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Waiting times rocketing

Date: 29 June 2009   |   Author: Tom Webster

As first predicted in BusinessCar at the start of May, fleet order times are now beginning to rocket due to the scrappage scheme and car makers cutting back production and vehicle stocks.

Fleets are now being forced to wait as long as 18 weeks for cars, according to Grosvenor Contracts Leasing.

The company's boss Shaun Barritt put the increased times down to production cuts imposed by makers.

"It used to be only niche vehicles that had an eight to 12-week waiting time, but we are now seeing similar timescales from mainstream makers - the same ones that used to deliver in seven to 10 days," he said.

Grosvenor advises that fleets factor extended lead-times into their replacement cycles.

John Lewis, chief executive of the BVRLA, said the increased wait was something to be expected.

"With scrappage schemes set up across Europe and manufacturers cutting production worldwide, a shortage of the most popular, fuel-efficient vehicles was always on the cards," said Lewis, who predicted it is likely to stick around for the rest of the year. "It could get even worse if we see a release of some of the pent-up demand from traditional customers."

Ford said customers wanting a model constrained by the scrappage scheme, such as the Fiesta or Ka, might experience more of a wait. VW also admitted that its unassigned stock of the Fox, Polo and Golf has reduced as a result of the scrappage incentive. However, the spokesman pointed out that VW has always quoted a 12-week waiting time for the Golf anyway.

Hyundai, expected to be one of the big winners, said: "If you were a big leasing firm that wanted a lot of city cars then you might have an issue."

The BVRLA's Lewis warned of the danger of prioritising retail, saying: "Manufacturers should focus their efforts on servicing their regular customers, the fleet industry. It is these clients that will remain when the false market created by the scrappage scheme evaporates."