A weekly round-up of UK and European fleet stories including the latest figures for commercial vehicle demand, salary sacrifice and outsourcing deals and expectations for German fleet growth.

Commercial vehicle registrations continue downward trend

Demand for new commercial vehicles decreased in the first six months of the year in comparison with the same period in 2012, according to data from the European Automobile Manufacturer’s Association.

Sales from January to the end of June 2013 were 832,093 units, 6.9% less than in the first half-year of 2012.

The UK was the only market to post growth (+7.2%), while other major markets experienced declines: -6.0% in Spain, -9.4% in France, -10.2% in Germany and -19.5% in Italy.

Lex Autolease announces SSE partnership

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Lex Autolease, the fleet management and funding firm, has launched a salary sacrifice scheme with Perth-based energy supplier SSE.

The scheme provides employees with a fully managed car for a monthly fee, which includes insurance, service, maintenance and repair costs that are deducted from their salary before tax.

Since the scheme was launch in May of this year, SSE has received over 3,000 requests for vehicles from an eligible workforce of 20,000 and 500 vehicles have been ordered.

Mike Lauriello, senior corporate relationship manager at Lex Autolease, said: "The SSE scheme has been extremely well-received by staff in the first few weeks of its implementation and we expect to see further growth in participation figures."

German fleets more likely to grow than shrink

The German fleet market is expecting more increases than reductions in fleet size over the next twelve months, according to a Dataforce survey.

The German automotive market research firm found that 5% of fleet users are planning an increase in the number of vehicles in operation over the next twelve months, while 3% expect a decrease. One third of all respondents expect to replace some cars over the course of the year.

The report also found that leasing in the German fleet market was much more prevalent among larger fleets, comprising of 50 or more cars, with around 80% of vehicles being leased, whereas for fleets of less than 10 cars, the figure dropped to less than half.

Fleet management firm CLM wins deal with security firm

UK security and logistics contractor Wilson James has outsourced the management of its 100-strong passenger car and light commercial vehicle fleet to fleet management firm CLM.

The company, which recently provided security at the London Olympic and Paralympic Games and at Heathrow Airport, said it chose to outsource to "improve customer service, communications and maintenance management, and increase value and efficiency on its fleet".

Wilson James put its fleet management out to tender because it was "dissatisfied" with the service it was receiving from its incumbent provider, a "major leasing company".