Basic mistakes, such as choosing unattractive colours and not looking after vehicles during their working life, are wiping millions of pounds from value of used vans. Glass's Information Services says it has evidence of fleets struggling to sell vans at auction because of these simple errors.
Chief commercial vehicle editor George Alexander said: 'Some of the UK's biggest fleets have successfully introduced fleet policies that recognise the financial importance of strong residual values, but others lag well behind. BT has made significant improvements in the past 10 years, with the bulk of its fleet painted either white or off-white. Once the decals are removed, these colours are acceptable to used buyers. The vehicles are also better cared for.
'By contrast, Consignia's red vans continue to struggle on the used market. The colour may support brand recognition, but a significant amount of money is lost on every vehicle because used buyers prefer a more natural shade.
'Perhaps with the change of name, to Royal Mail Group, there could also now be a change in fleet policy to support longer-term values.'
A spokesman for Consignia said that although its vehicles had many drivers, he did not think they suffered from lower values compared with other firms disposing of vehicles.
He said: 'Over the years we have built up a particular client base for our vehicles. Customers know they will be getting a red van, but they also know it will have been well maintained.'