This places a greater emphasis on fleets to take action in an effort to maximise the best residual value achievable.
Speaking in a session called 'Predicting The Future' and sponsored by BCA Europe, John Watts, senior editor for CAP Monitor, outlined a number of ways in which fleets can obtain the best price possible for end-of-contract cars and vans.
These include ensuring vehicles are inspected during the contract period and repaired at the user's expense if needs be, while all documents must be sold with the vehicle, such as the V5.
Watts says that pre-sale preparation is vital, including smart repairs and a valet, and that the use of several disposal routes, including direct sales, franchised networks, remarketing companies, auction houses and independent traders, could also help boost the used value of a car.
Timing the disposal is also an important consideration.
Watts added: 'Try to find out when major rental companies see vehicles to avoid competition and spread the vehicles over time and location.'
He said that fleets should time the disposal to coincide with peak demand. For LCVs this is March to May and August to October and for passenger cars it is February to June.
Watts continued: 'Most used LCVs are two to three years old – consider varying the age profile of your fleet and remember that markets are mileage sensitive.'
Last month fears that the used market for fleet diesel vehicles could collapse with huge numbers reaching the market in a couple of years with nobody to buy them were allayed by research in BCA's Used Car Market Report (Fleet NewsNet, September 25).
The report found that acceptance of diesel in the used market was on the increase and now mirrors strong sales in the new car sector. About 19% of motorists in this year's survey had bought a diesel-engined car in the last two years, which is equivalent to 1.25 million units. This is up 4% on last year.
And the figure is likely to rise further with 20% saying they would buy a used diesel. Three-quarters stated better fuel consumption as a reason for buying, while just under half claimed 'the engine lasts longer' and a third reckoned diesel engines were more reliable. Only 13% chose diesel for environmental reasons.