You might be surprised to learn that a large percentage of nearly-new cars which you see on the forecourts of dealerships are old rental vehicles.
Car rental firms have a high turnover of vehicles. Rental companies change their cars when they are only about a year or two old, three to four at the most. They need to keep up to date with what the manufacturers are producing and people want the latest models when they turn up. They dont want something that is five years old and has been round the clock at least once.
In addition, hire companies dont want to keep vehicles for too long since they older they get, the more risk there is of problems developing which could result in a breakdown, which is bad for business and the companys image. And dont forget, its a competitive industry and standards are high, hence the need to always have the newest and the best in the fleet.
This means that ex-hire cars are sold at low prices when they are still only a couple of years old and in good condition, resulting in a constant supply of nearly-new, albeit high-mileage for their age, vehicles coming onto the second-hand market. This helps to drive prices down and means that there are some good bargains to be had out there.
It also explains why the re-sale value of a new car drops off so rapidly in the first two or three years its because theres a constant supply of nearly-new vehicles coming onto the market, something which upsets car manufacturers.
Some people might be initially wary of buying a car which has had numerous different drivers and might have been subjected to a fair bit of abuse. After all, no one worries as much about how they treat a hire car as they would their own.
But the converse of this is that while the car is part of a companys fleet, it is usually well-maintained and goes through continuous comprehensive testing to keep it on the road. Again, it is not in the companys interests to hire out poorly-maintained vehicles which are going to cause grief to their customers. All right, yes, there are plenty of examples out there which prove that last statement wrong, but Im talking about the major players here.
And dont forget that when you buy a used car which was privately owned, unless theres a full service history, you have no idea of how well looked after it was and what the previous owner did or did not do to their car. If, on the other hand, the car comes from a rental company, you are at least guaranteed that it was well maintained.
When a car is retired from fleet service, it undergoes a thorough inspection and appraisal. The best cars are often kept to be sold off via the companys own website, while the rest are sent to dealerships or to auction houses.
Some online dealers specialise in ex-hire or ex-fleet cars, so its not hard to find one by searching online, but you need to keep checking their sites and keep your eyes open for when cars are put on the market. If you do, you could get yourself a well-maintained nearly new car at a very competitive price.