Investment and finance trends explored in new CM reader research

Splashing out on new fleet vehicles will be the key investment for nearly two-thirds of operators during 2021, according to brand-new research published in the ‘Hot Topic Industry Insight 2021’ report.

The new research surveyed readers of Commercial Motor and sister title Motor Transport to ask what they perceived as major industry challenges for the year ahead, and to explore trends around buying patterns, compliance and technology use.

Of those businesses planning to spend on fleet vehicles, around 60% are looking to procure new vehicles, 22% looking for second-hand, with the remainder planning a mix of the two.

Training came up in second place for company spending plans, showing the value and necessity that operators place on ensuring their employees are up to speed with the latest knowledge and techniques to work safely and efficiently.

While more than one-third (37%) planned to invest in their in-house workshops and maintenance equipment.

However the volatility of the past year, with both the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit uncertainties creating a challenging trading environment, appears to reflect in a cautious approach from hauliers when it comes to extending their borrowing. Nearly half (47%) had no plans to take on extra funds, while one-quarter did expect to seek out finance and 29% had not yet decided.

Outright purchase was the method used for purchasing fleet vehicles by 42% of respondents, with one-third opting for hire purchase and one-quarter leasing.

When it comes to sticking with the status quo for financing vehicles, our survey provides some good news for funders in that a healthy 43% of operators would consider changing their primary method of acquiring vehicles.

MAN Financial Services head of sales & marketing, Gareth Carr, said of the results on funding options: “It appears that just under half of all customers would consider changing their usual route or method of funding when acquiring new vehicles into their fleet.

“The biggest factors considered when choosing a funding partner are a simple process, good relationship and service levels combined with manufacturer alignment; at MAN Financial Services we can tick all of those boxes.

“We have a team of specialist relationship managers based throughout the UK and this team is able to meet with customers and discuss their funding requirements on new and used MAN vehicles.”

CM readers can download the full Hot Topics: Industry Insight 2021 report free of charge.

Disqualified director has application refused

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A disqualified director who tried to evade his ban by using companies as a front for his continued operations has had an application refused by the West Midlands traffic commissioner.

Jarnail Singh Bajwa was disqualified indefinitely in 2014 after what the TC at the time called “sustained lies” and “attempts to mislead” the DVSA with his business, GB Haulage. Over the next six years, various other operators were then found to be operating as a front for Bajwa, despite his disqualification. These included Bajwa & Son Midlands; Goldcare and Parker Transport Midland.

In 2020, an application by Ash Transport was refused because the sole director was Bajwa. He then applied to have this disqualification lifted and at a Birmingham PI he said he was remorseful about what had happened at GB Transport. However, he denied any subsequent involvement in the other three hauliers.

In a written decision, TC Nick Denton said: “I find this denial to be completely at odds with the evidence presented to the previous inquiries and the subsequent findings reached. I find that, notwithstanding his indefinite disqualification in May 2014, Mr Bajwa proceeded to flout it by continuing to act as an operator, first under the guise of Bajwa & Son Midlands Ltd and Goldcare Ltd and later under the guise of Parker Transport Midland Ltd.

“Mr Bajwa claimed that there was a case of mistaken identity, but no evidence for this was produced. There is no place in the industry for a person like him. The application is thus refused.”