Fleeting Glance – A Selection of News Snippets From The Last Week

Fleeting Glance – A Selection of News Snippets From The Last Week

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Fleeting Glance – A Selection of News Snippets From The Last Week

Here’s our weekly look at the world of fleet – and typical of the moment, there’s some good, some bad and some exciting news to share.

Semiconductor Issues Hit Home As UK Car Production Halved

Starting with some fairly sobering news, as the reality of the semiconductor manufacturing issues impact on car manufacturing has come to the fore.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has released data showing that new car production is down nearly 53% for May compared to May in May 2019.

And whilst the figures are actually up ten-fold on May last year – when the country was at near standstill – the concern surrounding car production is further compounded by the fact that 83.6% of cars produced here in the UK are exported – predominantly into the EU.

What this means is that new car stocks are incredibly low and finding cars – let alone great value – is difficult enough, with many new car lead times around six months.

We have managed to source new cars that are in dealer stock at the moment – but new vans are even harder to find.

Whilst the global Covid picture is improving, sporadic outbreaks are causing blockages in the supply chain, and this means the short term picture doesn’t look like there will be much improvement in production volumes anytime soon.

It’s worth bearing in mind here though is that manufacturers are going to be concentrating their efforts either where they can secure their market share, (e.g. by continuing production of electric/hybrid vehicles) and/or focusing on models with higher margins.

Whatever happens, we are on-hand to help you to do the donkey work and find the best deals from the vehicles available.

“Crash for Cash” Wake-up Call for Fleet Operators.

Following a report into “Crash for Cash” incidents by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) calls are being made for Fleet Operators to do more to protect their vehicles and drivers.

The IFB report identified approximately 170000 incidents potentially linked to “Crash for Cash” gangs between October 2019 and December 2020.

Penny Brooks, MD of SmartDrive Systems – providers of in-vehicle camera systems – says the data should provide a huge wake-up call to fleet operators who do not use the technology currently.

Brooks told Fleet News –

“A number of our fleet customers, particularly those operating vans on last mile delivery, have found themselves particular targets of this criminal behaviour. The term ‘fraud’ doesn’t begin to capture the nature of crash for cash offence.”

Brooks goes on to highlight the impact on victims of these crimes.

“ These people are weaponising vehicles and attacking commercial vehicle drivers. This is physically dangerous; it is highly stressful and it can shatter a driver’s confidence. Not to mention the cost to the fleet operator.”

The IFB investigations found the Midlands, the North West and London as prime locations for ‘Crash for Cash’ cases – and the total for claims paid out runs up into the millions.

The message is clear though – Fleet Operators can and should look to secure some form of on-board camera system to protect their assets – both their vehicles and their drivers. To find out more about SmartDrive’s system visit their website here.

BVRLA Urge Government to Help with Cost of Electric Vans

The Plug-in Van grants offer businesses one way to switch to electric vans – but if the ban on diesel van sales is to come to fruition – BVRLA are asking the Government to act now to make electric vans more affordable.

Larger fleet operators have reveled in the positive PR spin of adopting huge swathes of electric vans. Royal Mail, BT and DPD have all gained positive headlines recently for taking on huge numbers of electric vans.

But what about the smaller firms?

BVRLA Call for Government help with EV costs

For many, the plug-in grant is little more than a token gesture and the cost of electric vans is the most prohibitive factor.

So what are the BVRLA suggesting? Well their suggestion is for the Government to tackle the main pain-points as part of a ‘Van Plan’. This includes looking at;

• ringfenced funding for the van sector
• new van charging grants and funding
• ensuring the supply chain caters for vans
• develop van specific targets and requirements for charge point provision and
• dropping the exclusion of rented and leased vans from the super deduction

With increased demand for home delivery – having access to the technology available is crucial.

The cost is the main factor in stopping businesses switching currently, but choice is also a factor.

Electric van technology is lagging so far behind electric car technology, with no real viable options for electric vans with significant towing or long range capability.

The BVRLA are absolute right to bring this to the Government’s attention – and we await to see their reaction.

Fleet Vehicles Experiencing More Breakdowns as Cycles are Prolonged.

Yes, it’s that bloody semiconductor issue causing problems again with yet more knock-on effects.

Fleet management software providers FleetCheck are reporting more breakdowns in client vehicles as a result of the shortage of new van stock.

FleetCheck say many fleet operators renewed existing van arrangements due to the uncertainty at the start of lockdown – and are now facing issues in finding new van stock due to the market as we come out of Covid – and of course as a result of the microchip production issues.

According to FleetCheck, many of the items needing replacing on the vans are often subject to wear and tear – such as clutches, gearboxes and so on, or other factors such as cambelt changes/issues – all of which can be expensive jobs and keep the van off the road.

This obviously impacts on fleet operators looking to fulfill orders as well as looking to keep costs down.

We recently ran an article about checking warranties if existing vehicles are extended, but it seems many businesses are either happy to run the risk, or are simply oblivious to their warranty options.

Our advice would always be to make sure you have safeguards in place to help reduce costs and impact on your day to day running.

The Furniture Market – In-vehicle Driver Coaching Bears Rewards.

