Europcar has launched what it calls a “Back to Work” offer, aimed at employees that live too far from their workplace to walk or cycle, but are nervous about using public transport.Available until 30 June, the company is charging from £12 per day for flexible car hire on bookings of seven days or more, with free collection and delivery and unlimited additional drivers on bookings of 28 days or more.
Manchester has joined Bath, Birmingham and Leeds in delaying its clean air zone introduction due to Coronavirus. The project has been postponed until 2022.
Ford has been offering extended use of its short-term demo fleet to emergency service customers during the pandemic. The company has more than 130 emergency service contracts across the UK, and has more than of its 5000 cars and commercial vehicles in operation on emergency service fleets.
IAM Roadsmart has issued guidance for drivers with flat batteries, warning that it’s not possible to jump start all cars. If the car’s manual says it is possible to jump start, the organisation’s tips include ensuring keyless start models’ keys in a pocket as they can lock themselves if a restart is attempted with a flat battery.
Groupe PSA has introduced a new complete antibacterial refresh service across its Citroen, DS, Peugeot and Vauxhall retailer network. The £99 operation includes a comprehensive clean of the air conditioning system, replacement of pollen filters, 29-point vehicle health check of key components and parts and an internal and external disinfection of the vehicle. The company’s social distancing and hygiene guidelines also include contactless drop-off arrangements and collection and delivery from home or work locations.
The used car market is beginning to show signs of increased activity, with a rise in the number of dealers acquiring new stock online, according to Cazana. Helped by the introduction of socially distanced delivery and, according to the firm, increasing business and consumer confidence, more dealers are able to complete the transaction process, leading to increasing sales volumes.
Arval has introduced a programme called The Journey Goes On, designed to help ease the process out of lockdown. The three main pillars are adapted operations to comply with social distancing and driver safety, flexible, shorter-term leasing solutions available immediately to help businesses restart, and sustainable and alternative mobility solutions.
Drivers are increasingly flouting speed limits while the roads are quieter during the Coronavirus crisis, according to data amassed by VisionTrack. Despite a 22.6% drop in the number of miles driven, the company said instances of speeding are up 2.6%. However harsh braking, turning and acceleration instances are all down by at least 12.6%. “These findings show that fleet and transport operations cannot lose focus or become complacent about the dangers of irresponsible and illegal driving,” said Richard Lane, Commercial Director of VisionTrack. “With less vehicles on the road there is a temptation to drive faster than normal, but there is still a high number of vulnerable road users that are particularly at risk. Businesses need to engage with their drivers to ensure they understand their responsibilities during the lockdown and are aware of the potential threat not only to life but also brand reputation.”
Online vehicle remarketing company Adesa has claimed that the way defleeted cars are remarketed will undergo a “paradigm shift” from physical auctions to online as COVID-19 lockdown measures are eased.
The used car market is showing signs of recovery, according to Cap HPI, which said data volumes increased by 70% in the week commencing 4 May versus a fortnight earlier. It said wholesale selling prices increased from around £4000 to over £7000. “The movements we are currently seeing in the middle of this pandemic are by no means seismic,” said Cap HPI head of valuations Darren Martin. ““We are now in a position to confidently move values in line with the market, taking a prudent approach using our editorial expertise, no algorithms, to analyse the data.”
CD Auctions has become the latest auction company to restart online operations, recommencing with immediate effect. The company will host a van sale today and car sale today in response to customer demand. “We expect sales through digital channels via mobile devices to account for over 60% of volumes for the rest of 2020 and continue to grow as buyers seek remote solutions,” said managing director Andy Brown. “We also anticipate that more vendors will look to our off-site service to limit the movement of vehicles and exposure of people supporting the remarketing supply chain.”
