Fleets ‘hanging onto’ cars and vans in an attempt to achieve unrealistic and inflated valuations are causing distortions in the used car and van markets, said Glass’s.

The companies are reluctant to sell below guide prices, and are continually resubmitting vehicles for sale at the same or at other auctions, creating a range of problems.

Rupert Pontin, director of valuations at Glass’s, said: “Lately, we are going through a phase where we see the same cars and vans presented at auction time and again – and our feedback says that failure to reach book values is the reason.

"With some of the industry price guides consistently overvaluing the market in recent months, it appears to be becoming an increasing problem. Large numbers of vehicles are remaining unsold.

This has a number of negative effects for the companies in question. Not only does it means companies are taking longer to convert assets into capital, but these vehicles will also depreciate further as they take longer to sell.

On a more general note, Pontin said the trend was making it more difficult for market valuers, such as Glass’s, to work out exactly what was happening to the value of certain models.

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He concluded: “A particular car or van may look like it is doing quite well but then it becomes apparent that this was due to fleets holding onto stock in an attempt to reach unrealistic guide prices. Eventually, these cars have to be ‘dumped' onto the market and you see a sudden fall in values as oversupply occurs.

"I'm pleased to say that, in the vast majority of cases, we have identified where this is happening and adjusted our own valuations accordingly, but not everyone in the market can reflect accurate values as swiftly as we can."