Living with Covid
As we continue to navigate a new normal post the Covid pandemic, all our services are now operating as BAU. However, it is important to note that across the UK, like many industries, we continue to experience resourcing challenges across our network of suppliers. This is affecting every aspect of our supply chain, which may cause delays in our services, including response times on phones and email, or physical attendance for those services that require it.
Due to the global shortage of semiconductors, there is a disruption in vehicle production which affects lead times.
Semiconductors have become vital components in the functionality of today’s vehicles. For example, semiconductors are used for making brake sensors, electronic control units, safety driving aids, power steering, phone integration and many other areas of the vehicle where electronics have taken over from mechanical aids.
We are doing everything we can to avoid disruption, whilst monitoring the situation closely with our suppliers.
If you have any queries please do not hesitate to contact your usual KINTO contact who will be on hand to help.
The War in Europe
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is adding further disruption to the automotive industry. Several car makers experience production delays due to lack of parts from Ukraine-based suppliers.
At KINTO we continue to monitor the situation, and are in regular discussions with our supply chain and partners to understand how big an impact the war, and sanctions will have on the industry.
HGV Driver Shortage
The UK is also currently facing a shortage of HGV drivers which has been heightened due to Brexit and the Covid pandemic.
Whilst temporary measures have been introduced by the government to help alleviate the issue, the shortage is still having an impact on supply, recently highlighted by the UK fuel shortage. This too is having an impact on the delivery of vehicles.
Vehicle Pricing & Discount Terms
With many vehicles deliveries now extending well in to 2024 or beyond, we are finding that manufacturers are reviewing, and in some case reducing customer and framework support terms and discounts at short notice. We are also seeing increased prices across most manufacturers.
It is important to highlight that this could unfortunately result in vehicle orders being cancelled and require re-quoting for any vehicle model affected. Whilst this sits out of our control, we will do our upmost to ensure any vehicles impacted by terms and pricing changes are communicated to you as soon as possible. We also update our website and quoting platforms to highlight any changes.
Please speak to your usual KINTO contact if you have any questions about specific vehicles or orders.
The rental industry remains one of the most hit, with increased demand for vehicles and fewer returns as well as challenges with staffing and social distancing requirements. This means that vehicle availability is becoming scarce, and disruptions for deliveries and collections are becoming more common.
Changes to Plug-in Grants
On 15th December 2021 the Government announced an immediate change to the rates and eligibility criteria for the Plug-in Van Grant.
An overview of these changes have been listed below:
- The Plug-in Van Grant has been cut to a maximum of £2,500 for small vans (< 2.5 tonnes gross vehicle weight) and £5,000 for large vans (2.5t-3.5t GVW).
- Each business, organisation or individual may receive up to 1,000 Plug-in Van Grant each financial year (1 April to 31 March). These limits apply to end customers and not to lease companies.
- There are no changes to grant rates for vehicles over 3.5 tonnes.
- The new terms apply from 07:00 on Wednesday 15 December 2021. The portal has been suspended while these changes are made.
- The guidance on the gov.uk website will be updated to reflect the new grant rates and eligibility criteria. A revised list of vehicles which are now eligible for the grants will be available after 12 noon on 15 December 2021.
- Dealers and manufacturers will be able to claim for any orders that were placed by customers in the seven consecutive days before the grant rate change which had not been logged on the portal. This means that any orders placed by customers between 00:01 on 08 December 2021 and 23:59 on 14 December 2021 before the grants rate changed that had not yet been logged on the portal will be paid at previous rates and eligibility criteria.
On 14th June 2022, the government closed the the plug-in car grant scheme, which was worth up to £1,500 off an electric vehicle (EV), with immediate effect.
Our supplier continues to keep their Covid secure ways of working in place for the safety of both staff and customers. This includes sanitisation, face-coverings, social distancing and maximising fresh air. Within centres, waiting rooms are open but due to social distancing measures there is limited space available and customers are asked to continue to wear face coverings when in these areas.
They also continue to provide Touchpoint Sanitisation as an additional Health & Safety procedure to protect both customers and technicians. This is an additional series of safety steps, using high specification quaternary ammonium compounds to decontaminate up to 46 individual touchpoints both before and after the work.
Cases of Covid and levels of self-isolation due to ‘pingdemic’ are leading to higher absence rates for technicians, this is being closely monitored to ensure services can still be provided.
While the service remains operational, lead-times for glass replacements may be affected. We will work with the supplier to ensure any isolated challenges with replacement or repair requests are completed as soon as possible for our customers.
There has been an increased demand for UK staycations as a result of the travel restrictions in place due to Covid, in June this lead to higher than expected demand. In some areas road assistance usage was 50% above the forecast. Our supplier continues to monitor this and have plans in place to minimise the impact on service delivery and SLAs.
Our roadside assistance partner, RAC, have also adapted guidance for attending customers at roadside in order to maintain the health and safety of their patrols, subcontractors and customers:
- For any customers with Covid-19 symptoms and those who are self-isolating or living in a household where someone has symptoms or is self-isolating, the RAC will now only attend in exceptional circumstances. They will attend those with Covid-19 symptoms if the customer is at the roadside. In these situations, they will send a resource who will carry out a dynamic risk assessment with a view to understanding if assistance can be provided safely
- When the customer is contacted by the attending resource en route to the location, the customer will be asked to re-confirm that the customer, and no one in their household, are self-isolating and are not currently experiencing coronavirus symptoms. On arrival, they will be asked to leave their keys at a safe distance in order to avoid handling them over directly.
