How has the leasing sector changed in the last quarter of 2022? Our Director Spencer Blake takes a look into the changes we’ve seen over the past three months, giving us his insight into what has prompted these changes and what we can expect in the upcoming quarter too.

Changes in the Leasing Sector at the End of 2022

Over the last quarter, since the start of October, we’ve seen some significant changes to the leasing sector. We’ve seen a softening across the industry with customers being more cautious with their spending choices, for a leasing broker like us that means that fewer customers are enquiring about getting a new car and when they do, they are considering the decision more thoroughly and so fewer are committing to a lease deal. This was to be expected as whenever there’s uncertainty in the economy it has a knock-on effect to consumer confidence and at the minute we’ve got the triple hit of a cost of living crisis, rising inflation and rising interest rates which we’ve definitely seen had an impact on consumer confidence.

We’ve also seen captive funders protecting the stock they are able to source and pushing it through their own finance arm with enhanced support and RVs for their funding which can make it difficult for other funders to compete.

Supply Remains the Biggest Challenge the Leasing Industry Faces

For the leasing industry vehicle supply has continued to be the biggest challenge that we face. In particular a lack of electric cars and vans as we are seeing more and more drivers looking towards electric vehicles (EVs) as the market shifts towards them in time for the 2030 ban on the sale of pollution emitting vehicles.  

Supply of vehicles has been a challenge throughout this year and for the previous year or so as well. This is a one of the long-term impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic has had and further circumstances such as the war in Ukraine, factory closures due to poor weather or fires.  

Lack of supply has fed into other challenges having a knock-on effect on deliveries and higher vehicle prices which are both existing challenges in the leasing sector that we are facing.

Stock Beginning to Come Back

While stock is still a challenge, we are seeing general improvement on the whole with lead times coming down from eight to 12 months a year ago to around five months now. The industry is gradually recovering from the impact of the pandemic on supply shortages, closures and reduced manufacturing due to prevention measures and I expect this rebounding to continue over the next year or so.

However, there are some manufacturers who are still really struggling with clearing their back orders and producing stock that is available for new orders so there is variation across the market between manufacturers and even models.

Over the past few months, we have seen more stock becoming available which I think is due to a softening in the demand due to economic uncertainty and the increased cost of leasing, which has risen due to higher basic list prices, reduced discounts and increased costs of funds from the funder. I expect to see stock availability to continue improving due to lower demand into the new year.

Funders Respond to the Cost of Living Crisis

We have seen a change in the way that funders are processing new lease deals. The majority of them have looked reviewed their underwriting criteria with a noticeable focus on affordability as they are having to factor in the impact of the cost of living crisis on the customers’ ability to repay over the term of the lease.

This closer scrutiny is likely to see a few more customers be declined finance or be conditionally accepted as funders make sure that the additional financial commitment will not overextend them and lead to financial strain during the contract.

How Is Xcite Car Leasing Ending 2022?

The softening in the leasing sector is a bit of a contrast to what we’ve seen in other areas of the business with fleet management and salary sacrifice both being areas of growth. As a business, we have reallocated some resources to support these areas as well as the authorised representatives (AR) part of our leasing channel to diversify our income to help our business maintain and grow despite the challenges we’re facing in leasing.

Overall, our business is ending 2022 on a positive note. We’ve moved to a new office location in the heart of Salisbury, entered into new business ventures and expanded our team with new roles that have come as a result of this.

What Does the Next Quarter Hold for Leasing?

I expect the situation with stock will continue to improve especially with internal combustion engines (ICEs) cars as the market transitions to EVs and these become less popular choices. We’re already seeing free release stock lists from some manufacturers with far more cars than at any point over the past 12 months and I expect this to continue.

While stock will improve, I think that the demand from customers in the immediate future is unlikely to change much and the retail space will remain challenging for leasing and other sectors of the automotive industry.

I’d love to see the softening of demand lead to improved discounts from manufacturers and funders to stimulate the market however I’m not hopeful this will happen in the next quarter but maybe later in the year if the market remains as it is, or declines.

Here at Xcite Car Leasing, we have already begun making adjustments to our business to mitigate the impact the softening leasing market has on us. We’re changing funding strategies to make sure the business continues to grow in new and exciting ways while also maintaining our strong presence in the leasing sector and cultivating our relationships with funders, manufacturers and dealers to find the best lease prices for our customers.

We’ve got a great team and despite the softening demand we still expect to have a successful quarter one of 2023. Additionally, there will be opportunities for our business in the fleet management, maintenance and salary sacrifice departments and I think this coming quarter will see us continue to expand in these sectors.


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