Fleet News

Bodyshop rates rocket to offset lease charges

FLEETS which use bodyshop courtesy cars will see costs rocket as repairers pass on in labour rates the impact of massive increases in monthly lease rates. Vehicle repairers are railing against colossal increases in contract hire rentals for typical courtesy car superminis, and insisting they will either have to pass the cost on to customers via inflated labour rates or cease offering free replacement vehicles.

Ron Nicholson, director general of the Vehicle Builders and Repairers Association, said: 'I have been inundated with calls from frantic members looking for cheaper courtesy cars. The honeymoon period for cheap lease cars is over, and monthly rentals are going up by £50 per month per car.'

The issue stems from the collapse in values of nearly-new superminis, due both to oversupply and to manufacturers redirecting their financial support away from fast cycle fleet deals and towards special offers for new retail car sales. Several leasing companies have pulled out of bodyshop business after burning their fingers when the vehicles had to be remarketed, and those companies still writing contracts are putting higher margins into the deals to protect themselves from the high risks involved.

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