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 Renault UK's response.
Fleet News spoke to Mark Dickens, Renault UK fleet director (answers as at 8/6/20)
How are you and your team staying operational in times of Covid-19?
We’ve kept all our front-line staff working during the crisis, this includes corporate account managers, leasing managers and SME sales managers. They were able to interact with customers all the way through.
What action are you taking to support fleets during the Covid-19 crisis?
The fleet team working during the crisis embraced new technology and conferencing tools so they were on-hand for any fleet clients. Between six of them, they conducted almost 170 virtual meetings in just one week of lockdown.
An action we’re particularly proud to have implemented is the ‘EV Café’. The EV Café is not a sales platform but an online forum that allows those who are interested and experienced in the world of EVs to participate and discuss current EV topics. The EV Café rapidly amassed over 500 registrations and attracted some of the biggest names in our industry as guest speakers.
When we cast our minds back to the beginning of the crisis, we immediately made our van demonstrators available to key workers and our charity partners, such as The Felix Project, who took delivery of several additional vehicles to help feed London’s most in-need.
When will your retail networks start vehicle deliveries and collections?
They have already started deliveries and collections. We delivered 1,500 vehicles in May and we’ll far exceed that in coming months.
Will Covid-19 have a bigger and longer lasting impact on our industry than the financial crisis in 2008? Please explain your view.
It could do. One indication is shown in a recent survey conducted by Smart Transport. They reported a 42% reduction in people using public transport. Of those 42%, 90% of people said they would use their vehicle more in coming months, with 60% indicating they would like to replace their vehicle due to the increase in use.
I also believe we’ll see a significant and immediate rise in subscription-based services for the same reason.
How much of a decline in total market fleet sales are you forecasting this year?
It is inevitable that Covid-19 will have an impact on market figures this year, however we are confident with our renewed product line-up and EV, LCVs that we have a strong offering once we see some semblance of normality.
Please outline your exit strategy and how you believe the way business is carried out in future might change – the so-called ‘new normal’.
I imagine customer demand to be more agile and expedient than ever before. As a result of this I expect to see an increase in fleet direct business, especially from a leasing company perspective.
How soon do you think fleet sales will recover after the coronavirus threat is over?
Immediately. We’re receiving an increased number of enquires each day for example, we’ve seen an increase of 140% on Zoe enquires from mid-May, week-on-week.
Will we experience a break on the development of MaaS and fleet electrification?
No, it is accelerating every day for us. We have two members of the fleet team dedicated to electrification and we hope to see them continue at the same pace over the coming months.