The downturn in the economy combined with a soft used car market has caused many business owners and fleet managers to hold onto older vehicles longer. But, higher maintenance and fuel costs, frequent breakdowns and expired warranties may actually prove more counterproductive in the long run due to missed appointments and lost productivity, according to a press release from Enterprise Fleet Services.

Knowing when to dispose of older vehicles, a process known in the fleet management industry as “cycling,” can impact the bottom line.

“A good way for a business owner to determine how and when to sell vehicles in its fleet is by performing a vehicle analysis that looks at each vehicle in the entire fleet, and how the company uses its vehicles,” said Steve Bloom, vice president of Enterprise Fleet Services, which specializes in serving businesses with between 15 to 125 vehicles. “From that analysis, the strongest time of the year to remarket or cycle can be determined for each vehicle.”

How and when a company decides to sell its vehicles depends on many variables, including factors such as time of year, mileage, vehicle type, age and maintenance history.

Many fleet-services companies have vehicle replacement cycling systems that ensure vehicles are replaced at appropriate intervals to achieve optimum performance and the best resale value, and specially trained remarketing professionals who can help business owners take the guesswork out of this process. These programs consider everything from future trends and the current used car sales market, to vehicle warranties, mileage and the possible wear and tear that a business will inflict on a vehicle.

“By looking at and reviewing automotive trends throughout the year and analyzing how each customer uses their vehicles, it is possible to take the guesswork out of the process,” said Bloom. “Important factors include the current used car sales market, vehicle warranties, mileage and possible wear and tear that a business will inflict on a vehicle, as well as the importance of maintaining the business' professional image and driver satisfaction and safety issues.”

The bottom line is that planning ahead when it comes to both the makeup of a company's fleet and knowing when to acquire and dispose of vehicles can save time and really make a difference to the business' overall financial well-being.

Enterprise Fleet Services supplies virtually all makes of cars, light- and medium-duty trucks and service vehicles to businesses nationwide. Enterprise has 45 fully staffed offices nationwide. For more information, visit its Web site at www.enterprise.com/fleets or call toll free 877-23-FLEET.

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