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Advice on tackling coronavirus ‘triple threat’ to fleet SMR

A “triple threat” to service, maintenance and repair is emerging in the wake of the pandemic and needs to be tackled by fleet to keep vehicles safe and compliant.

While fleets are facing money pressures, epyx is urging operators not to let budgets affect vehicle safety

According to epyx, three new factors are placing pressure on SMR: a need to minimise spending at companies hit hard by lockdown; a potential shortage of capacity from SMR providers, notably around MOT testing; and general aging of the company car and van parc as new car supply drops and fleets extend replacement cycles, increasing the need for SMR.

Tim Meadows, vice president and commercial director, said the company was already seeing the trends through its 1link Service Network platform – with the budgetary factor bringing the biggest dangers.

Meadows outlined: “We’re already in unprecedented, tough economic times and they are probably only going to get worse in the short-medium term. Money pressures are becoming very real. What we would say to fleets is to seek advice about strategies that can be adopted to reduce expenditure without potentially straying into areas where safety could suffer.”

He also echoed ongoing concerns about issues with SMR capacity. With the six-month extension to testing now coming to an end at the start of August, MOT stations are likely to be under pressure and epyx is already advising fleets to book ahead now to avoid a very real possibility of being unable to book a test in the coming weeks and months; forcing vehicles off the road.

Meadows also pointed to the very sudden drop in new car supply into the market –new car sales are expected to fall by 27% this year, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders – allied with a tendency to extend vehicle fleet cycles during difficult times, will potentially create complications.

“The SMR profile of a three year old vehicle is quite different to a four year old one, and different again if you move into a fifth year. It means keeping a much closer watch on the roadworthiness of cars and vans,” he continued.

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Written by Natalie Middleton

Natalie has nearly 20 years of fleet journalism experience, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.

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