LeasePlan USA reports that there is a consistent increase in the sale of off-lease vehicles back to drivers, according to company statistics. The findings for the first quarter of 2004 indicate client accommodation sales including drivers increased 30 percent when compared to the same period last year. “The increase we are seeing can’t be attributed to just one thing, in my opinion. There are several factors affecting driver sales, and I expect the numbers to increase consistently throughout the year,” said John Rancourt, LeasePlan USA’s director of used-vehicle marketing. The economy is one of the biggest factors affecting driver sales according to Rancourt. Although giving drivers the option to buy their vehicles at the end of the lease period isn’t a new policy for most companies, today’s drivers are more cost conscious and therefore more apt to consider the option more seriously. Instead of purchasing a new vehicle for personal use, drivers are choosing to purchase their company vehicles at the end of their lease period for reduced prices as compared to retail. Not only are drivers taking advantage of the option because they receive more affordable pricing, they are also familiar with the maintenance and repair history of the vehicles they are purchasing. The economy is not only causing drivers to reconsider purchasing their vehicles, it’s also driving companies to reconsider how aggressively they market the option to their drivers and other employees. According to Rancourt, used-vehicle prices are at their worst, relative to capitalized cost retention, causing many companies to experience unheard of losses. More and more companies are aggressively marketing their driver sale programs because it’s a “win-win” situation – drivers are purchasing vehicles at reduced prices relative to retail, while companies are mitigating their losses by pricing their sales slightly above minimum wholesale. In addition to marketing to drivers a number of companies are now also offering these vehicles to all employees. Another factor contributing to the increase in driver sales is the heightened awareness of new remarketing channels. LeasePlan’s newest remarketing channel, reDrive, offers companies the ability to post vehicles coming off lease on a Web site where their employees can then purchase the vehicles at below retail prices. “Programs like reDrive raise the awareness of everyone interested in buying a vehicle and further encourage drivers to take advantage of purchasing their company vehicle before it becomes available to the general employee base,” said Rancourt.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials