From the Frontline: COVID-19 could result in long lead times for new trucks

Will Shiers
April 9, 2023

The UK could face a long lead times for new trucks later this year, warns DAF Trucks UK MD Laurence Drake.

While half the UK truck fleet is currently parked-up, Drake says some of the bigger fleets are already placing orders for new trucks. And with many European factories on lock-down, or operating with a skeleton staff, production won’t be back to normal levels for the foreseeable future.

“Although the retail market seems to be down, fleets are already looking to the future,” said Drake. “Their purchasing cycles remain, and they are already looking to Christmas.”

Drake explained that if a truck factory normally builds 1,000 trucks per week, this could reduce to 100 after social distancing measures have been introduced. And if that happens, lead times would increase ten-fold.

“We are also having conversations with some customers who are contemplating cancelling orders,” he explained. “We are saying to them ‘who knows what’s going to happen? You might want a new truck for Christmas, and lead times might extend beyond then’.”

  • The Leyland Trucks factory remained open until very recently, while a skeleton staff built trucks for the Royal Mail that were deemed critical. It has now closed completely.

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About the Author

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Will Shiers

Will has been the editor of Commercial Motor magazine since 2011 and is the UK jury member of the International Truck of the Year.

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