Average age of fleet cars and vans continued to rise in 2023

VWFS Vehicles

Our new data shows that, in 2023, the average age of fleet cars and vans continued to rise.

The average age of a fleet car in 2023, at the point of service or repair, was 3.00 years, compared to 2.86 in 2022, 2.74 in 2021, 2.55 in 2020 and 2.40 in 2019.

For vans, the corresponding figures were 3.58 years old in 2023, 3.39 in 2022, 3.25 in 2021, 3.16 in 2020 and 3.03 in 2019.

Tim Meadows, Chief Commercial Officer said: “One of the persistent effects of the pandemic for fleets has been an ongoing ageing of the vehicles they operate. While we’re now in a situation where something of a recovery has taken place, car and van production over the last few years has been much reduced.

“What is perhaps surprising in looking at our statistics, bearing in mind that vehicle supply has improved substantially, is that the rate of ageing does not appear to be slowing and is still increasing for both cars and vans. It’s clearly going to take some time for this metric to stabilise and start to fall.

“This has very real repercussions for vehicle operations in practical terms. Older, especially those with higher mileages, will always tend to need more SMR. They especially have an increased propensity for major components to fail, such as gearboxes. This is not just expensive, but means cars and vans spend more time in workshops, unavailable for use.”

Our data reflects this fact. Vehicle off road times – the time between when a car or van enters a workshop and is finally repaired – have increased with the average being 1.91 days in 2023 compared with 1.74 days in 2022 and 1.63 days in 2021.

There has also been an increase in lead times – the average time between when a company car or van booking was created to when the vehicle went in to have work done – from 11.87 days in 2021 to 12.92 days in 2022 and 13.74 in 2023.

Tim continued: “Because fleet vehicles are generally needing more SMR as they age, there is more downtime. Again, this is just an unavoidable effect of operating ageing cars and vans.

“It also means providers of SMR are under pressure to meet the needs of these older fleets. It is a question of an increased degree of demand meeting a level of capacity that is largely unchanged, and lead times are continuing to rise.

These findings highlight the need for fleets to proactively examine their SMR strategies regularly, Tim said, to take out the maximum useability and value from older fleet assets.

“Fleets are very much in a position where the cost of parts and labour is rising, while their need for SMR is also increasing thanks to these ageing fleets. We’re engaged in ongoing conversations with many of our customers about the best ways that our technology can be used to minimise spending in this area as much as possible and there are many interesting and effective measures being put in place.”

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