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Missing equipment Some manufacturers are deleting previously-standard non-essential equipment to keep production going or are offering reduced model ranges. For example, only one version of the Volkswagen ID 3 is available in the UK at the moment. 

Unplanned expense Fleets typically budget for specific lifecycles, and many are having to extend contracts to keep employees on the road. This can mean running vehicles beyond their warranty period, with the potential for expensive maintenance bills and disruptive downtime, especially for hard-working vans. 

Higher tax bills The Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP) has noted ongoing issues for drivers waiting longer than expected electric or plug-in hybrid company cars. With new ultra-low company car tax bands for vehicles officially emitting 50g/km CO2 or less, the knock-on effect of delayed deliveries is excess benefit-in-kind and National Insurance payments.

Used car demand One of the few upshots is a very strong used market, as would-be new car buyers shop around to avoid long waiting times. Following a surge in values during summer 2021, auction prices have settled at around 12% higher than a year ago. That’s good news for fleets trading in end-of-term vehicles, but they could be waiting a while for a replacement.

What can fleets do to minimise disruption?

Shortages will continue into 2023 and, with a large backlog to clear afterwards, it’ll be a while before the market returns to normal. If you’ve got vehicles due to be replaced within months, it’s worth getting that procurement process under way as soon as possible. This will give time to work out a Plan B if necessary (some leasing companies are letting customers extend contracts if deliveries are delayed).

It’s also important to assess which equipment is vital for drivers and don’t rush to take whatever is available. The Association of Fleet Professionals has warned operators to be wary of ‘decontented’ models that are missing safety equipment, as these could cause duty of care issues and affect future residual values. 

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