UK fleets are keeping their cars and vans almost two years less than the European average, according to authoritative new research from Arval.
In the UK, the average time before a vehicle is replaced is 3.9 years, but across a basket of 12 other European countries, it is 5.7 years.
There are slight variances in the UK between different fleet sizes. Smaller fleets (1-9 vehicles) use an average replacement cycle of 3.9 years, medium fleets (10-49) use 3.6 years and larger fleets (more than 50) use 4.2.
Across Europe, the differences are more marked. Smaller fleets (1-9 vehicles) use a cycle of 6.2 years, medium fleets (10-49) use 5.4 years and larger fleets (more than 50) use 4.8, according to Arval’s Corporate Vehicle Observatory (CVO) research, which covers 3,718 fleets.
Shaun Sadlier, head of Arval’s CVO in the UK, said: “In a lot of ways, fleet best practice in the UK and Europe is quite closely aligned, but there is a clear difference when it comes to replacement cycles.
“The main advantage of longer cycles, as seen elsewhere in Europe, is that the lease rentals are slightly cheaper, although not by too much, because older cars tend to need more maintenance and repair work, and because of the shape of depreciation curves.”
Sadlier says there was a view in the UK that newer vehicles were worth the small additional amount in monthly rentals because of the advantages that they brought.
“If you have a newer fleet, you have a more reliable fleet and one that is bringing you the latest technological advantages in terms of fuel economy, emissions and safety devices,” he said. “More modern vehicles can also have a positive impact on the perception of your company.
“Our view is that this is very much worth the extra few pounds you’ll pay each month.
“Of course, there is also an employee benefit angle. Newer cars are generally perceived to be more motivational to staff, and the four-year cycle that we generally use in the UK is also prompted by human resources concerns around the recruitment and retention of talent.
“It is interesting to note that, if you look at the European figures, larger fleets are quite a lot closer to UK practice at 4.8 year cycles, and their corporate thinking is probably more in line with how we view fleet best practice.”
How long do you keep your vehicles before replacing them?
All fleets 1-9 vehicles 10-49 vehicles 50+ vehicles
UK 3.9 3.9 3.6 4.2
Europe 5.7 6.2 5.4 4.8