“We’re entering a new world,” said Carlos Rodrigues, MD of Renault Trucks UK and Ireland, talking about the impact COVID-19 is having on the industry. But, he is confident that Renault Trucks is in a good position to support its customers now, and in the future.
Talking to Commercial Motor, he said the business is doing three key things to support its customers both now, and further down the line.
“Firstly, we are maintaining service levels,” he said, praising the dealer network and the staff that have adapted to new working practices. “100% of our dealerships are open and workshops are running close to normal capacity.”
Second is parts availability, which he confirmed is currently at normal levels, despite numerous European factory closures. Rodrigues said the business benefitted in this respect from contingency planning in the lead-up to Brexit. “We were preparing all last year, and testing our supply chains for the worst,” he said. “Thanks to this, and the fantastic job our people are doing at Rugby and Lyon, our first-time pick rate is 92%, which is still the best in Europe.”
“Thirdly, I read in Commercial Motor that 46% of trucks are parked up, and that’s why it’s vital that we talk to our customers, and see what we can do to help them,” said Rodrigues, who praised the work done by Renault Trucks Financial Services. But he stressed that assisting customers is not just a short term measure.
“At Renault Trucks we don’t think this is just a two- or three-month issue,” he explained. “Our customers are making long-term commitments with service contracts, but when we come out of this, we don’t know what the new normal will be.”
With this in mind he said Renault Trucks is talking to customers about their future needs, including potentially lower mileages. “We will be reviewing service contracts with them and setting a new price, so that they have a service contract specifically tailored for what their needs are. Because we don’t know what the new normal is, we need to be more flexible. We are having these conversations with our customers now,” he said.
Rodrigues reminded us that Renault Trucks has used the hashtag ‘ProudProfessionals’ for three years, and said he is delighted that finally more people are also recognising the important role transport industry employees play. “It’s not only the drivers, but plenty of others too, like parts advisors and mechanics. They are doing everything they can to to keep our country running. They are all heroes,” he said.