Consumer car finance up 40%

British motorists are placing more importance on consumer car finance than ever before, according to a new report from the Finance and Leasing Association (FLA).

With Britain experiencing the longest double-dip recession for more than 50 years, an increasing amount of drivers are relying on consumer car finance to upgrade their vehiclet.

The FLA said that 70% of all new car sales were purchased through consumer car finance this year, up 40% on last year, while the amount of used cars sold on finance rose 15% over the same period.

The number of consumers using finance to buy a car over the last 12 months has risen from 64.2% in January to 70.2% in December, while finance has helped an increasing amount of businesses to upgrade their fleet.

Paul Harrison, the FLA's head of motor finance, said 2012 has been a "spectacular year for car finance" with nearly three-quarters of consumers using finance to fund their car purchase this year.

"We expect this figure to approach the 75 per cent mark in 2013," said Mr Harrison. "The used car market is also performing well as the range of attractive finance packages are extended to those buyers."

Consumers could also stand to benefit from a drive to improve standards across the automotive sector in the New Year.

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) revealed plans to launch its public-facing register for all industry professionals in April next year, ranging from technical to management workers.

The IMI said its register, which will act as a voluntary licence for industry professionals, will feature accredited individuals who have demonstrated the necessary skills, knowledge and competence to provide a specialist service in their chosen field of expertise.

Members of the public will soon be able to search for IMI-accredited businesses or tradesmen in their local area, all of whom have agreed to an approved ethical code of conduct.

Linda Stansfield, the IMI's chief operating officer, said: "With continually complex, evolving technology and changes in the core make up of vehicles today, it is vitally important to note that there is a commitment from all registered professionals to understand and keep pace with these changes. This includes all levels of professionals in the sector, from technical to management positions."

The IMI was set up in 1920 and is the leading professional automotive association for all businesses and individuals in the sector.

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