SILVERSTONE Fleet Management has said that continued issues in vehicle supply have created a frustrating and turbulent trading period for both the firm and the industry in general. 

A combination of Brexit, worldwide pandemic, fuel shortages and rising costs, plus vehicle supply problems largely because of semi-conductor shortages have been bad enough. The recent conflict in Ukraine has hindered things further because of shortages in parts made in the war-torn nation, creating yet further set-backs.

The Northampton-based leasing broker has had a “relentless” time of things for the past few years, with setbacks on top of setbacks creating yet longer waiting times.

At the moment, with all that’s going on, it’s really causing major issues in the whole industry. It is very turbulent to say the least – in fact it’s relentless.

When we came out of lockdown we had the semiconductor issues as all the chips had been used for home entertainment such as plasma televisions and PlayStations when people couldn’t go out.

A lot of our customers wanted to treat themselves to a new car, which was fantastic, but there was a massive global shortage of vehicles. Demand was extremely high, but supply started to struggle.

They built more factories to create more semiconductors quickly and things were freeing up a bit. We thought we’d go into 2022 all guns blazing, but then Russia invaded Ukraine.

Scott Norville, managing director, Silverstone Fleet Management

Part of the wire that builds the semiconductors that are in short supply is manufactured in Ukraine, the only country in the world that makes that specific wire. On top of that, many other parts are made in the country, including wiring looms for many manufacturers. With the current conflict, it is almost impossible to source these parts. Scott added:

People are cancelling their orders and then realising they can’t get anything else sooner. It used to be that customers had to wait six months – worst case scenario – for a new vehicle but some cars now have three-year waits. Long delays are now the norm.

The whole SFM team are working 10 times as hard but not getting anywhere near the same result as the month before through no fault of their own and that is really tough.

It’s a hard graft for us right now. A lot of our customers are as frustrated as we are, and we continue to do our best to manage their expectations and be as honest and transparent as possible when we are taking orders.

Scott is urging anyone looking to change their car in the nest year to start looking at options now. Silverstone Fleet Management is going back to their existing renewal customers 18 months in advance in an attempt to make sure that vehicles will be supplied when required.

This is especially relevant for those looking at electric cars, with huge surges in demand in recent months. With many businesses trying to hit net zero by 2030, the demand for EVs is greater than ever before, particularly with company car tax benefits available for both employer and employees.

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