Increasing trend towards off-the-peg body conversions for commercial vehicles
More and more fleets are opting for off-the-peg body conversions for commercial vehicles, putting pressure on the body-building sector. The trend enables purchasers to benefit from rapid delivery and simplified accountability.
Off-the-peg body conversions give purchasers the ability to buy a chassis-cab based product, such as a tipper, dropside, box van or Luton, with a single warranty which covers both the body and the vehicle.
According to Commercial Fleet, the arrangement improves clarity if there is any problem with the vehicle; it is clear that the dealer is responsible for sorting issues out, rather than there being a dispute between the dealer and body builder about who is responsible.
Bodied vehicles can be kept in stock at the dealership or another central location, making delivery quicker than alternative methods of procurement. Alternatively, a bare chassis can be delivered at the dealership so the dealer can arrange for it to be bodied locally.
Bodybuilders adopting this approach tend to be established market players such as Ingimex, Tipmaster and VFS, with UK manufacturing facilities.
These companies build to a standard agreed with the chassis makers and comply with the requirements of the European Community Whole Vehicle Type Approval (ECWVTA).
Dealers benefit from the off-the-peg trend as it saves them from fulfilling complicated bodywork specifications. Instead, pre-prepared vehicles will meet most customers' requirement. On the other hand, the customer has less opportunity to customise the vehicle.
The practice is less common among truck manufacturers, although DAF has introduced a one-stop body shop programme. This helps to provide vehicles for customers who would otherwise need to wait for a long period while bodies are built for their vehicles.