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Fleet industry needs to have conversation on Brexit, says Meridian

The fleet industry should be starting a sector-wide conversation about Brexit in order to make preparations, says Meridian Vehicle Solutions.

Meridian MD Phil Jerome

Meridian MD Phil Jerome

Although Phil Jerome, managing director at the medium-term rental specialist, said it was hard to plan ahead due to the ongoing absence of clarity about exactly what form leaving the EU would take, he added that with only a few months left to 29 March and EU withdrawal, now was the time to start talking about the potential pitfalls and how they might be tackled.

He added: “The potential issues that Brexit could create are considerable and we should at least begin having conversations about some of the key risk factors.”

Although there has been much dialogue in general about the impact of a no-deal Brexit on industry – including the impact on the car sector through increased new car prices – not much has been discussed about the fleet industry itself. Supply chain management specialist Fleet Assist warned last week that increased vehicle prices from a hard Brexit could see fleets return to longer replacement cycles while also having to deal with increased vehicle downtime at garages.

Jerome also said that a no-deal Brexit could bring issues covering everything from new vehicle and parts availability through to labour shortages in vehicle maintenance, transportation and preparation.

“With the clock ticking down, we should make an attempt to outline the danger areas, identify the most critical, and talk about how we may be able to mitigate against the worst effects, perhaps through industrywide co-operation. In that way, if issues do arise, then there we at least not starting from square one.

“This is, in no way, an attempt to drum up any kind of hysteria around the subject of Brexit, rather to recognise that it is potentially disruptive to the fleet industry and to open up a dialogue that seems, so far, not to really be occurring.”

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Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for nearly 20 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day.