In May and June, Fleet News surveyed all the major manufacturers to find out how they were responding to the coronavirus pandemic, how they are supporting their fleets customers and their views on the type of impact it would have on the fleet sector.
Here is Groupe PSA's response.
Fleet News spoke to Martin Gurney, Groupe PSA's director - fleet and used vehicles (answers as at 12/5/20)
How are you and your team staying operational in times of Covid-19?
The fleet team has been home working since Monday March 16, with any customer meetings being carried out via tele or video conferencing.
As activity reduced under lockdown, we carefully furloughed staff in waves (6/4 and 22/4) ensuring that we retained sufficient cover for our customers’ requirements at all times. We are currently 65% furloughed as a fleet team.
What action are you taking to support fleets during the Covid-19 crisis?
Throughout both phases of furlough we were careful to plan every clear out of office contact chains for our customers. Key staff responsible for essential and key worker fleets have been working non-stop and deliveries have continued to these fleets – Royal Mail, Police, other public sector – throughout the crisis.
Our fleet aftersales relationship managers have also remained active, triaging fleet aftersales issues to minimise disruption in light of reduced network coverage, and we have kept our customers up-to-date with respect to active aftersales locations.
What proportion of your retail network remained open for SMR business during lockdown?
Keeping aftersales businesses open in a safe way in order to service the requirements of essential and key worker vehicles has been a priority. At mid-April, about 45% of our PCD Networks were open for SMR. (In early May) that was running at 53% with the objective of being at 70% as an average across May and June.
Will Covid-19 have a bigger and longer lasting impact on our industry than the financial crisis in 2008? Please explain your view.
I hope not. It seems to me that the myriad of support measures put in place by the Government to mitigate the impact of Covid-19 on the UK economy are much more comprehensive than in 2008.
That said, it is likely that our industry will need specific Government stimulus to get things moving more quickly, especially in H2 2020.
How much of a decline in total market fleet sales are you forecasting this year?
Our current forecast is for the 2020 full year market to be down around 33% on 2019.
Please outline your exit strategy and how you believe the way business is carried out in future might change – the so-called ‘new normal’.
We want to maintain face-to-face relationships with our customers, but the current situation has taught us that we can be more creative and efficient in the ways in which we interact.
Where our customers are supportive of the approach, we will be making much wider use of video conferencing and have already started to train our field teams on running effective virtual meetings.
How soon do you think fleet sales will recover after the coronavirus threat is over?
Different sectors will of course recover at different rates, and whilst we’ll see some delayed purchases and contract extensions with some fleets, we expect flexi-rent to grow in the short term and public sector demand to remain robust.
Will we experience a break on the development of MaaS and fleet electrification?
Clearly, the delivery of certain pillars of the MaaS offering – car sharing, ride sharing, P2P rental – will prove more challenging until we are living in a post-Covid-19 world. That doesn’t mean development will slow though and the delivery of other pillars including connected services will continue unabated.
Fleet electrification will also accelerate, CAFE targets still apply on an average basis and Groupe PSA is and will remain compliant.