At a glance
- While repair volumes are falling, the average cost of vehicle repairs has risen by a third over the last three years
- Given the expense involved in getting a vehicle repaired and quickly back on the road, it is important that fleet customers select the right mechanic or repair specialist
- We discuss the importance of using trusted professionals to ensure your fleet has access to competitive, timely and good quality repairs
Advances in road safety technology and driving standards have contributed to a 24% decline in industry vehicle repair volumes over the last ten years.
While this spells good news for fleet operators, conversely the average cost of repairs continues to increase.
The growth of expensive vehicle technology, increasingly complex manufacturing techniques and raw material price fluctuations, have contributed to a 32% rise in the average repair bill over the last three years.
With the average car dashboard increasingly resembling the cockpit of an airliner, it is not just the cost of repairs that is increasing. The addition of so much technology can make even innocuous-looking repairs a much more complex process.
Why are costs increasing?
Ironically, the technology designed to reduce the chances of an accident is also contributing to larger repair bills in the event of a crash.
Modern vehicles are equipped with a host of driving assistance solutions, including cameras, lasers, radars and sensors. Add to this the LED and laser headlights now fitted as standard, and the use of expensive lower-weight materials ranging from aluminium to carbon fibre, and the cost of repairing an average car or van quickly increases.
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), for example, which use a combination of cameras and lasers to build a picture of the world around the vehicle, are increasingly used in an emergency situation or when parking.
These cameras and lasers are located on the outside of the vehicle, typically on bumpers, wing-mirrors and windscreens. Not only does this make them particularly susceptible to damage in the event of a crash, it also means that something as innocuous as a chipped windscreen can result in costly camera recalibration or replacement.
ADAS is just the start. Modern vehicles may be constructed from as many as 20 different materials, many of which are welded or bonded together in a manner that can make replacements costly.
How can our partnership with Nationwide help your fleet?
We have appointed Nationwide Accident Repair Services as our approved partner for fleet motor repairs, to help customers ensure both a high standard of work and value for money.
According to Zurich Head of claims relationship management, Paul Dixon: “One of the most convincing reasons for appointing an approved repairer is the cost savings that can be made.”
Traditionally, it’s been the perception that it is cheaper to appoint a small local garage than employ an approved repairer. As Paul explains, while it may be possible to find cheaper labour costs, this could prove to be a false economy.
“The labour rate might sometimes be cheaper at local garages, but without the economies of scale that Nationwide benefits from, parts will tend to be much more expensive.”
By selecting an approved mechanic or bodywork repairer rather than a local garage or body shop, recovery and repairs can also take place close to where an accident or breakdown occurs.
With research showing that the number of body shops in the UK dropped by a third between 2005 and 2015, and predictions that this number could shrink by another 9% to just 3,000 by 2020, this is increasingly important.
Nationwide has more than 70 body shops across the UK, which, combined with mobile repair capabilities, ensures vehicles will be back on the road quickly. Small repairs can often be undertaken immediately, while a desktop engineer can sign off larger repairs within the hour.
It is also important that if a vehicle cannot be put back on the road quickly, there is a suitable alternative. Paul explains: “If a customer’s van has been damaged, a Renault Clio is no good as a replacement.” Our partnership with Nationwide allows customers access to courtesy vans, helping to minimise disruption.
Nationwide uses state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose and repair damage, can conduct mobile repairs, has live online repair tracking and guarantees that repairs will be undertaken using original equipment parts.
To discuss any aspect of this article further, speak with your local Zurich contact.