Approximately one-third or more of fleets will extend the service life for their passenger cars and light-duty trucks, following the impact COVID-19 has had on their operations, according to Automotive Fleet’s latest Coronavirus Pulse Survey.
Other highlights of the survey include analysis on the impact of acquisition volume, total cost of ownership (TCO), impact on fleet budget and expenses, and other key areas essential to fleet.
The survey found that 35% of fleets are extending the service life of passenger cars into the next model year. A somewhat larger majority (41%) said that the service life of light-duty trucks is currently being extended, and that 37% will extend the service life of trucks into the next model year.
Trends on vehicle acquisition volumes were also tracked in the survey, which found that a majority of respondents (40%) said that vehicle acquisition volumes would remain unchanged over the next three months. However, 27% in the survey reported they would be acquiring fewer vehicles. Another 15% said it was too early to tell, and much smaller percentage (7%) said they would be acquiring more vehicles.
On overall fleet budget predictions for the next three months, 42% of fleets said they were concerned budges would be reduced, and another 37% said they were unconcerned. Those who were concerned about budget reductions guesstimated that reductions seen could be anywhere from 6% - 10%
A majority of respondents (37%) also noted that TCO has remained the same amid the pandemic. However, 24% said that TCO was lower, and another 15% said it was too early to tell. Meanwhile, 17% reported TCO was higher.
When asked if COVID-19 had stimulated interest in the adoption of new technology productivity solutions, more than half (68%) said no and another 21% said it was too early to tell.’
Meanwhile, a smaller percentage (13%) said yes, it did stimulate interest in adopting these technologies. Technologies that generated the most interest as a result of the pandemic were driver safety/monitoring technology and telematics/fleet tracking capabilities.
Impact on Fleet Policy
A large portion of respondents, over 80%, were taking actions to protect the health of employees during the pandemic. The survey found that fleets were providing masks (89%), providing hand sanitizer (88%), providing cleaning solutions (87%), enforcing social distancing practices (84%), and providing gloves (81%).
Other fleet policy changes that were observed individually in the survey included only allowing one person per vehicle; adding no-contact delivery and new disinfecting steps; daily vehicle cleanings; and more. Additionally, 64% said that they were limiting or completely eliminating business travel, and 58% said that meetings would be now be conducted over the internet or via phone.
Most fleets in the survey (66%) said that work-from-home capabilities were optional for some of their employees, though 31% said that this was not feasible. A much smaller percentage (2%) said that work-from-home solutions could apply for all employees, and another 1% were unsure.
Additional Operational Impact
A large percentage of respondents in the survey were deemed an essential service by the government to some capacity; 73% said that they were deemed essential for their entire business and 20% were deemed essential for some business units. Only 4% were not deemed essential.
Most fleets (64%) also said they had not experienced any lay offs or furloughs in their workforce as a result of the pandemic, while 32% said that they had.
A majority of fleets also reported a decrease in fuel spend, during the month of April 2020, with most noting a decrease of fuel expenses of more than 20%.
With regards to maintenance spend during the month of April, 39% said expenses had decreased, and another 37% said that maintenance expenses had not changed at all. Similarly, a portion of fleets observed replacement tire expenses had seen decreases in April (33%) and 38% said that these expenses had not changed at all.