“We are not at the end of the tunnel yet, but we can definitely see some light now,” said Carlos Rodrigues, MD at Renault Trucks UK and Ireland.
Rodrigues cited vehicle mileage as a good example of this, telling Commercial Motor that miles covered by Renault trucks in the UK have increased at a rate of between 15% and 20% for the last three weeks. “No, we are not back to where we were [pre-Covid-19], but it’s definitely a step in the right direction,” he said.
As a result of “the cogs starting to turn a bit”, Renault’s workshops are getting busier. And to cope with the growth in demand for its services, it is releasing some of its technicians from furlough.
As the country went into lockdown, Rodrigues said the natural instinct for hauliers was to batten down the hatches. Consequently, a number of its customers took trucks off the road, taking advantage of Renault’s various offers of support in the process. But a growing number have since re-evaluated the situation, and changed their minds.
“We had one customer who came back and said ‘I asked for 20, but now I would like five back’, which is great,” he said.
Like other UK truck manufacturer MD’s, Rodrigues said retail truck sales took a dive at the start of lockdown, and while these orders are yet to recover, it’s a different story with fleet business. “At this time of year our customers prepare for Christmas, and this year is no different,” he said.
“There are definitely some positives out there, which we see as the start of an upwards trend,” explained Rodrigues. “Well it’s better than the last five weeks anyway, and we’ll take that.”