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Number of daily rental vehicles with safety issues being offered to fleets appears to be rising, says AFP

The number of daily rental vehicles with safety issues being offered to fleets appears to be rising, says the Association of Fleet Professionals (AFP).

The industry body says it is hearing reports from members being provided with hire cars and vans in unacceptable mechanical condition, with the situation appearing to be deteriorating.

Paul Hollick, APF chair, said: “This was a subject recently raised by our Mega Fleets Committee and appears to be a wider problem across the AFP. Essentially, we’re seeing hire vehicles being delivered to fleets that are not in a roadworthy condition.

“While this has always happened occasionally, there is a perception that the condition of hire vehicles is becoming noticeably poorer, although it appears to be a situation that appears to be affecting some hire companies more often than others.”

Paul said many of the issues seemed to be arising from both poor long-term maintenance, with vehicles breaking down being found to have a range of outstanding fault codes, as well as others being delivered with more immediate and easily apparent problems.

“The very least that a fleet should expect of its daily rental supplier is that vehicles are delivered in a roadworthy condition and sadly, that doesn’t always appear to be happening, even from some major suppliers.”

Daily rental companies had been through major changes in the last few years, he added, with their business models having effectively  changed substantially. 

“Pre-Covid, daily rental businesses bought cars and vans to operate on a fast cycle. Except for specialist vehicles, it was unusual to find a rental vehicle much older than a year.

“With the arrival of the pandemic, most embarked on massive disposal programmes but then experienced an immediate surge in demand once working practices returned to something approaching normality. Unable to return to a fast-cycle model due to production shortages, they bought from all kinds of sources, including a number of used vehicles.

“Largely, these are the cars and vans now seen on daily rental fleets, with many on 20 plates or older, which may explain the reason why issues surrounding condition are arising.”

Paul added that rental companies were perhaps experiencing difficulties when it came to managing the logistics around maintenance, especially the speed of delivery and collection, and rotating vehicles on hire.

“Running cars and vans over several years, through their first MOT and beyond, is something that many daily rental fleets simply haven’t had to deal with previously in this respect.

“Our advice to fleets experiencing problems of this type is first of all to ensure that you don’t drive the vehicle and report it to the rental company. You then need to have serious conversations with your suppliers and if you are not satisfied with the answers, to look for new options. The time when you could assume a daily rental vehicle delivered for use by an employee was almost certainly safe for use appears to be past, at least for the moment.”

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