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Is a Used Company Car an Option?

By: Scott McBride - Updated: 1 Jul 2012 | comments*Discuss
Is A Used Company Car An Option?

On the face of it, an ex-company car appears to be an appealing option for those in the market for a used car. After all, most of these cars will be only two or three years old, and so are the latest models with recent number plate registrations.

On the down side, the vast majority will have covered a lot of miles in a short time, but this blow is compensated by a much-reduced price tag and besides, company cars tend to be serviced religiously so the high mileage should not compromise the roadworthiness of the vehicle.

It begs the question, why are people not queuing up to get their hands on an ex-company car? Well, research carried out on behalf of Saga Motor Insurance in March 2006 may provide some of the answers.

Crashed Company Car

The poll of almost 2,000 employees found that a third of them do not drive their company car as carefully as if it were their own. Not surprising, perhaps, but one in five employees surveyed admitted to having crashed their company car, and five per cent of those kept the incident a secret from their boss.

Speeding is a problem too, with 22 per cent of employees driving considerably faster behind the wheel of a company car than they would their own, treating the company car as a long-term joy ride rather than a perk of the job. Some go even further, with 17 per cent running the car ragged – safe in the knowledge that they do not need to buy a new one, instead just moving on to their next car lease.

Most company car drivers use it for regular trips to the local tip with garden waste and old rubbish, while a fifth of them smoke in the car and the same number let dogs run loose on the back seat after a muddy walk. Half of the employees rarely bother washing the car and 10 per cent do not even bother locking it all of the time.

Borrowed by Friends

Friends are often allowed to borrow company cars, and a cheeky 16 per cent of employees even admitted to having nookie on the back seat. It is enough for most used car buyers to put the brakes on any deal for an ex-company car, yet, despite these findings, 64 per cent of employees are more conscientious and do worry about scratching, bumping or accidentally damaging their company car.

Buying any used car is a risky business and mistakes can prove costly. The risks involved when buying an ex-company car seem to be greater still as there is every chance it has been driven about at high speed, crashed, used as a skip, an ashtray, a kennel and place for sex – although not necessarily in that order.

Having said all that, the good ex-company cars will probably outweigh the bad ones. The trick is picking a good one, as buying an ex-company car is akin to buying a lottery ticket - some will be winners but others will only be fit for the bin. Before parting with hard-earned cash, a buyer should think about the way he drove the hire car the last time he was on holiday. The chances are his ex-company car will have received the same sort of treatment.

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