Fleets are retaining their cars for three years as they use the allure of a company car to retain and recruit staff, Aston Barclay has said.

According to the auction group, annual mileages have fallen recently, but fleets are refraining from extending their replacement cycles to four years or longer to ensure the company car remains a perk of the job.

The remarketing company said the average age of vehicles sold at its auctions in the fourth quarter of 2016 was 38 months, with an average mileage of 48,800 miles – significantly lower than the typical three-year/60,000-mile contracts many fleets take on.

However, some vehicles recorded mileages of 65,000 miles, though the company said this depended on what the car was used for, with solicitors and accountants tending to accrue fewer miles, while cars used by ‘job’ fleets, such as tradespeople, travelled further.

According to Aston Barclay, the average age of vehicles sold in 2016 remained static compared with 2015. Comparison mileage data was not available.

“Good people are in high demand across all industry sectors currently and companies are being extremely careful to maximise all elements of an employee’s package, in particular the company car,” said Martin Potter, Aston Barclay’s group operations director.

“In our experience, extending replacement cycles could impact employee retention or recruitment when rival companies are offering them the chance to replace their car more frequently.”