UK fleet replacement cycles much shorter than in Europe

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UK fleets are keeping their cars and vans almost two years less than the European average, new research from Arval finds.

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UK fleet replacement cycles are much shorter than the European average

In the UK, the average replacement cycle stands at 3.9 years but analysis across 12 other European countries finds the average there is 5.7 years.

The analysis, part of the 2018 edition of Arval’s Corporate Vehicle Observatory Barometer research which covers 3,718 fleets, also found there is a more marked variance in replacement cycles between different fleet sizes in Europe.

In the UK, 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.

However, across Europe, smaller fleets use a cycle of 6.2 years, falling to 5.4 years for medium fleets and 4.8 for larger fleets.

Shaun Sadlier, head of Arval’s Corporate Vehicle Observatory in the UK, said the UK’s use of shorter replacement cycles was likely down to the view 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. 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.”


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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.