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 Seat UK's response.
Fleet News spoke to Craig Cavanagh, Seat UK head of fleet (answers as at 5/6/20)
How are you and your team staying operational in times of Covid-19?
Skype and virtual meetings were already a core part of our business, so we’ve been able to manage the transition smoothly. We’ve implemented an additional weekly call with our colleagues to ensure we keep on top of operational issues as well as maintain the team feeling and support network between colleagues.
It’s really important, now more than ever, to support one another and this cadence means we can always talk to one another on non-business issues too.
What action are you taking to support fleets during the Covid-19 crisis?
We’ve remained digitally open throughout the lockdown to ensure we can keep business and providers mobile. Our core fleet team (working from home) remained active throughout the crisis, ensuring that if any operational fleet faced issues, they were well placed to resolve it.
We’ve also maintained regular communications with our fleet partners in the Seat retailer network, leasing companies and end user customers to ensure they remain feeling part of the family.
During the lockdown, we successfully handed over 150 new fleet vehicles, which were fast tracked and made available for key workers across multiple NHS care trusts, as well as 29 Leons to a regional fire and rescue service to assist in the daily delivery of the service needs for the Community from their staff to service users within the district.
And despite all of the uncertainty during this period, Seat took its biggest single fleet order ever!
Will Covid-19 have a bigger and longer lasting impact on our industry than the financial crisis in 2008? Please explain your view.
It’s impossible to predict sales levels right now. The true fleet market dropped 94% in April and 87% in May so the recovery from this will take time. Our aim remains for a 3% share of the retail market and to maintain our Top 10 True Fleet ranking.
But we’re confident our plans have ensured we’re well positioned for a fast start to the ‘new normal’, we have strong stock levels and the first New Leons will be arriving in the UK in the coming weeks.
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’re not stating and sticking to a singular plan, it’s constantly evolving as the rules change to ensure it’s fit for purpose.
How soon do you think fleet sales will recover after the coronavirus threat is over?
It’s impossible to predict sales levels right now but we’re confident that the market will see a steady improvement. An important consideration is that given the government’s current advice on, where possible, not using public transport for travelling to and from work, there will be an additional spike in demand as people look to stay mobile while remaining socially-distanced.
During lockdown we delivered over 150 fleet vehicles to a range of customers including a number of key workers. In the first few days of June we already delivered more than 80 vehicles and this will continue to increase as our retailers continue to open.
Will we experience a break on the development of MaaS and fleet electrification?
We have a number of affordable electrified vehicles being added to the line-up. The Mii Electric, with a production version of the el-Born concept, as well as plug-in hybrid variants of New Leon and Tarraco are to follow, so we’re not shifting our focus.
Micromobility remains a key pillar for us, with the eKickScooter and eScooter part of the plan to deliver new sustainable ways for customers to get around, particularly in crowded cities that are looking at new ways to mobilise.