Fleets are extending their replacement cycles for cars and vans, as a result of the pandemic and the reduction in car manufacturing.

Before the pandemic cars were generally used by fleets for four to five years and vans for three to four years, but these periods are being extended by about a year for each class of vehicle. The increased replacement times are due mainly to the reduced usage because of the pandemic and greater hybrid working patterns, but also the raw material shortage which is having such a significant impact on car production.

Fleets are simply having problems finding replacement vehicles.

Going beyond a three-year cycle is important because this moves most vehicles beyond the period covered by manufacturer’s warranties, while also requiring an MOT test. Fleets have to put more resources into their maintenance capacity, with vehicles more likely to develop faults, and there are also HR implications.

“What has become clear over the last few months is that the fleets with which we work do not seem to view these extensions as a one-off. In the future, they plan to operate vehicles for longer on an ongoing basis,” said Peter Golding, manager of FleetCheck, the leading fleet management software provider.

“Additionally, the HR angle is very particular to each employer but, in some industries and some job roles, it is very much expected that a new car will be provided every three years. At a time when recruitment and retention is markedly difficult, this is a genuine issue,” added Golding.

EVs are also having an effect on lifetimes of fleet vehicles, as they suffer less wear and tear and are comparatively cheaper to maintain than petrol or diesel vehicles.