Fleet managers and, in turn, their company car drivers are being warned that more and more of them will be facing bills for damage to cars when they come off lease next year.
While it is written into many company policies that drivers will face damage charges, these may not always have been enforced.
However, there is now a clear trend of lease companies becoming more attentive to end of life damage and becoming more proactive in recovering those costs from their fleet customers.
The trend stems from the need to ensure cars that are destined for auction are presented at their best.
Even minor damage can mean the difference between a sale and no sale.
Missing documents, a car being out of its MoT or with missing stamps in its service book will also increasingly be costing fleets next year.
Anecdotal evidence suggests some fleet managers are facing charges of up to £200 for a car that has no MoT and £175 for a car with a missing V5 document.
Lease companies have faced a significant fall in residual values and are often no longer able or willing to overlook damage or missing service histories, warned David Mercer, managing director, Manheim Defleet Services.
A recent Manheim survey found that nearly two-thirds (63%) of fleet vehicles inspected in 2008 were damaged beyond normal fair, wear and tear.
More than 90% of those had up to £250 worth of damage.
Most common damage was dents and scratches to bumpers and body panels (58%) and alloy wheel damage (27%).
More than 20% of the vehicles inspected had either incomplete or missing documents.
“There is an increasing need for fleet and leasing companies to monitor the damage to their vehicles and to employ a robust management, inspection and reconditioning policy to maximise the value of their assets,” said Mr Mercer.
“A regular and thorough inspection process can keep damage under control while the intelligent use of Smart repairs can add value to the used vehicle by up to two-and-a-half-times the actual cost of repair.”
- 63% of inspected vehicles have damage beyond normal ‘fair, wear and tear’
- 48% of inspected vehicles have up to £100 of damage
- 45% of inspected vehicles have between £101 and £250 of damage
- 5% of inspected vehicles have between £251 and £500 of damage
- 2% of inspected vehicles have more than £500 of damage
- 58% of inspected vehicles have dents and scratches
- 27% of inspected vehicles have damage to alloy wheels
- 11% of inspected vehicles have worn tyres
- 8% of inspected vehicles have damage to windscreens
- 40% of the damage can be rectified by Smart repairs
- 23% of inspected vehicles have missing or incomplete documents