment of outright vehicle acquisition.

“And with the average length of hire during quarter four increasing by 5% compared to the rest of the year’s average it’s clear that rental is providing a vital stop-gap for many businesses.”