Leasing firms are the secret giants of the car world. Half of all new cars are leased and their market share is forecasted to reach 70% in 2030. They have a critical role in determining how quickly we achieve the switch to electric cars.
Leasing companies are big and profitable
A small number of leasing companies dominate the leasing sector. The top seven companies are Volkswagen Financial Services, ALD | LeasePlan (rebranded Ayvens on 16 October 2023 ), Arval, Leasys, Alphabet, Athlon and Mobilize Financial Services. They are owned by large carmakers (Volkswagen, Stellantis, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Renault) and banks (BNP Paribas, Société Générale and Crédit Agricole).
They have a fleet of 9.3 million cars in the EU and account for almost one out of three new car sales (30.0%).
These leasing companies are not only large, but they are extremely profitable, with profit margins of 12%-50% for the top seven. Profits have recently crossed the billion euro mark for ALDI LeasePlan and Arval.
Stuck in the fossil age
Leasing companies claim that they drive the switch to electric cars but the latest data for the European Union reveals that this is not the case. In France, all top seven leasing companies have a lower uptake of battery electric cars than the general market. Three of the leasing companies (Leasys, Alphabet, Athlon) also lag behind the market in Italy. These are the only two EU markets where data on the electromobility performance of leasing companies is available.
Leasing companies refuse to disclose data on their uptake of battery electric cars in the European Union. Moreover there is also a clear lack of ambition: not one leasing company has set a target to stop leasing fossil fuel cars.
Leasing companies have to show real climate leadership and commit to stop leasing fossil cars latest by 2028.
You want to know how each company is performing on green leadership? Find out T&E’s assessment for each company in the one-pagers below.
Leasing companies are overcharging customers to go electric
An earlier T&E study also found that leasing deals for battery electric cars (BEV) are overpriced. In Europe, leasing offers for BEVs are on average 57% more expensive than their equivalent petrol models.
Leasing companies typically charge customers for the expected loss in value of a vehicle over the three to four year lease, so higher lease prices mean they expect BEVs to lose more of their value. But depreciation of battery electric cars in the EU’s biggest markets (Germany and France) are similar to diesel and petrol vehicles.Customers are being overcharged by leasing companies if they want to switch to a battery electric car. Leasing firms are too conservative when setting their monthly prices.
With this campaign T&E is calling on leasing companies to change course and show real climate leadership. This means:
- Set a target to stop leasing fossil cars by 2028 at the latest;
- Towards the 2028 goal, set ambitious interim targets for the uptake of battery electric vehicles;
- Improve their current climate performance by leading the market in the uptake of battery electric cars;
- Increase transparency regarding their uptake of BEVs in the EU;
- Publicly advocate for policy changes that incentivise and enable the transition to electromobility.
On this page, we will still refer to the name ALD | LeasePlan. The rollout of the new brand will happen in 2024.