Latest figures from the Epyx 1link Service Network platform show the average age of vans on Britain’s fleets is rising. And so too are repair costs and downtime.
For the whole of last year, the average age of vans was 3.58 years in 2023, 3.39 in 2022, 3.25 in 2021, 3.16 in 2020 and 3.03 in 2019.
Epyx said the ongoing ageing of vehicles was directly related to the pandemic and accompanying vehicle shortages. It also warned that it would take some time for the metric to stabilise and start to fall.
Tim Meadows, chief commercial officer, said:
This has repercussions for vehicle operations in practical terms. Older vehicles, especially those with higher mileages, will always tend to need more SMR. They especially have an increased propensity for major components to fail, such as gearboxes. This is not just expensive, but means vans spend more time in workshops, unavailable for use.
This is borne out by the Epyx data. Vehicle offroad times – the time between when a car or van enters a workshop and is finally repaired – have increased. In 2023, the average was 1.91 days compared to 1.74 in 2022 and 1.63 in 2021.
Also, there has been an increase in lead times – the average time between when a company van booking was created to when the vehicle went to work – from 11.87 days in 2021 to 12.92 in 2022 to 13.74 in 2023.
Because fleet vehicles are generally needing more SMR as they age, there is more downtime. Again, this is just an unavoidable effect of operating ageing cars and vans. It also means providers of SMR are under pressure to meet the needs of these older fleets. It is a question of an increased degree of demand meeting a level of capacity that is largely unchanged and lead times are continuing to rise.