Of 1317 fleet managers questioned, 1163 said they purchase their vans or cars, 685 opt for leasing and 259 do both. Fleet sizes ranged from one to 200 vehicles.

MIB boss Nick Boddington said that while leasing appeared to be gaining ground across the fleet industry overall following the recession, SMEs still preferred to buy.

“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 cash reserves, provides fixed costs and removes the considerable risk associated with residual values,” he said.

But in the SME sector, Boddington said the long-standing trend remained for company owners to also want to own their business’s assets.

He noted a consistent pattern between fleet size and acquisition method with fleets of nearer 200 vehicles more likely to make some use of leasing than those with just a handful of vehicles.