A gradual softening of the used car market is prompting outright purchase fleets to take a fresh look at their disposal strategies, according to Chevin Fleet Solutions.
With values of many popular models under pressure for the first time in several years, growing importance is being placed on presenting defleet vehicles in the best condition and finding the most effective disposal channel.
Managing director Ashley Sowerby explained that the area of disposal was an especially interesting one because it was becoming more responsive to taking a proactive managerial approach.
"The trend we are seeing in disposal basically breaks down into two areas. The first is to ensure that the vehicle is sent to market in something as close to ready-to-retail condition as possible.
"As part of this, it is crucial that a comprehensive service history is provided with each vehicle. Generally, fleet software will be used to generate a service history record that is much more complete than a manufacturer service record."
The second area for consideration was much more complicated, Ashley explained, and involved seeking current information about how the used car market was operating.
"Just a few years ago, most fleets tended to use just a few motor auctions or a handful of traders as their disposal routes. Now, they have access to many more of these through the internet while a whole range of e-commerce platforms specially for fleet disposal have also appeared - each offering a range of different benefits.
"This means increased opportunity but also makes it difficult to keep track of which vehicles perform best through different channels and how trends are changing. As the market softens, the difference between good and bad results is increasing."
Sowerby said that Chevin had noticed developing interest in fleet disposal through monitoring use of its Vehicle Sales Tool, part of its FleetWave enterprise level system, and by talking to customers about current ideas in best practice.
"Our technology is being employed in increasingly imaginative ways for disposal. Fleets can use the system to help with both internal and external marketing. It can also access images, generate historical maintenance records and handle bidding, both for closed auctions and through links with major fleet e-commerce platforms."