- At scene, RAC colleagues will adhere to detailed safety guidance including: applying the two-metre social distancing rule at all times, using latex protective gloves, hand sanitising gel and wipes to clean surfaces they touch in cars and speaking to customers by mobile phone, if necessary.
Service, Maintenance & Repairs
To ensure we can continue to deliver our services to you, we are introducing some interim measures to our Premier Booking Service due to some resourcing challenges the network is currently facing as we all navigate the new normal out of lockdown.
These measures are temporary and short term as our suppliers gear up and mobilise their workforce and we’ll be in contact as soon as we are confident normal service can be resumed and the resourcing challenges have been overcome.
The interim measures are as follows:
Courtesy Car – A minimum of 25 days notice should be provided via the dates selected.
Collection and Delivery – A minimum of 3 weeks (15 days) notice should be provided via the dates selected.
While You Wait – A minimum of 1 week (5 days) notice should be provided via the dates selected.
Urgent Bookings – The process for these remain the same, with phone calls made to our supplier network to understand availability and a follow up booking made to reflect the agreement reached via phone with the garage.
Date Selection – When selecting dates, please provide 3 date options as standard. In addition to requesting 3 dates, where possible we suggest that you select dates across more than 1 week. If you have a preferred date we will do our best to secure this if possible.
Booking Confirmations – Bookings will be confirmed or you will receive contact from KINTO with alternatives by 6pm in 2 working days.
As of a result of the differing measures in the UK set by the devolved governments, the level of service we are able to provide will vary by area.
We will strive to book to meet your requirements, but please be aware that this may need to be changed if the garage cannot accommodate your booking, and that the garage may cancel your booking at any time in line with the government guidelines
We continue to operate our service in house for First Notification of Loss.
If a vehicle is involved in an accident and is not driveable, it will be recovered by as per our normal business practices. For driveable vehicles, the majority of repairers are now open, so again your vehicle will be booked in as per our normal business practices.
Should we receive notification of a repairer closing, the driver will be informed.
Daily rental can be provided by KINTO via your usual booking process if required. As before, if it is not a service you or your employer currently take from KINTO and you have an urgent need for a short term rental vehicle, please do get in touch with us and we can arrange this with you.
Due to COVID and social distancing, some branches are operating at reduced levels of staffing and opening hours. Currently there are still approximately 250 branch locations that are closed and not trading.
This also impacts with vehicles being swapped between branch locations in order to facilitate bookings if a local branch doesn’t have a vehicle available and one way hires.
Bookings, Collections and One Way Hires
Due to the social distancing, branches are now no longer able to send 5 drivers out in a vehicle to collect the off-hired rentals. This means the branches are currently slower collecting all the returns this then impacts the vehicles being available to rent again.
Branches are also reluctant to do one way bookings as this means they are likely to lose the vehicle, for example if a 1 day 1 way hire for a long journey is booked, this booking is likely to be turned down or be harder to source.
Many branches are also operating a non-delivery option to assist in getting vehicles collected quicker.
Due to the port closures over lockdown and the new registrations, suppliers are currently struggling to increase their fleet size to assist in the increased demand.
Whilst the dealership are working to get these new vehicle registered and out to the branches as soon as possible, any vehicles which are unavailable for mechanical repairs or damage are not currently able to be replaced.
Over the past few months we have seen an increased demand for vehicles and fewer returns as customers are renting for longer periods.
Companies in the online shopping and parcel delivery industry are already renting a considerable volume of vehicles. This is causing availability challenges for all customers and we anticipate that this may well lead on into the Christmas period.
Our Inspection and Collection agent is now operating again, but with reduced capacity and with some caveats around the service:-
1) Minimum 5 working days notification to arrange job booking.
2) Flexibility of plus/minus 1 day to requested booking, to enable grouping of inspections to reduce driven mileage and exposure risk.
3) Some collections will be delayed to the day following inspection. Required to accommodate reduced access hours and avoid inspector/driver contact.
4) Risk assessment to be circulated to drivers for awareness of process at the point of booking.
5) Contactless Inspection and Collection, vehicle keys to be left on the doorstep upon arrival,
vehicle contact points to be wiped down with disinfectant wipes, signatures not required and 2 metres social distancing to be strictly adhered too.
Please submit any requests for collection as normal and we will endeavour to complete the movement as requested.
Our Remarketing partner is now open to receive vehicle defleets, and we have a program of “on-line” only auctions agreed and operational. KINTO will be allocating available vehicles to these sales until physical auctions return as normal.
Deliveries & Demonstrators
Most dealerships across the UK have re-opened and are commencing deliveries in adherence with social distancing and Public Health England guidelines and many are now able to supply demonstrator vehicles but availability may be restricted.
If you have a delivery due to take place in the next 3 weeks and you haven’t yet heard from us, please contact the deliveries team via email Deliveries@kinto-uk.com
We will do our very best to come back to you as quickly as possible, however due to the current climate there may be a small time delay with the response. You can also query the status of your future delivery by emailing the deliveries team.
Quotes & Ordering
The KINTO Quotes team are all set up and enabled to work from home, or office and currently quote requests are being actioned in line with our SLA’s. Our online quoting platforms are also still running as BAU. Please continue to request a quote through your usual methods.
Should you have a quotation query, please contact the Quotes team by email Quotes@kinto-uk.com
Although the dealerships had been closed, most of their fleet teams had been enabled to work from home, this means that we have still been placing orders. However, the lead times may have been extended due to supply issues.
For orders already placed you will continue to receive automated notifications on your live order status, however your lead times maybe extended which will be reflected in your update emails.
The availability of dealership fleet teams may vary day by day and we will continue to do our very best to manage this, but if you have an order query, please contact the Orders team via email Orders@kinto-uk.com