What Is a Fleet Use Car, and How Do I Purchase a Fleet Vehicle?

Elan Mcafee
Apr 27, 2022 · 4 min read
Fleet vehicles are groups of cars, vans, or trucks that are used to run a business, such as a police department or car rental service.
Fleet sales–when these cars, vans, or trucks are put on the market–are open to anyone with the disposable funds to buy a vehicle outright. For people in that position, this method can save thousands of dollars off the retail price of a new car.
Frequently, business owners and other well-connected people use fleet sales to purchase new vehicles. Here's a guide by car insurance app Jerry on how to buy a fleet vehicle yourself.
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What does fleet use mean?

"Fleet use" cars are vehicles that were once a part of a rental car fleet or used for commercial or business purposes. These cars were part of a fleet, and they're often used by many people and have high miles.
However, that doesn't mean that a fleet use vehicle won't be a good deal.

How to purchase fleet vehicles and get a good deal

Attending a fleet sale may seem otherworldly to a newcomer, but it is actually a straightforward process. There is no haggling over purchase price or payment terms. You simply get what you see for the price tag attached.
Step 1: Determine how much you can spend. There is no exact science to arrive at a budget for a fleet sales purchase.
Take a look at your savings and objectively consider how much of those savings you can afford to part with in buying a new car. Make sure you still leave yourself a financial cushion for emergencies.
Step 2: Shop around for the right vehicle fit. Even if you plan to purchase at a fleet sale, you can still visit dealerships and test out cars to see what you think.
Keep a list of the new cars you like best, so you can do further research once you are off the dealer lot.
Step 3: Check that the cars on your short list are within your budget. Go to KBB or Edmunds to look up the dealer invoice prices of the cars that interest you most.
Add $1,000 to estimate what you would ultimately pay for any vehicle you find in a fleet sale and double check that against what you can afford.
Step 4: Call fleet managers at appropriate dealerships for information on upcoming fleet sales. If you want a Volkswagen Beetle, call the fleet manager at your Volkswagen dealership, for instance.
Bear in mind you may get a bit of run-around from the dealership before you talk with the fleet manager. After all, the dealership would rather make a profit off of your purchase. Be persistent and stick to your guns.
Step 5: Inspect before you buy. Although you are looking at a new car in a fleet sale, that doesn’t mean a problem didn’t escape the manufacturer’s inspection process.
Thoroughly look over a new car, and–if it meets with your approval–you can then make the commitment. Once you make the payment, make sure you leave with the title in hand.
Many of the steps in buying a new car through fleet sales are the same as in buying any other new car. Do your research, make sure you understand the process, and look before you leap.
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FAQs

What are fleet cars used for?

Fleet cars are vehicle that are used by rental car companies as inventory for customers to choose from. If you've rented a car for a weekend trip, you've purchased a rental car from the company's fleet.
Fleet cars may also be vehicles that belong to a commercial business' fleet of cars, which aren't necessarily used for renting.

What does "prior use fleet" mean?

Prior use on a fleet vehicle simply means the vehicle was previously used by people, usually as a rental car. This is standard and expected for fleet vehicles–almost all fleet vehicles have been used, either by workers or by customers.
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