Longer lead times set to become the "norm"
For 2010, the average lead time for each new vehicle order that Fleet Alliance placed was 84 days from order to invoice. For the first three months of this year, that figure has increased to 94 days, and for new vehicle orders in the pipeline, it has extended still further to an average 115 days per vehicle.
Fleet Alliance managing director Martin Brown commented: ‘Our new vehicle orders are skewed because of the "weighting" we have for vehicles from Volkswagen Audi from our customer base, but it is true that lead times across the board are getting longer for all makes – and are likely to remain so.
‘There are a number of factors involved, including the growth of the highly lucrative Chinese market and the impact of the Japanese earthquake on both vehicle and component supply,’ he said.
‘We are also seeing most major European countries moving to a carbon-based tax regime for company cars which is placing a greater premium on low carbon emitters for which demand is strongest.
‘We are now asking our fleet customers to think much further ahead if they really want the cars that their drivers are requesting and to order early to avoid disappointment. At this stage, six months does not seem unreasonable,’ he said.