The Mercedes C-Class, Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 are the only cars to have retained their position in the top ten contract hire market compared to a decade ago, new research shows.
According to data released by the UK’s leading online marketplace for car leasing deals, ContractHireAndLeasing.com, a radical shift in the most popular contract hire cars in the last ten years has seen smaller vehicles displace larger vehicles and more traditional executive models.
The 2004 list of the most searched-for business and personal leasing cars featured two Saab models, the Land Rover Discovery, BMW 5 Series, BMW X5, BMW X3 and Audi A4.
The collapse of Saab has naturally seen the 9-3 vanish from the 2014 list, but there is also a notable shift to more compact, fuel efficient models.
Top models based on searches on the website between January 2014 and the end of June 2014 include the Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1 Series, Nissan Qashqai, Ford Fiesta and Range Rover Evoque.
The Ford Fiesta – Britain’s top-selling car over the last few years and a clear favourite with car buyers – is also now one of the UK’s top contract hire cars too. Data from the website searches suggests that the entry of models like the Ford Fiesta and Nissan Qashqai into the top searches has been driven by personal leasing customers*.
The Mercedes C-Class tops the searches so far in 2014, moving up from eighth place in 2004.
German brands have had a tiny hiccup in the last decade; they now claim seven of the ten top search places, compared to eight in 2004.
Launched in 2000, ContractHireAndLeasing.com was just four years old in 2004, and the website too has grown and developed in the subsequent ten years to the point where it now advertises more than a million car and van leasing deals each month.
Dave Timmis, Managing Director of ContractHireAndLeasing.com, said: “We seen a shift in the size of the typical car searched for on the website over the last ten years, as consumers look for vehicles which are tax and fuel efficient.
“New entries such as like the Nissan Qashqai and Ford Fiesta suggests that leasing customers are increasingly looking for vehicles which than are practical and cheaper to run,” he adds.