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Volvo claims delivery time victory

  • Volvo claims it is winning the lead-time battle
  • Audi and BMW delivery times are between 12 and 16 weeks
  • Swedish maker claims lead times are between 6 and 8 weeks

Volvo says it is stealing a march on its German rivals in the fleet market because it has shorter delivery times.

The Swedish car maker says it has been added to choice lists of a number of large fleets and claims one household name that had an 850-car fleet comprising three German car brands, has switched to Volvo because of its shorter lead times.

At present Volvo’s delivery time or ‘lead time’ is between  6 to 8 weeks if customers choose a specific order from either its Swedish or Belgian plants.

However main rival BMW offers its key fleet cars – the 1-Series, 3-Series and 5-Series – with lead times of between 10 to 14 weeks and Audi has its average lead time at between 12 to 16 weeks.

A spokesman for Volvo said: “For some fleets manufacturer lead times have reached critical levels with some holding a full-scale review of their car fleet policies to ensure employees are kept mobile and are not faced with hefty car hire charges, costly contract extensions or expensive assets depreciating rapidly.

“Long lead times are also becoming a major human resources challenge for the company car benefit hierarchy in that prices can rise during the lead time period so a car can move up a band on the company car choice list. The days of manufacturers holding lots of unsold stock are gone, but the industry should be mindful of the impact long delivery delays are having on the overall UK car market.”

A BMW spokesman confirmed that lead times for the 3-Series and 5-Series are between 12 and 14 weeks and for the 1-Series they are between 10 and 12 weeks.

An Audi spokesman told Parkers: “Audi builds bespoke cars to customer order, and a lead time of 12 to 16 weeks is generally applicable, but we are seeing unprecedented demand this year and this has contributed to waiting lists.

“In the main, premium brand customers expect to wait longer than those buying ‘off-the-peg’ from stock, but with the help of new production facilities and extended shifts we have already begun to reduce lead times, and these will continue to shorten in the coming months.”

Last year manufacturers increased lead times because of the economic downturn: Ford, Vauxhall and Honda all shut down factories for a limited period when demand plummeted, Toyota suffered with supply problems after the tsunami, which also affected parts supplies for BMW.