Lengthy waiting times for new fleet cars are now an established issue in the industry, but things are set to get worse before getting better.
The semi-conductor shortage that has hit the automotive industry since the start of the Covid pandemic is due to be exacerbated by a new parts shortage – wire harnesses.
Manufacturers of fleet favourites such as BMW and Volkswagen are halting production on certain lines, due to supplies drying up from Ukraine.
The current conflict has seen the production of these important parts – which organise the huge lengths of cables within vehicles – impacted. Wire harnesses gather together more than three miles of cables in a typical car, and are a key part of the electrical systems.
One major parts producer, Leoni, has two plants in Ukraine manufacturing wire harnesses, with other manufacturers also seeing production hit in the war-torn country.
Because of this, additional bottlenecks in production have hit Volkswagen and Porsche factories, while BMW and MINI have been forced to halt production at many European sites. The same is true for companies such as Audi and Mercedes-Benz. More than half a dozen suppliers have wire harness factories in Ukraine.
There are further concerns for other materials and components coming from Ukraine – and Russia – with resources for microchips, catalytic converters, and lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles all set to be hit by the current conflict.
Mike Manners, managing director, CBVC Vehicle Management, said:
This is another issue fleets are having to face in an already difficult and uncertain year. We will obviously monitor the situation but in the first instance talk to us about vehicle renewals and whether we need to extend leases as a result.
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