18 Jan 22

How semiconductor crisis is impacting vehicle servicing and repairs

Vehicle servicing and crash repairs are being delayed by the same shortage of parts, especially those containing semiconductors, that has restricted new car vehicle over the past year.

A perfect storm of Covid-19 production stoppages, OEM demand and shipping delays have meant some dealerships, garages and bodyshops have struggled to secure a steady supply of replacement parts to fix and repair vehicles.

The situation has been compounded by fleets having to hold on to vehicles for significantly longer, due to lengthy lead times for new cars and vans, with older vehicles requiring more maintenance support.

Plan ahead in 2022

Paul Hyne, Arval UK Commercial Director, said it is vital that fleets plan their service, maintenance and repair needs well in advance in 2022.

“If we know a customer needs a particular type of vehicle or there are a number coming up for a service, MOT(the compulsory annual vehicle inspection in the UK) or repair, we will proactively work with our supply chain to ensure that there is limited downtime or that a rental vehicle is available where possible.

“The pandemic and semiconductor shortages have placed our industry in a position where forward planning is a necessity rather than a nice-to- have and we want to help our customers through this period.”

Workshops suffer parts' shortage

A January survey by the Motor Ombudsman found that 56% of garage workshops had suffered a lack of spare parts, causing delays to vehicle repairs.

Sue Robinson, Chief Executive of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), said a recent survey of its members found that most parts supply constraints had not been caused by the semiconductor shortage but by: “covid-related and freight issues”.

Crash repair delays

The shortage of parts is arguably even more acute for fleets that need to fix crash-damaged vehicles, with fleet insurance broker Romero warning that it might take up to five months to carry out repairs, due to poor parts availability. The National Body Repair Association added that bodyshops have been unable to complete some repairs, leading to longer vehicle downtimes and increased hire car costs for fleets.

The UK’s biggest fleet, Motability, said it’s not only replacement parts with semiconductors that are in short supply, but other spare parts, too, such as body panels. It expects the shortages to continue well into this year.

“Most of the UK’s popular car brands are impacted by these shortages and repairers are sometimes having to wait for several weeks for parts to be delivered before they can carry out the repairs,” it said.

Image: Shutterstock

Authored by: Jonathan Manning