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Your quick guide to 'fleet speak' - fleet industry terminology, in plain English.


The money you pay at the beginning of your contract – usually as an initial payment.
Anything you own that is worth something commercially. The value of an asset can be financial (money, stocks, bonds, shares, invoices, securities), physical (buildings, machinery, cars, land), or intrinsic (qualities, skills, attributes).


The final payment you make on certain finance agreements. This often takes the form of a ‘future predicted value’.
Large rear doors. Usually open outwards from the van rear.
Popular flat-bed truck used to transport other smaller vehicles.
It's usually based on each vehicle's 'List Price', including VAT, additional options and other manufacturer charges, and enables the tax office to work out how much you owe them for using a company vehicle. Please refer to the HMRC website for more information.
The type of body on the vehicle, such as an estate.
A van with a load area that is cuboid-shaped.
‘BHP’ is a measurement of how much horsepower a vehicle’s engine generates, after the loss in power caused by various components such as the gearbox, generator, water pump, alternator, power steering pump etc that are also consuming energy.
A specific, mobile service designed to help drivers when they break down. Whether at home, on the road or abroad, the recovery service repairs their vehicle or rescues them and gets them home if it can’t be fixed.
A third party who facilitates the sale of goods, arrangement of finance or other services between a buyer and a seller usually for a commission or a fee. A broker would represent either the buyer or the seller, but not both at the same time.
Trade Body for the vehicle rental and leasing sector.
The partition that separates the van cab from its load area. The bulkhead comes in several forms - including full-height, half-height, windowed, and with a grille or mesh fitted.


An area inside the van cab where the driver and passengers sit.
Produces used and future residual value data, new vehicle data, technical information and asset management support systems for the motor industry.
A vehicle’s unique identification number – provided by CAP.
A payment an employee receives from their company instead of a car. The payment is usually made through salary and is subject to income tax and national insurance deduction.
Also known as Carbon Dioxide, a vehicle's CO2 emissions are measured in g/km. This information can be used to assess a vehicle's environmental impact, and is also used to determine company car tax and road fund license costs.
A van that has been designed based on a car.
The most basic van on the market. Features a cab and open ladder chassis, and can be converted into a tipper, dropside or box van.
A van that’s been modified by a third-party, such as an ice-cream or kebab van.
Compact vehicle, typically with lower-end power and higher fuel economy.
The usage definition of a vehicle – for example 4x4, hatchback, convertible.
A vehicle is leased for a pre-determined period. The leasing company that owns the vehicle contracts with the customer to pay a fixed monthly rental over a set period (usually 3 to 5 years) for the use of the vehicle. At the end of the contract the customer returns the vehicle to the leasing company.
An agreed annual mileage, applicable during the contract term. At the contract end, any mileage travelled in excess of the pre-agreed limit is usually charged for.
The agreed time period that a hire or leasing contract will last.
An 'On-Balance-Sheet' funding method for businesses. The vehicle cost is paid back in regular monthly sums. At the end of the contract, the organisation or the driver can buy the vehicle if they wish, using a balloon figure / guaranteed value.
The type of contract agreement that applies between a customer and a finance company.
A vehicle with a retracting roof.
Usually a hard-top sports car or a sporty variant of a particular model.
A pre-specified points system that finance companies use to assess a customer’s credit rating.
A van with an extra row of seats to carry more passengers.
A van with a roof and curtain sides.


Where an individual or organisation rents a vehicle on a day-by-day basis.
An additional charge imposed by the leasing company, to pay for vehicle damage that exceeds the acceptable standard laid out in the BVRLA fair wear and tear guidelines.
A document recording delivery of a vehicle to an individual or organisation.
The value that a vehicle loses during the life of its contract. Put another way, it’s the difference between the vehicle’s original purchase price and its residual sale price at the end of its contract.
When underwriting a vehicle contract, the finance company may ask one or more of the customer company’s Directors to endorse it with their personal guarantee.
The sale or de-fleeting of a vehicle when its contract has finished.
A van that comes with two rows of seats for extra capacity.
A van with shallow sides that drop down for easy access. Particularly practical for outdoor trades such as building and gardening.
Part of the Health and Safety Act 1974, this legislation requires employers to ensure the health, safety and welfare of their employees in the workplace at all times. From a fleet perspective, this relates to the management of ‘on-road risk’.


