SHOPPING SHORT: THE IMPACT OF VEHICLE AND DRIVER SHORTAGES ON THE LIFECYCLE OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLES
A shortage of new HGVs, combined with an increasing labour crisis, means that commercial vehicles are now staying on our roads longer than ever before. With HGVs remaining ‘in service’, and therefore clocking up more miles than their predecessors, leading warranty provider WMS Group, is reminding hauliers of the importance of having robust warranty to ensure commercial vehicles can continue to go the extra mile when its needed most.
According to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), the volume of new HGVs registered in the UK during the first half of 2021 was less than 20,000 units – down 28.8% compared to figures from 2019[i]. This is largely due to stock shortages and business uncertainty discouraging greater investment in new equipment. This has a knock-on effect on the almost half a million HGVs on Britain’s roads[ii], which are working harder than ever before to meet the demand of the supply chain.
However, it’s the acute driver shortage – the industry is estimated to be currently lacking around 100,000 drivers – that is having the most significant impact on the existing commercial vehicles on our roads. A halt in driver training during the pandemic coupled with a large volume of drivers returning to the EU last year has meant that remaining drivers are working longer days and travelling more miles than ever before as they work under pressure to keep up with demand. The impact, therefore, is on the vehicles themselves – some of which are covering several thousand miles a week.
Mark Bobbins, Head of Commercial Sales at WMS Group, said:
“Since the start of the pandemic we have seen major changes within the logistics industry. The rise of home deliveries combined with delays on new vehicles has meant a sharp rise in the sales of used LCVs, however when it comes to HGVs we’re seeing a real reluctance from operators to invest in new units when business remains uncertain and supply issues continue. This has led to an ‘aging population’ of HGVs on our roads, which are covering more miles than ever before.
“Generally, however, these aging vehicles are in robust health. Thanks to increased inspections, HGVs undergo more regular safety checks than LCVs and personal vehicles, so are generally very well looked after. That said, when failures happen they often require expensive solutions and even one HGV out of a fleet can have a huge knock-on effect – particularly for smaller hauliers who may only have one or two vehicles, or do not have access to on-demand repairers.
“That is why we’re encouraging HGV operators to plan ahead and make sure they are working with a trusted warranty provider to ensure much-needed peace of mind protection for all circumstances.”