A fall in demand in the used market, especially for larger vans and vehicles in poor condition, means that many fleets are failing to achieve the residual values they estimated, according to TLS Vehicle Rental.
Sean Welham, marketing director at TLS, said: 'The used CV market has been buoyant for a number of years and this has helped to persuade a number of fleets that outright purchase is a viable option for them.
'However, over the last few months, residual values have certainly started softening, and many fleets are getting their fingers burned. Only the best vehicles are achieving book price, and buyers can afford to look around and take their pick.
'Losing out at disposal time in this way can be especially traumatic in business terms for smaller fleets and one man operations. They were expecting a lump sum, probably to put towards a new vehicle, and it is suddenly much lower than they were hoping for.'
Welham said that the company was, as a result, making some headway in convincing commercial vehicle operators to look at long-term rental as an option.