22 May 2024
The voice of the independent garage sector

Fleet parts prices ‘increase by over third in four years’

Average prices for fleet parts have soared by more than 35% in four years — with the biggest increases seen for headlamp bulbs, clutches, spark plugs and pollen filters, according to latest research published by Epyx.

Using a basket of common parts including front discs and pads, wiper blades, clutch, pollen filter, headlamp bulbs and spark plugs, the total cost has risen from £713 in 2020 to £963 in 2024, Epyx said in analysis published on May 8.

The biggest increases have been seen for headlamp bulbs (up by over 45%), clutches (up by over 40%), spark plugs and pollen filters (up by over a third).

Chief commercial officer Tim Meadows said it was well known in the fleet sector that parts production had taken several hits in recent years, from the effects of the pandemic through to the war in Ukraine, fuelling a marked impact on prices.

“This data shows exactly how much. While the overall rate of UK inflation since 2020 has been around 22%, fleets have seen the prices of these parts rise by an additional 13%. These are dramatic increases that have had a definite impact on overall running costs,” Meadows said.

“This has also happened at a point in time when operators have been keeping hold of vehicles for longer, with many needing to buy more parts as a result.

“For example, looking at our basket, few fleets would have needed clutches when operating on a three-year replacement cycle but for those that are keeping cars until four- or five-years-old, the incidence of clutch issues is unavoidably higher. Just at the point when they’ve needed to spend more on parts, fleets have had to pay more.”

However, Meadows said a potential brighter point is that the rate of price rises appears to be slowing, with the increase for 2024 over 2023 currently running at over 6%, compared to 11% for 2023 over 2022.

“We have seen overall UK inflation begin to fall quite dramatically in recent months, and there have also been corresponding reductions seen for our parts basket. While prices are still rising, we are hopefully starting to see increases become more manageable.”

The latest figures are derived from Epyx’s 1link Service Network, which is used by fleets of cars, vans and trucks to manage service, maintenance and repair processes.