The global shortage of new commercial vehicles has increased revenues for workshops as owners and operators spend more to keep their older vehicles on the road.
According to ATS Euromaster, the average spend by commercial vehicle owners pre-pandemic was £118 whereas in the first quarter of 2022 it has risen to £138 on average - an increase of 17%.
Mark Holland, operations director at ATS Euromaster, said: “The SMR rise is down to the additional work that is required rather than actual cost, although that may change again as inflationary pressures begin to take hold.
“We’re seeing vans being run for longer than average lifecycles and double-shifted so the mileage and wear is increasing substantially. Meanwhile many of the vans we see at centre are from self-employed last mile delivery drivers who are driving up and down kerbs and so on, all day every day. In turn this means greater costs with wheel alignment, shock and suspension work and damaged tyres on a more regular cycle”
Sales of new light commercial vehicles in March were down 27.6% year-on-year as supplies of large and medium panel vans continue to be constrained.
Registrations of large vans, which represent more than two thirds of the new LCV market, totalled 29,230 units, down 18.9% or 6,802 units on March last year.
In line with extended lifecycles, ATS Euromaster says it has seen an uplift in the demand for brake and suspension repairs, as well as wheel alignment and puncture repairs.
Holland added that the other impact from longer lifecycle running was the demand for emergency repairs.
He said: “We’re seeing an increase for emergency and same day service. And that’s simply because fleets have not kept their vehicles in tip top condition and preventative maintenance has disappeared.
“Drivers think they can just drop their van into our service centres for emergency attention. Whilst I would love that we could service every request ‘there and then’, it is not simply possible 100% of the time. At the moment we’re seeing an increase in drive ins as well as forward maintenance bookings via a variety of channels such as the website or third party partners.
“So I’d urge all fleets managers and drivers to think ahead to ensure their vans receive proper SMR attention before it becomes a critical failure leading to that worst scenario of all - vehicle downtime and cost.”