European companies saved almost €1.5bn in 2009
through company car contract extensions, a recent GE Capital study
has found.

The leasing and fleet management company
said that a 12 month extension – from 36 to 48 months – saved
companies an average of 12.5 percent per month on the leasing

On average, contracts increased from 36.7
months in 2007 to 40.5 months in 2009 across the seven markets
studied (France, Germany, UK, Netherlands, Spain, Italy and
Belgium), the lessor said.

Peter Stroem, European fleet commercial leader
at GE Capital, said: “Over the last two years, extending contracts
to control fleet costs has been prevalent throughout the

“French companies were particularly active in
this area in 2008 and 2009 as they took advantage of their
traditionally shorter-term leasing arrangements to drive huge cost
savings,” he added.

According to the report, between 2007 and
2009, contracts increased from 31 to 39 months in France and
from 39 to 41 months in Germany.

UK companies only extended leases by one month
(from 35 to 36 months), and Italian companies by 15 days (from
41.25 months to 41.75 months).

The GE Capital report was realized by its Key
Solutions fleet consultancy arm. It is based on data from 200,000
company cars managed under an operating lease contract across the
seven markets.

Antonio Fabrizio