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10% of the 1,500 businesses asked in the Business in Britain report, planned to invest in  new company vehicles

A SURGE in confidence among SME fleet operators is set to ignite investment in new company vehicles, according to research from leasing provider Lex Autolease.

Its survey canvassed the views of 1,500 businesses as part of the twice-yearly Business in Britain report and found that half of all management teams plan to raise money before the end of the year to support growth ambitions.

About 10% of those intending to bring in new capital identified company vehicles as a priority, meaning that an estimated 5% of all businesses are set to invest in transport assets.

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Andrew Hogsden, senior manager, strategic fleet consultancy at Lex Autolease, said: “Improved trading conditions are helping management teams to look ‘above-the-parapet’ and raise capital to invest in their businesses.

“It is encouraging that new company vehicles, which we see as a barometer for long-term market confidence, are back on their agenda.

“Businesses are becoming increasingly savvy in choosing the right vehicles but also their role in staff attraction and retention and understanding how they can be financed.

While some will still prefer to buy outright, we expect company bosses to explore their leasing options to best manage costs and cash-flow, while accessing the vehicles they need to grow.”

Buying new plant and machinery was the highest priority for businesses, selected by 40% of respondents, and just over 33% selected marketing activities as the beneficiary of any funds raised.

Nearly 25% of respondents are considering investing in overseas expansion and research and development activity, while 12% would use the funding to develop a new training programme.

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