What Are Fleet Vehicles?

What Are Fleet Vehicles?
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It’s not a widely known fact, but fleet vehicles make up a large percentage of auto sales every year. In fact, according to a Cox Automotive report, one in five vehicles sold in 2019 was destined to join a fleet.

So what is a fleet vehicle? At its most basic, a fleet vehicle is a vehicle that was part of a commercial or governmental fleet. If you’re considering buying a fleet vehicle, it’s important to take some special considerations in mind.

What is a fleet vehicle?

As mentioned, a fleet vehicle is one that belongs to a large pool of vehicles employed by a company or governmental body as part of its operations. A few specific organizations maintain the vast majority of vehicle fleets.

Rental companies

Rental companies deployed nearly 1.8 million fleet vehicles in 2021 in the US alone, with Enterprise Holdings (the company that operates the Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental brands) accounting for more than half. Rental companies turn over their fleets every year or two because they get significant fleet discounts and tax incentives when they sell off their inventory, and because newer vehicles are more appealing to renters. Maintaining an updated fleet is critical in an industry with annual global revenues over $40.65 billion.

Governmental agencies

Many government agencies maintain vehicle fleets and provide vehicles to their employees, from local, state, and federal law enforcement to public transit. There’s generally less churn on government-owned fleets, however, because there’s no commercial pressure to maintain a modern fleet, and there are often many demands on minimal funding.

Businesses and other organizations

Most other fleet vehicles are operated by private organizations like taxi companies, often because they require vehicles to fill specialized roles. These include everything from delivery trucks to exterminator vans, though they’re often covered in branded company vinyls or liveries that make them less likely to show up on a used car lot.

Pros and cons of buying a fleet vehicle

Buying a fleet vehicle can be tricky, but there are a number of upsides. Like any used vehicle purchase, the key is being careful and doing your homework. While you may be able to get a newer car at a very reasonable price, you’re also likely getting a car that’s been driven by someone who wasn’t invested in what happened to it.

Fleet vehicle pros

There can be plenty of upside to buying a fleet vehicle if you know what to look for.


Fleet vehicles will often be priced to move, particularly in the case of rental car companies who need to sell a large number of vehicles quickly to make room for new models.

Solid maintenance

Many fleet operators, especially rental companies, mandate thorough, regular maintenance on their vehicles because it ultimately saves them money and helps avoid expensive repairs.

No haggling

Most of the major rental companies advertise a zero haggling buying experience. Given the volume of transactions, they want to move as many vehicles with as little hassle as possible. This means you get to duck the sleazy used car sales stereotype.

Finance options

Unlike buying a used car from a private owner, buying a fleet vehicle often means you have finance options and don’t need to pay a lump sum up front. This is especially true when buying from a rental company, many of whom offer competitive finance options compared against larger used car dealerships.

Fleet vehicle cons

That said, keep in mind that these aren’t hidden gems kept untouched in someone’s garage.


Rental cars and other fleet vehicles typically carry more miles than most privately owned vehicles, though this is often offset somewhat by their lower price compared to cars of similar age.


High mileage fleet vehicles are more likely to be out of warranty than traditional used vehicles, though you may get additional warranty coverage with your purchase if you’re buying through a rental company. Enterprise, for instance, offers 12,000 miles or 12 months of powertrain warranty coverage on its used vehicle sales.

Limited selection

Generally speaking, fleet vehicles trend towards vanilla options and lower trim levels, because they need to be as broadly appealing as possible. If you’re looking for a highly specialized vehicle or package, you may have difficulty finding what you want in a used fleet vehicle.

Lower resale value

Having a rental car company in your vehicle’s owner history may impact resale value, in large part because of the aforementioned perception of hard use by drivers who didn’t care about it. If you plan on eventually reselling a used fleet vehicle, this is an important consideration to bear in mind.

Where to buy a fleet vehicle

Most fleet vehicles don’t end up on traditional used car lots. Here are some of the best places to source used fleet vehicles at reasonable prices.

Rental companies

Rental companies generally sell their stock directly. Some, like Enterprise, even operate full-scale dealerships to move their used cars, and provide competitive perks to compete with other dealerships including warranty coverage, certified inspections and free Carfax reports.

Federal, state, and local governments

Government vehicles are rarer than their rental counterparts on the used market, but there is a cottage industry of sites tailored to provide them to interested consumers. Visit retailers like the government’s GSA auction site or outlets like Municibid and Govplanet for government-specific models.


There are also many independent auctions for fleet vehicles, both online and in person. Many fleet operators will run regular auctions for their vehicles, and some large online retailers like Copart and Capital Auto run auctions specifically for used fleet cars.

Can you finance a fleet vehicle?

Financing is often available for fleet vehicles, particularly if you buy from a large national rental company. As previously mentioned, Enterprise offers highly competitive financing through its dedicated used car dealerships. Independently of the seller, many national and local banks, credit unions, and online lenders will offer used cars loans for fleet vehicles—remember, they essentially are used cars, and often well-maintained at that.


While a used fleet vehicle isn’t for everyone, they’re a good option to include in any search for a used car. If you’re smart and do a little research, there’s a chance you’ll find a great deal in an often-overlooked market segment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many cars is considered a fleet?

Technically, any company or organization with more than a single vehicle is considered to be operating a fleet.

Can anyone drive a fleet car?

No special license or certification is required to operate a fleet vehicle unless the vehicle class itself requires such, as in the case of trucks.

How long do fleet cars last?

Fleet cars tend to get cycled out based on several factors individual to the company operating them. While rental companies tend to turn over vehicles faster than government agencies, the lifecycle of a fleet vehicle varies depending on usage, maintenance, employee preference, and other variables. The vehicle’s total lifespan is similar to privately owned vehicles, though it may be shortened by heavier usage.

How often should fleet vehicles be serviced?

A good rule of thumb is to service active fleet vehicles every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

About Bumper

At Bumper, we are on a mission to bring vehicle history reports and ownership up to speed with modern times. A vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases you'll likely make, and you deserve to have access to the same tools and information the pros use to make the right decisions.

Disclaimer: The above is solely intended for informational purposes and in no way constitutes legal advice or specific recommendations.