The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association has published a 20-page guide to support those working the rental and leasing sector. “This health crisis is not going to disappear any time soon and we must now look ahead at how we can support businesses in this new, post-pandemic environment,” said BVRLA chief executive Gerry Keaney. “Ensuring that they can operate safely is key and this new guide will support that.” The 20-page guide is available at https://www.bvrla.co.uk/resource/a-guide-to-operating-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.html
The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and National Franchised Dealer Association have published joint sector-specific guidance to help ensure showrooms are safe spaces for employees and customers. “People need cars to get back to work. Often, getting work done requires the use of a vehicle,” said Sue Robinson, NFDA Director. “It is positive that the automotive industry is working together to resume business as soon as possible in line with the government’s guidelines. The guidance will allow automotive retailers to provide the best possible service in sales and aftersales while protecting staff and guests.”
Ford has confirmed that it will restart manufacturing at its Dagenham and Bridgend plants from 18 May, which will start up at the same time as the firm’s Valencia engine factory in Spain to complete a full set of the company’s manufacturing operations in Europe back in action.
Coronavirus should be added to fleet risk policies, off the back of new Government advice for employees working in or from vehicles, according to FleetCheck. “The fact is that coronavirus is going to be very much part of everyday fleet management for the foreseeable future and that businesses need to tackle the issue as proactively as possible,” said Peter Golding, managing director at FleetCheck. “There is undoubtedly an argument for integrating the Government’s strategies and more into your overall, written risk management policy. Until there is a vaccine or a cure for coronavirus, it is going to have be managed and you should have a written infrastructure.”
The new Association of Fleet Professionals has reported a 20% increase in use of its training courses during the lockdown, which is being attributed to fleet decision makers using additional time currently available to them to improve their skills and qualifications.
Enterprise Holdings has launched a Complete Clean Car programme across its global operations, including Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car. The company said it is committed to maintaining the “highest standards of cleanliness in the car rental industry” and has relaunched and expanded its cleaning protocols.
Manheim has resumed its auction programme, with the first online-only sale taking place from 10am. Trade-only stock will be available through Buy Now and Simulcast auction, with Simulcast fees on hold until further notice.
There will be a “surge” of used cars released into the wholesale market once lockdown restrictions permit used car retailers to open their showrooms, according to online remarketer Adesa. “With social distancing restrictions expected to remain in place for the rest of the year, online remarketing is becoming an attractive option for trade buyers wary of visiting auction halls,” said Adesa UK managing director Jonathan Holland, who also predicted that new car buyers could switch to used purchases if waiting times for new models stretch too far while factories get back online.
Government has published advice for employees working “in or from vehicles” to help advice safe-working policies. Called Working Safely During Coronavirus (COVID-19) In or From a Vehicle, the guidance can be found at www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19/vehicles, and is aimed at couriers, mobile workers, lorry drivers, on-site transit, work vehicles and field forces.
Citroen has launched a new service, enabling customers to research, configure and reserve a new car online. Customers can check unsold stock of cars and vans, and place a vehicle on hold for up to five days. The company is also offering home delivery of vehicles. Sister brand Peugeot has also launched a Buy Online system offering home deliveries and three-month payment holidays.
Plans to introduce low-emissions zones in Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow have been put on hold due to COVID-19, with the schemes described as “no longer practical” as the Scottish Government and local authorities will have other priorities in the wake of the lockdown according to a report in The Scotsman.
Peugeot has supplied five of its demonstrator vehicles to Greater Manchester Police to help during the COVID-19 crisis. The vehicles, four Expert crew vans and an Expert Traveller, will be put to use supporting front-line policing during the pandemic.
London has shown the biggest drop in local air pollution during the lockdown, with PM2.5 levels dropping by 34.3% versus the same period in 2019, according to Instant Offices. Leicester and Edinburgh rounded out the top three with 19.9% and 16.9% drops respectively. Liverpool and Birmingham both recorded increases.
There is a “strong argument” for fleets to continue car and van MoTs during lockdown, despite the six-month suspension, according to FleetCheck. “There is a strong argument for fleets to continue with MOTs as normal, whether their vehicles are currently in use or not,” said FleetCheck managing director Peter Golding. “Employers need to remember that they are liable for the safety of vehicle, whether it has been officially tested or not. If something goes wrong during that six month period, it is still very much their responsibility.”