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LENGTHENING delays to new car and van deliveries could place an increased level of emphasis on fleet maintenance.

Peter Golding, managing director at software specialist FleetCheck, said that because of the current semiconductor shortage, Brexit and the impact of the coronavirus, manufacturers were quoting delivery times of up to a year on some models.

“While the situation is very patchy to say the least, from manufacturer to manufacturer and model to model, we are seeing probably the worst new car and van supply situation that any of us working in the fleet industry have ever experienced.

“This creates a variety of issues but probably the most significant is that it means that businesses will have to keep operating vehicles that were planned for replacement for longer – and sometimes much longer.

“The biggest impact of this will be on maintenance. Fleets need to ensure that they have plans in place that will keep these vehicles operating in a safe and efficient manner.”

Golding said that issues were potentially more likely to develop among commercial vehicle fleets, given the pressures under which they have been operating during the pandemic.

“If you have a three year old car that has spent much of the last year being used much less than planned because of the rise of remote meetings during the coronavirus crisis, then extending its replacement to four years requires some intervention but is relatively simple.

“The picture is possibly going to be different for vans. There are a lot of light commercial vehicles that have undergone heavy usage over the last year in everything from front line pandemic services to home shopping. Not being able to replace a van that is already six years old and already perhaps already considered well past its prime by its operator is an issue.

“Fleets need to look at these vehicles very closely and perhaps step up the inspections regime that they are undergoing. It is all about doing as much as possible to ensure safety and reliability, that these vehicles are fit for use in both a personal and operational sense.

“Certainly, we are now having in-depth conversations with some of our customers who are finding that they cannot easily replace their most aged vans and advising them on maintenance measures that should be taken, almost on a vehicle-by-vehicle basis.”

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