Over half of fleets in the UK are deploying second hand vehicles as pool or job need cars, according to new research.

This is well above the European average, according to the 2024 Arval Mobility Observatory Fleet and Mobility Barometer, which surveyed nearly 9,000 fleet businesses in 30 countries. Used cars are being used by 54% of fleet companies in the UK, and a further quarter plan to do so over the next three years. In Europe 29% of fleets were using the second hand market.

It made no difference how big the company was, as firms with a huge variety of head counts took part in the research.

The question about used cars has not been asked in this survey before, and reflects a growing trend among fleets for using second hand cars. It has become significantly more noticeable since the Covid pandemic and the downturn in the production of new vehicles.

Company cars have always traditionally been brand new vehicles, so this is an interesting development. Of the businesses that said that they were using second hand vehicles, 78% were operating them as pool cars, 66% as job need cars, and 50% for benefit drivers.

Shaun Sadlier, head of the Arval Mobility Observatory in the UK, said: “While we have no historical data for comparison, our view is that this has probably always been something that businesses have done to some extent but that post-pandemic issues, especially much reduced new vehicle supply, have pushed more of them towards having to buy used, simply to get hold of the cars they need.”

“Our findings show that the ways in which these used cars are being operated are overwhelmingly practical. They are being employed primarily in pool and job-need car roles where the ‘newness’ of a car is less of an issue, and less often where the car is part of a motivational benefits package.”

“What is interesting is that so many more fleets plan to adopt this purchasing strategy” said Sadlier. “The data shows that within three years, almost three-quarters of businesses will be buying used cars. It looks set to become an ongoing part of fleet acquisition.”