The UK’s second largest bus manufacturer, Optare Plc, has gone
into the leasing business with new venture Optare Direct, aiming to
provide its own finance and leasing proposition to independent bus
operators across Britain.

Optare, which specialises in 20-40 seat vehicles,
produces nearly 700 vehicles yearly at assembly sites in
Blackburn and Leeds, and sells both to the 5 major UK operators
(including Stagecoach, Arriva, and Go-Ahead), and to a wide range
of independent operators running fleets of 5-100 vehicles.

As well as providing standard leasing and hire purchase
products, Optare Direct will provide short term rental offerings,
as well as products including refurbishment, maintenance and parts
provision. All funding will be done through finance partners, who
are yet to be revealed.

Formerly, Optare had run an exclusive financing arrangement with
Mistral Group, and although this has come to an end, Mistral will
still provide finance for a considerable volume of Optare

Optare Direct is headed by Rick Betton, who has worked
previously with both Optare and Mistral, as well as many other bus
and coach industry companies during his 30 year career in the

Fred Crawley

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