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Business servicesManufacturer newsFleetprofileFunding methodsNewsdigestCarRecruitmentreviewsVehicle acquisition Leasing v outright purchaseContract hire or outright purchase? Fleets decide.Ford claims a rise in leasing, although many fleets prefer to buy to mitigate risk and save money By Louise ColeThe key to effective vehicle acquisition is procure-ment might - quantity of vehicles is undoubtedly one of the strongest factors affecting price, whether you are leasing or buying outright. Police forces work collaboratively through the National Police Improvement Agency to purchase or lease vehicles en masse to ensure best value. Most outright purchase for the bulk of their fleet due to the arduous nature of the work and the uncertainty about whether vehicles like pursuit cars will make it through to end of life.However, across fleet there is a growing trend towards contract hire for both cars and vans. Ian Tillbrook, managing director at ING Car Lease, says around half of company cars and vans are currently outright or hire purchased. But he is seeing a clear move towards leasing, partly fuelled by a moved away from cash allowance schemes."We are seeing a large return from cash schemes back to contract hire," he says. "The hassle factor, cost of running a car and Duty of Care of the employer is behind this trend."According to Ford, 62% of corporate car and 71% of van purchases were via contract hire last year. "We have seen a trend in the increase of contract hire and leasing over the last decade," said a Ford spokesman."This has been driven by companies taking the cost off balance sheet to free up cash, the cost of money, better economies of scale and outsourcing of fleet management expertise." Leasing costs can be deducted straight from the bottom line, where capital expenditure must be written down over time. This may change if EU discussions about putting leased assets on to to the balance sheet ever appear as law.Royal Mail Group has 36,000 vehicles, including 31,000 LCVs, which run across its UK businesses. A spokesman said: "About half of our vehicles are Continues over'At present, our preferred method is finance leasing but we constantly review our options to ensure best value for money'Royal Mail spokesmanRoyal Mail owns outright about half of its vehicles

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