Fleets need to manage safety “triple threat”
As businesses have started to emerge from the coronavirus crisis, epyx has been tracking a series of trends that could pose a danger to company car and van safety.
We’re calling it a “triple threat” to service, maintenance and repair (SMR) that is starting to become visible through our 1link Service Network platform, used by fleets totalling four million vehicles.
What are these three factors? Firstly, there is the need to minimise spending at companies hit hard by lockdown. Secondly, there remains a potential shortage of capacity from SMR providers, notably around MOT testing. Finally, because new car sales are expected to fall by 27% this year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders*, there is going to be a general ageing of the company car and van parc, increasing the need for SMR.
Tim Meadows, Vice President and Commercial Director at epyx, said: “We’ve been looking closely at how coronavirus is likely to affect SMR over the next few months and into next year, and these triple threat factors are the main trends we have identified.
“In a sense, the budgetary factor is the main one. We’re already in unprecedented, tough economic times and they are probably only going to get worse in the short-medium term. Money pressures are becoming very real. What we would say to fleets is to seek advice about strategies that can be adopted to reduce expenditure without potentially straying into areas where safety could suffer.
“There is also potentially a short term issue with SMR capacity. With the six month extension to testing, now coming to an end on the 31st of July, MOT test stations are likely to be under pressure. We are already advising fleets to book ahead now. From the end of September, there is a genuine possibility that you may not be able to get a test which, of course, will force vehicles off the road.
“Finally, the very sudden drop in new car supply into the market, allied with a tendency to extend vehicle fleet cycles during difficult times, will potentially create complications. The SMR profile of a three year old vehicle is quite different to a four year old one, and different again if you move into a fifth year. It means keeping a much closer watch on the roadworthiness of cars and vans.”
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