Fleet News

Fashionable four-wheel-drives could be costly option as residuals fall

FASHIONABLE 4x4s are shaping up to be a costly option for fleets due to falling residual values. According to one of the UK's specialist 4x4 auction houses only the workhorse Land Rover Defender is a sure bet for fleet managers nervous of a residual backlash.

Bob Chadwick, general manager of the vehicle sales department at auctioneer Russell, Baldwin and Bright, says the falling values are only a recent phenomenon. He puts this down to fashion influences rather than any policy by the Government to target bigger engined, gas-guzzling vehicles. Chadwick said: 'The market is nothing like it used to be 18 months ago. For about six years from 1990 it was jumping, and at the auctions we were selling about 65-75% of the 4x4s. In March of last year things suddenly changed, and the conversion rates are now down to about 50%.'

Last week the company held an auction of 385 off-roaders at its Leominster site and only about half the vehicles were sold. 'The market is absolutely full of 4x4s now, so even though the sales percentage is down, the volume is up. This seems to be core to the problem. There are too many vehicles now chasing too few buyers,' said Chadwick.

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