And finally this week, when fleet drivers are told their vehicles have in-vehicle training and monitoring tools there is often a roll of the eyes and a feel of “Big Brother’s watching”. We know, we’ve seen it ourselves.

But connect this software up in a positive way – say to a company’s rewards app and reporting software – and everyone could become a winner.

The Furniture Market introduced the “Lightfoot” in-cab driver coaching technology and rewards platform – and has seen marked improvements in driving standards including better acceleration, braking and improved fuel consumption, a reduction in wear and tear on the vehicles and also a reduction by more than half in insurance claims.

These savings are not to be taken lightly, and with drivers benefiting from the rewards systems in place, it seems that far from being there to snoop on bad driving, it is having a real positive influence for all concerned.

If you think your business and your employees could benefit from something like the Lightfoot system – you can visit their website here.

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A Fleeting Glance – News Round-up | 8th-14th June 2021

A Fleeting Glance – News Round-up | 8th-14th June 2021

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A Fleeting Glance – News Round-up | 8th-14th June 2021

Here’s the first in our new series of weekly round-ups of news items for all things fleet over the last seven days.

Bosch to open Semi-Conductor Factory

With the well-documented “semi-conductor” shortage affecting many industries, most notable automotive production – Bosch has announced welcome news of opening a new factory in Dresden, Germany, to focus specifically on semi-conductor production.

The €1 billion (£860m) semiconductor fabrication facility is the largest single investment the company has ever made.

Production starts as early as July –with the first semiconductors made in the new plant to be installed in Bosch power tools. Production for chips for the automotive industry will begin in September.

First “BP Pulse Rapid Charging Hub” Opens in London

The first BP Pulse rapid charging hub for fleet vehicles is now available in the UK. Situated on Park Lane, London, Uber are among its first customers.

With rapid charging available for 10 vehicles simultaneously – BP Pulse plans to more than double its capacity in the coming months and then look to roll-out similar hubs in major Cities across the UK.

Study shows fleet vehicle increase since start of pandemic

A survey by Opinion Matters has revealed some rather interesting statistics in relation to fleet vehicle usage since the pandemic started.

The first interesting point – and somewhat predictable – is that 80% of businesses surveyed have had to adjust their businesses since lockdown.

This has lead to several knock-on effects. The most notable changes are that a quarter of the businesses surveyed has added more vehicles to their fleet (or had to get vehicles) whilst a similar number reported an increase in fleet management running costs.

There has also been a huge shift in how fleets are managed – with almost half surveyed switching vehicle management systems and a third have digitalised their fleet.

What is blatantly obvious is that the shift in business needs is placing a greater emphasis on the role of fleet managers and understanding of fleet vehicles.

Peugeot Charged with Diesel Emission Fraud

Another week, another major vehicle manufacturer has been charged with diesel emission fraud.
French authorities have brought the charges against Peugeot following an investigation into vehicles manufactured between 2009-2015.

Following hot on the heels of fellow French rivals Citroen, investigators say that their investigations found some of the cars produced on-the-road nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions more than 10 times regulatory limits for some models.

BVRLA Highlight Lack of New Vans Is Genuine Concern

The issue in the supply in new vans – particularly for the rental and leasing sectors – is something we have touched on recently, and our concerns are shared by the BVRLA.

Following a survey carried out in May, 90% of respondents said the supply of vans was a problem. Worryingly – almost half of those said it was an extreme barrier when trying to meet customer needs.

The Chief Exec of the BVRLA said

“The van parc is growing exponentially at a rate double that of cars, yet the supply of battery electric vans is an acute problem. Although we have seen an increase in the number of makes and models coming to market, there is a particular dearth of vans capable of long ranges or towing.

“Vans play a vital role in the UK economy with one in ten workers relying on a one to do their job. A special focus on vans is needed if this sector is to achieve parity with the more developed electric car market and the BVRLA will be making recommendations to Government.”

The silver lining though was that most of those surveyed did anticipate things to improve significantly over the next 6 months.

Royal Mail Commit to 3000 More Electric Fleet Vehicles

Following the roll-out of Clean Air Zones, Royal Mail have added a further 3000 electric vehicles in addition to their existing 300 plug-in vehicles.

The new vehicles will be concentrating in the areas with Clean Air Zones and will be being to be used from October onwards.

Working with Peugeot and Mercedes, the Peugeot e-Expert, Mercedes e-Vito and e-Sprinter have been chosen as Royal Mail to ensure a low-emissions per parcel service.

This news comes just days after DPD announced they had order 750 electric vehicles from Maxus, doubling it’s electric fleet to 1500.

And finally….

BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe Is Now Available for Orders

The eagerly-anticipated BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe is now available for orders pending it’s arrival in the UK in November.

The BMW 4 Series Gran Coupe combines some of the practicality of the 4 series into the fun and vigour of a 4 Series Coupe – bringing the best of a lot of worlds into one and making it equally adept for business and pleasure.

With prices starting from £40,465, it comes with a range of petrol and diesel engines, an 8-speed automatic gearbox fitted as standard and the option of rear or all-wheel drive.

We will of course be reviewing the car in more detail this summer and give it the full Fleet Adviser overall review treatment.

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