The customer, or the leasing company wishes to end the vehicle leasing contract early before the scheduled end date. When this happens the customer usually has to pay an early termination charge as detailed in their contract.
Acronym for Employee car ownership plan/scheme.
Typically provided as incentives by a company to motivate its employees. These benefits may include a company car allowance or pension scheme.
A more spacious vehicle. Usually has five doors.
A charge element of certain finance agreements. Usually measured in pence per mile, it applies when the vehicle exceeds its agreed mileage for a particular time period.


Upgrades and additions made to a standard vehicle specification. Typically these are applied when the vehicle is manufactured, and an extra cost is added to cover them.
A BVRLA (British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association) guide which states the conditions that constitute fair wear and tear at the end of a lease.
Funds a vehicle for a pre-specified period of time – usually between 2 and 5 years. Unlike contract hire, the lessee takes on the risk for the vehicle’s residual value.
The finance element of the rental cost.
An independent governing body which regulates the UK’s financial services industry.
A van with no sides or roof behind its cab. Usually used for loads that require a crane.
Occurs when a customer enters into an extended contract lasting an agreed period of time.
A vehicle with an engine that drives all four wheels. This helps create extra traction.
Used as an extra rack and fitted to the side of the van.
Payment cards used specifically to buy fuel and related items – such as a car wash or oil.
Another name for the finance company. As the name suggests, the funder provides funds for the lease or hire of a vehicle.


Guaranteed Minimum Future Value / Guaranteed Future Value. The predicted value of the vehicle at a future point in time.
Business miles driven by employees in their own vehicles. These are claimed back by them, at a fixed rate in pence per mile.
The maximum permitted weight for the van and any towed trailer – including loads.
A van’s maximum permitted weight, including its fuel, driver, passengers and load.


Typically, a hire purchase agreement is a regulated credit agreement that incurs interest. The finance company retains title in the vehicle and the customer makes monthly repayments for it under the terms of the agreement. When all payments have been made, the title of the vehicle transfers to the customer so they own the vehicle outright.
See "Lessee"
See "Hire Purchase"
A database containing information about a vehicle, including confirmation that it has no outstanding finance, the correct number of registered keepers and recorded mileage.
A vehicle powered by both an internal combustion engine and an electric motor.


Determines the cost of insurance for a specific vehicle based on value, performance (0-60mph and top speed), parts costs and security levels.
See "Broker".


A van’s weight when it’s empty.


The term for goods vehicles that have a maximum allowed mass of over 3.5 tonnes.
Light Commercial Vehicle.
The estimated length of time for a vehicle to arrive at the dealership, following its order.
A pre-defined agreement for a specific period of time, serviced with regular payments. The lessor retains ownership of the vehicle during the period of the agreement.
The organisation or individual who has leased the vehicle.
The finance company leasing the vehicle to the individual or organisation.
A van designed to carry live animals, usually farm animals.
The space available inside the van for the load.
The minimum distance between the van’s wheel arches and the maximum distance between its walls.
A van designed in a box style but with a shape that extends over the cab area to create more load space.
The distance between the middle of the van’s front wheel to the middle of its rear wheel is the wheelbase. These are different measurements to determine the length of the van.


Can be added to the contract as an option. Typical routine maintenance items include servicing and tyres.
A basic price before options, VAT or discounts have been applied.
The maximum weight of un-braked trailer that a van is permitted to tow, as quoted by its manufacturer.
A warranty offered on new vehicles by the manufacturer.
An agreement signed by the customer and funder at the beginning of the contract.
A small van with a box-like body and often a large boot at the rear.
The total number of miles allowed to be driven in a vehicle, as stipulated on the contract.
A van that’s been converted into a passenger minibus.
A pre-agreed monthly payment made to the finance company by the lessee, a combination of Finance and Service rental.
Managed by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA). By law, all vehicles over three years old require an annual MOT to ensure they meet road safety and environmental standards.
A multipurpose vehicle.


