That was the conclusion arrived at in the Europe Full Service Leasing Report from Interleasing parent company GMAC.
It said that almost half of the vehicles in the UK's company car parc were offered as a 'perk' rather than an essential job-need tool. Out of the four million company cars in the UK, a total of 45% represent part of the works-benefit package.
This compares to many other European countries, particularly in the Netherlands and Austria, where an average of 75% of all fleet vehicles are provided as a benefit, it claims.
However, in France and Portugal, the company car is mainly for business use, rather than as a perk. Almost 90% of French fleet managers and three-quarters of their Portuguese peers regard the car as an extension of their job.
Nick Brownrigg, chief executive officer, European full service leasing, GMAC, said: 'This report highlights the fact that the company car is part of the corporate landscape in many European countries.
'It also shows that despite many Government tax discouragements over the years, the company car is still regarded as a perk, as opposed to an essential tool in many territories.
'One would assume that this would be justified by drivers arguing that it is important to project a positive image of their business. However, the findings actually seem to support the opposite view, which implies that drivers unreservedly love their company cars without having to find business excuses for having one.'
The study found that only 1.5% of UK businesses believe the fleet car helps promote their company image. In France it is 9%, in Germany 7% and in the Netherlands 6%.
Germany and France were most concerned over CO2 emissions from increased company car use. A total of 40% of German fleets and 22% of French fleets listed emissions as an issue. The figure was less than 3% in the UK, where an emissions-based tax was introduced two years ago.