Getting You Back On The Road

As we all know, accidents do unfortunately happen. That’s why at Lex Autolease, we have an optional specialist service to help you get back on the road, should an incident occur.

However, the issues facing the wider automotive sector, and indeed society at large, are causing delays when it comes to getting our customers back up and running.

A perfect storm

The events of the last few years, and even just the last few months, have caused a number of significant demands to be placed upon the automotive industry’s supply chain.

COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and inflationary pressures are all causing manufacturing delays for replacement parts and increased costs, with some manufacturers seeing delays of up to six months for new parts, with no resolution date in sight.

Inevitably this has led to a reduction in repair capacity across the industry, and jobs are building up with increasing numbers of vehicles off the road for prolonged periods. The average time off road has jumped to an average of 16 days, from 9 days, across the industry.

This has created a perfect storm, with these issues also causing a slowdown in the number of new cars getting on the road, meaning there are fewer courtesy cars available to help get drivers back on the road quickly and safely.

The skills shortage

But it isn’t just the lack of parts - there is also a big shortage in skilled technicians, which is compounding the capacity issue. Due to the increasing complexity of technologies used within modern vehicles, the level of qualification needed has increased, slowing down the number of new technicians coming up through the ranks.

Unsurprisingly, this is increasing competition for staff, which is pushing up wages and then directly translating into a higher cost for the supplier and inevitably the end customer. And these more complex materials needed for repairs are of course more expensive too.

However, it is important to note the positive impact these new technologies have had on reducing the number of collisions and therefore repairs that need to be undertaken. It is hoped that this will have an even greater impact in future as these technologies become even more common.

Softening the blow

Due to the breadth of scale of the issues, no part of the industry is immune to the impact. However, at Lex Autolease, we want to ensure that despite these market challenges we are supporting you as best we can on the near 15,000 repairs we coordinate every year.

We are consistently negotiating with suppliers to ensure we can get help as quickly as possible and keep costs at a manageable level.

Listening to feedback from suppliers is also crucial, and we have been working closely with our network to ensure that we are remaining competitive for our customers and maintaining our strong long-term relationships during this turbulent period.

Planning for the future

With these pressures unlikely to decrease, at least in the short-term, it is important that we begin to consider how to mitigate these risks going forward.

One area we have been working on is utilising recycled green parts where possible to keep costs down and also make a greener choice. This allows our suppliers to source these parts a lot quicker in most cases, so it’s something that we would like to expand where possible in future.

As part of this, our suppliers can also use recycled green parts for temporary repairs if they aren’t fit for long-term use – it’s all about us finding creative ways to get our customers back on the road as quickly as possible. Of course, this all must be done safely but our highly qualified engineers are able to make these assessments efficiently and speed up wait times.

The industry is also working hard to grow its skilled workforce, through initiatives such as Autoraise, which is a new charity pushing apprentices towards careers in the body repair sector, and taking part in roadshows and careers fairs to showcase the jobs that are out there.

Looking ahead

Ultimately, we are here to help you get back on the road quickly. During this turbulent time, we will ensure that we are regularly communicating with you and doing everything we can to keep wait times for repairs, and costs, down.

Unfortunately, this is an issue that is affecting the whole market, but by working collaboratively we hope to mitigate the risks to you as much as possible and keep you and your company on the move.