Used by both company car users and the Inland Revenue to calculate personal taxation on a company vehicle.
A van with a rigid, non-articulated body. This design is available in a wide range of shapes and sizes.
A van’s maximum permissible goods weight.
Determines the rentals and frequency of payments made to the finance house.
The unit in which any excess mileage is charged on a contract, over and above your pre-agreed mileage limit.
Typically a small annual payment made at the end of a Finance Lease Agreement to allow continued use of a particular asset.
Similar to a hire purchase agreement (see above) however the monthly repayments are typically lower than HP because the final payment due is a lump sum based on the predicted value of the vehicle at the end of the contract term.
A van that has been designed with a pick-up load area at the rear.
Plywood lining inside a van’s load area.
Usually used on larger fleets to offer the ability to group individual vehicle mileages across the whole fleet in a pool.
Before any new vehicle is delivered, a PDI is carried out to make sure it meets manufacturer standards.
The price offered by the finance company in situations where the individual or organisation wants to buy a vehicle at end of contract.


A unique seven-character code which the DVLA gives to every vehicle. The first two letters denote the location where the vehicle was registered. The two numbers indicate when. The last three letters are random, to ensure uniqueness and improve security.
An agreement that is regulated by the Consumer Credit Act.
The time period that a vehicle is kept for before it is naturally replaced.
A substitute vehicle that is provided when something goes wrong with the original vehicle.
A figure used to forecast vehicle value after a specified length of time.
Vehicle excise duty, payable on all vehicles.
See "Breakdown Recovery"
Vertically-sliding doors on a van.
Provides greater storage space outside the confines of the van by using the roof.


An agreement where an organisation sells a vehicle they own to a leasing company, who then lease the vehicle to them at a fixed monthly rate. The initial sale provides the company with an injection of capital.
Typically a four-door vehicle with a separate boot compartment.
Vehicle servicing is carried out on a regular basis, determined either by how many miles it has travelled or how many months have elapsed since its last service. These intervals are specified by the vehicle manufacturer.
Covers service elements of a lease such as vehicle maintenance, tyres and breakdown.
Sliding doors which enable loading from the side of the van.
A van with one row of seats.
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – the trade association for the UK motor industry.
Service Maintenance & Repair.
Distributes rentals over the entire life of the contract for more manageable payments. This means there is no rental-free period when the contract ends.


On pick-ups, dropsides and tippers, the tailgate panel stops any of the load from falling out of the back of the van.
A hydraulic platform used to lift goods up to the load area.
In the UK, this runs from 6th April – 5th April the following year, and is governed by the Inland Revenue.
Designed to help in vans carrying chilled foodstuffs or similar.
Used to describe the length of a contract.
A specific payment profile which includes upfront amounts which have a corresponding payment free period at the end of the contract.
A commercial vehicle with hydraulic tipping gear. This pushes the front of the load area up, to tip its load onto the floor.
The maximum braked trailer weight that a van is allowed to pull.
Security system fitted in high-value vehicles to protect them from theft and deter criminal damage.
A process to ensure every van adheres to required environmental and safety standards.


A vehicle registration document. Issued by the DVLA, it includes key information such as the current owner’s name and address, together with the details of its two previous registered keepers. The V5 also lists the vehicle’s colour, make, model, engine number and vehicle identification number.
A Vehicle on Hire certificate that allows a rented or leased vehicle to travel abroad.
Vehicle & Operator Services Agency – the organisation tasked with ensuring safer roads and vehicle conditions in the UK.


The total cost of running a vehicle for its current life. This sum considers depreciation, servicing, fuel and other related costs.