SMR spend on four year old-plus fleet cars up by more than a half since pandemic

The proportion of fleet SMR spend on fleet cars aged four years old or over has increased by more than a half since the pandemic, rising from 28% in 2018 to 43% in 2022.

Also, the average service, maintenance and repair (SMR) invoice price for those older vehicles is 24% higher than for those aged below four years, showing how keeping them on the road is proving expensive for businesses.

Tim Meadows, CCO, said: “It’s widely recognised that fleet vehicles have been getting older since the pandemic took effect, thanks to much reduced new car supply as well as businesses generally taking out contract extensions. These figures make clear just how radically the age composition of fleets in the UK has changed. This is a dramatic shift.

“The 24% average additional invoice cost shows how much more expensive it is to keep older vehicles in good condition thanks to general wear and tear alongside a greater possibility of major component failure. That equates to just under £50 on every invoice.”

epyx’s data is taken from the company’s 1link Service Network platform, used by major fleets to manage SMR for more than four million company vehicles. It shows that in 2018, total SMR spend was weighted 72% towards vehicles aged under four years and 28% towards four years and over. By 2022, this has changed to 57% under four years and 43% for four years and over.

Tim added: “This situation creates serious challenges for fleet operators. We are working closely with our customers to use our technology to keep SMR costs under control but, as vehicles age further, expenditure will inevitably rise.

“The bigger question is whether this ageing of the fleet will continue? While vehicle supply has improved a little, it is probable that cars are still being replaced at a much lower rate than we saw before the pandemic, so the situation is much more likely to become increasingly acute before we see any improvement.”

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