Fleet Vehicle Availability Increases As Chip Shortage Eases
New figures from UK vehicle manufacturing show that production increased for the third consecutive month in July 2022.
Total production was up by 8.6% as the component shortage begins to ease and more fleet vehicles become available.
However, experts have warned that it may be some time until there is the same level of availability as before the pandemic, with output still down 46% on pre-pandemic levels.
The Global Chip Shortage
The global chip shortage has caused significant issues in the vehicle market, with fleets particularly affected due to the high usage of vehicles and the need for replacement cycles.
Many manufacturers halted production on certain lines for some time, turning their attention to more popular and in-demand ranges to prioritise production whilst availability was affected.
It meant that despite fleet owners getting their replacement cycles underway, they didn’t see new vehicles for a significant length of time due to delays. And many were unable to source new vehicles at all, leading to vehicles being used well beyond their ordinary lifespan.
The knock-on effect of the delays has meant that more and more light commercial vehicles have entered the fifth and sixth years of their lifespan.
With increasing miles on the clock and natural wear and tear on parts, mechanical breakdowns become more likely – which is what we’ve witnessed.
It is commonplace for commercial vehicles to hit the 100,000-mile mark, but fleet owners are reporting figures well beyond that. This is causing mechanical failures you wouldn’t ordinarily expect and resulting in unexpected costs for repairs.
According to the report, fleet owners are experiencing issues with several key vehicle components. Gearboxes are the most severely impacted vehicle part, while the clutch and cambelt are being replaced where they might not otherwise have had to.
The issue is that these are expensive components to replace, and fleet owners most likely won’t have budgeted for it, particularly when they’ve already started the process of replacing vehicles.
The Future Of Fleet Vehicle Availability
With the pressure on businesses to electrify their fleet increasing, more availability would be a huge boost to ensure that vehicles are running safely and without issues.
The reality is that the next decade will see significant changes in the way the UK’s vehicles operate, with the majority set to be electric vehicles.
While the volume of electric cars on the second-hand market is still relatively small (because many are still within 2-3 years of production), that figure is only going to grow…
But for fleets, the increase in the number of available options for electric vehicle models will help decrease costs and make it a more realistic prospect in the short term.
Are you due to begin your replacement cycle? If so, have you thought about when the right time is to make the switch to Electric Vehicles? Let us know in the comments below.