Electrical issues are gradually replacing mechanical faults as the “typical” company car repair, according to epyx.
The company behind the 1link Service Network e-commerce platform say that developments in vehicle technology are being reflected in the transactions that pass through its system.
1link Service Network is used by fleets with more than two million cars to buy service and maintenance from around 13,000 franchise dealers, independent garages and fast fits. The platform was launched in 2003 and has been widely adopted by the UK’s largest fleets, meaning that the company is able to track repair trends.
Ken Trinder, head of business development at epyx, the company behind 1link, explained: “The reasons that company cars need to be seen by service providers have been gradually changing for a while. Obviously, service intervals have lengthened in recent years, so there is less scheduled maintenance but we believe that cars have generally also become much more mechanically reliable.”
Instead, Trinder said, the reasons that a driver booked a vehicle in for repair had become more related to electrical systems.
He said: “Much of this is a reflection of the technology that has been added to vehicles in the last few years. Air conditioning has become a standard fitment on most cars in the last decade and has been swiftly followed by multiple airbags and sat nav systems.
“The company car driver of 1999 might have typically booked their car into a franchise dealer because a wheel bearing was squeaking. In 2009, they might be more likely to seek advice from a franchise dealer because the airbag warning light stays lit continually.”
Trinder said that epyx’s data suggested that the types of faults affecting company cars meant reduced work disruption, with electrical faults usually less time critical than mechanical ones.
He said: “A driver with a mechanical fault usually needs their car looking at pretty quickly. If they have a busy week planned into their diary, that fault can cause them a lot of headaches.
“Today, if a driver has a failing iPod dock, that problem can wait until it is convenient for them to take the car in for repair.”