Christmas is one of the busiest times of the year for commercial vehicle fleet managers, especially as the popularity of internet shopping has increased year on year. These days nearly everyone orders at least one of their Christmas presents online which needs to be delivered using some form of commercial vehicle. So what does this mean for commercial vehicle fleets in the near future? VanQuoteDirect investigates:
Worries over Christmas Shortages
We are only a few days into December yet we have already seen reports claiming that a number of companies don’t have enough vehicles in their fleets to meet demand. According to the fleet management and fleet funding specialist Lex Autolease, a number of companies will more than likely struggle due to the fact they haven’t invested in extra vehicles for the festive period.
Marcus Puddy, director and head of commercial vehicles at Lex Autolease, said: “Q4 is a notoriously busy period for commercial vehicles with couriers at full capacity delivering goods from a growing e-commerce sector. As large retailers often start their Christmas shopping preparations immediately after Boxing Day, short term rental lots will be largely empty by November. With the economic recovery still fragile, it is vital that businesses of all sizes put themselves in the best position to capitalise on any pre-Christmas spike in sales.
“Fleet managers need to start to addressing their festive vehicle requirements as early as possible or risk being left out in the cold. A shortage of quality stock to service strong demand has also pushed average LCV prices to an all-time high. We are working closely with businesses to ensure that they are exploring all the relevant funding and supply options to fulfil their commercial vehicle requirements.”
Positivity for 2014
Even though there are worries over companies not being able to fulfil their delivery quotas over the next few months, there is a sense of optimism for the commercial vehicle market in 2014. According to new data from British Car Auctions (BCA) returning confidence in the UK economy has led to more companies thinking of investing in new vehicles next year in order to expand their fleets. Duncan Ward, BCA’s General Manager, Commercial Vehicles said: “Professional buyers – the retail dealers who want vehicles for their forecourts – are competing strongly for a relatively limited supply of vehicles.”
“Commercial vehicles entered for sale by company fleets and corporate operators are highly prized because they often come with a comprehensive service history and just one owner’s name in the log book. Professional buyers who typically buy corporate vans at auction are finding they have to bid harder and higher to secure the same stock and this trend is set to continue over the coming months.”
Preparing your Commercial Vehicle Fleet for 2014
As we have shown, having a meagre commercial vehicle fleet may no longer be beneficial for your company, and while during the recession it was wise to be cautious, now is the time to start investing in new vehicles. Further data from the BCA has shown that the value of vehicles is increasing, with the average value of vans purchased by fleet managers increasing by £110. This may be one of the reasons why we have also seen a decrease in the amount of people choosing to hire vans instead of buy them outright, especially as many manufacturers now also offer competitive finance and van insurance after-sales packages.
Right now, it is of the utmost importance for fleet managers to make sure they have enough vehicles to fulfil their duties over the Christmas period, especially if they work in the delivery or logistics industries. If you think you may not have enough vehicles you will need to weigh up the pros and cons of purchasing a new one, including whether it will be financially beneficial in the New Year once the Christmas rush is over. Don’t forget to also perform a thorough check on all the vehicles currently in your fleet, that way you won’t experiencing them breaking down and having them off the road when you need them the most.
The end of 2013 is set to be extremely busy for fleet managers, and with the economy improving it looks as though 2014 may be even busier. As a fleet manager, you need to make sure your vehicles are ready to be used on a more frequent basis and that you have your business ready to take on new clients in the near future.