Marcus Blakemore, founder and CEO of MJB Automotive Solutions (MJB) predicts that with the volume of lease extensions coming to an end, voluntary terminations and repossessions are expected to substantially increase as lockdown eases.
He warns that fleet and remarketing decision-makers need to prepare “for the reality that completing vehicle repairs before resale may not be achievable”.
According to MJB if the support chain has not returned to 100% operational - and onsite smart repairs are not feasible - then fleets remarketing their vehicles could see significant losses.
Blakemore said: “With a real focus on sale conversion rates, ensuring you understand the condition of your asset before its end of contract will maximise the opportunity to presell or ensure disposed of through the correct channel.
“Returning vehicles that cannot be upgraded in a timely manner will incur daily depreciation costs and tie up valuable cashflow, so it is vital to understand the condition of your vehicles and prepare appropriate actions to ensure efficient refurbishment and disposal.”
For Blakemore, pre-inspections will provide the best line of defence against unwanted surprises concerning the condition of a used vehicle.
“By allowing drivers to pre-inspect vehicles prior to return, it allows fleet decision makers to plan vehicle repairs, especially if bodyshops are not operating at full capacity or are overwhelmed with work created by the lockdown hiatus.
“Fleet decision-makers will also have plenty of time to make an informed decision on the best disposal option prior to vehicle return and so reducing days to sell and hopefully clawing back some profit.”
Earlier this year MJB introduced the PAVE inspection system. The system, accessed by drivers on their smartphone web browsers, with no app download needed, starts by guiding them through a series of 13 photos that need to be taken of their vehicle. It provides example outlines on the driver's phone screen, so they can line their shots up knowing that they are capturing the images required.
Then, once the driver has answered some further questions about the vehicle - for example how many keys it has - which can be tailored to individual customers' requirements, the AI technology processes the images and produces a condition report with an overall grade.
Blakemore explained: "It's something that can be used by a non-technical person. A lot of systems are actually hardware, where you need to drive through a scanner, or it is just not physically possible to use the system for the requirements of our customers."
MJB says that the system is suitable for leasing companies, rental companies, OEMs, and also fleet managers directly, with Blakemore saying it could be particularly useful for those running fleets during the current pandemic with altered working arrangements.
He said: "In these Covid times people aren't going to offices anymore, so if you want to get a view of your fleet, it's about getting a light inspection that gives you a very comprehensive overview of the condition of that vehicle at that moment in time."