BVRLA fleet survey shows the company’s ongoing vehicle supply problems

The British Car Rental Association (BVRLA) reported an additional 2% decline in the rental car fleet (BCH) through 2021, with signs that operators are extending contracts to keep staff mobile while new vehicle deliveries are delayed.

Vehicle supply, mainly due to an ongoing global shortage of semiconductor chips, has become the biggest concern of the organization’s 1,000-plus members, who collectively operate four million vehicles in the UK.

Despite this outage, their rental vehicle fleet and fleet reached 1,876,426 at the end of 2021, returning to pre-pandemic volumes after a 5.1% year-over-year increase.

The recovery was slower for cars leased by the company. BCH’s combined member fleet of cars contracted an additional 2% through 2021 to 759,527, which is 100,000 less than the end of 2019 and 180,000 less than the first quarter of 2017.

Average contract mileage also increased 12% to 55,075, as BVRLA noted that operators are extending vehicle lifecycles to meet longer delivery times.

Renewed incentives for the company’s ultra-low-emission vehicles (50g/km CO2 or less) during 2020 are also having an impact.

During the fourth quarter of 2021, 78% of salary sacrifice orders and 42% of new BCH orders were electric, while diesel was the least popular choice for company car drivers with an 8% share.

In contrast, average CO2 emissions for the entire BCH fleet of BVRLA vehicles decreased to 92.9 g/km, compared to 123.8 g/km for the Personal Contract Rental (PCH) fleet.

In comparison, the personal leasehold (PCH) fleet increased by nearly 50,000 during 2021 (an increase of 17.3%) to 326,041.

Demand for pickups was even stronger, with the rental fleet growing by 80,000 (up 18.8%) to a record 498,280 – something BVRLA is fueling economic recovery and expanding home delivery fleets.

BVRLA data is replicated by the 2021 SMMT registration numbers, which show a 4.4% decrease in fleet and business vehicle registrations (to 844,677), while private registrations increased 7.4% (to 802,504).

Although the BVRLA is optimistic about a recovery in the BCH auto market in 2022, it warns that it could take several years to return to pre-pandemic levels.

BVRLA CEO Jerry Kenny said: “The fleet leasing segment is driving demand for zero-emission vehicles, but is experiencing short supply as manufacturers shift the product to more profitable sales channels.

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