Fleet News

Industry faces big challenge to put across benefits of ex-company cars

THE fleet industry has a major challenge on its hands to educate used car buyers to the benefits of ex-company cars. Low mileage featured as one of the three key criteria prioritised by buyers when selecting a used car, second only to the make and model, and ahead of specification, body style and age, according to British Car Auctions' '1998 Used Car Market Report', produced in association with Sewells International.

This spells bad news for ex-fleet cars which typically have higher than average mileages, and increases the pressure on fleet managers to ensure they buy the right cars in the right colours and with the right specifications in the first place if they are to maximise residual values.

The report reveals that 20% of buyers do not even bother to test drive a car before buying it, so sure are they of what they want, although the more expensive the car the more likely a buyer is to test it.

It also exposes fresh trends in used car buying patterns, and key among these is the decline in estate car popularity at a time when manufacturers are launching a plethora of lifestyle load-luggers. The BCA report found that more buyers were opting for the flexible hatchback option, which now accounts for 48% of used cars, up from 43% in 1995, while the penetration of estate cars has fallen from 12% to 7% over the same period.

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