Fleet News

How are fleet manufacturers meeting the challenges of Covid-19? Suzuki responds

Graeme Jenkins Suzuki

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.

 

The resulting article was published in the June edition of Fleet News.

Here is Suzuki's response.

Fleet News spoke to Graeme Jenkins, Suzuki head of fleet (answers as at 8/6/20)

 

How are you and your team staying operational in times of Covid-19? 

Our fleet operations department has been running with skeleton staff over the last two months and have dealt with enquiries from home. Two further members of staff responsible for contract hire and leasing have also returned in May.

 

What action are you taking to support fleets during the Covid-19 crisis?

Our admin team members have been fielding enquiries and checking availability of orders to be fulfilled once logistical operations were resumed.

 

What proportion of your retail network remained open for SME business?

98% of our network is now open for SMR business and resumed on June 1.

 

Will Covid-19 have a bigger and longer lasting impact on our industry than the financial crisis in 2008? Please explain your view.

Undoubtedly a large impact on our business in these unprecedented times, probably too early to tell if the impact will be bigger than the 2008 crisis though.

 

How much of a decline in total market fleet sales are you forecasting this year?

We estimate between 30 -35% down this year.

 

Please outline your exit strategy and how you believe the way business is carried out in future might change – the so-called ‘new normal’.

Our network strategy clearly focuses on Getting Back to Business. Fleet is very much about forming and maintaining good relationships, it’s very important for us to start again as we have so many ‘Fit for Fleet’ products in our range now with almost 100% hybrid by late summer.

 

How soon do you think fleet sales will recover after the coronavirus threat is over?

We would estimate some normality by September at the earliest.

 

Will we experience a break on the development of MaaS and fleet electrification?

We can only speak for Suzuki who pioneered the 12V Hybrid system in 2017 and have now introduced 48V Hybrid technology in all S-Cross, Vitara and Swift sport models.

Full electrification is some way off though although our technology share agreement with Toyota will certainly boost this in the future.

 



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