Dealerships, Technology ,

BOOMING demand for new vehicles is pushing vehicle shipping logistics to new levels and dramatically overturning previous practices of vehicle storage and dealer deliveries.

The change, spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic that triggered unprecedented demand for vehicles from cars through to trucks, means storage needs have plunged as logistics companies work to deliver new vehicles almost seamlessly from wharf to dealership.

One of Australia’s busiest vehicle logistics specialists, AutoNexus, is one business in demand by OEMs and has just added Isuzu trucks to its client list, joining car-makers including Subaru, Peugeot, Citroen, Suzuki, Isuzu Ute and MG.

AutoNexus, which also has parts warehousing and fleet businesses in its portfolio, said the new supply chain partnership with Isuzu Australia Ltd (IAL) will help to meet the best-selling truck business to meet increasing demand.

IAL director and CEO Andrew Harbison said that stock availability had been a real challenge for OEMs like Isuzu trucks.

“Supply chain issues have persisted following manufacturing delays last year, and there’s a long way to go until goods and services start moving freely around the world again as they once did,” Mr Harbison said.

“Our new partnership with AutoNexus gives us the ability to continue to ramp up supply, especially in the light-duty, pre-bodied market segments where demand on our products is particularly high.”

Andrew Harbison

AutoNexus managing director Darren Bowler told GoAutoNews Premium that his company aims to streamline supply chain efficiencies and get more Isuzu trucks from wharves out to dealerships.

“AutoNexus was built on delivering premium and transparent customer service, and we have disciplined processes and strong systems in place to ensure Isuzu’s customers are prioritised with first-class fulfilment solutions every step of the way,” he said.

Mr Bowler said vehicle production shortages were common around the world but were compounded by delays in shipping the vehicles to the end market.

“Many of the shipping schedules have changed so there are not as many ships arriving in Australia as in pre-COVID days,” he said.

“Vehicles are still arriving but now they’re now going straight to the dealer because they are already sold.

“Most OEMs are carrying strong order banks of three to six months, depending on the brand and model, which means there’s less warehousing and storage.

“They now realise that, because of COVID, they don’t have to hold stock and can still supply customers.

“The logistics model has therefore changed in terms of storage.”

Mr Bowler said the current demand has changed AutoNexus’ vehicle business and, to a lesser extent, its fleet conversion and parts businesses.

“Where we once had to plan to store 20,000 vehicles in a month, we now prepare those vehicles and take the majority of them straight to the dealer,” he said.

“Vehicles get turned around very quickly. Before COVID, 50 per cent would come into storage. Now, after we ADR and pre-deliver the vehicles, about 95 per cent bypasses storage and goes to the dealer.”

Mr Bowler said Isuzu is the number one truck brand in the country and he was “delighted to have them as a customer.”

Darren Bowler

“Its growth strategy is fantastic and their passion for the brand and what they offer certainly aligns with where we want to be.

“Isuzu’s growth is in line with the huge growth in their customers’ industries – engineering, roads, mining, construction, delivery and so on – so they were looking for a partner who could move their vehicles quickly.”

Mr Bowler said that AutoNexus’ parts business was also seeing enormous growth.

“Our parts warehousing business, because of COVID and in line with rising new-vehicle sales, has grown considerably and to cope, we have increased the warehousing space by 8000 square metres,” he said.

“We took on KTM and Husqvarna motorcycles last year and the growth in motorcycles and the recreational space has grown enormously.

“Also, we do MG parts as well and in line with their huge sales increases, we have grown with them as their car parc has increased.

“We also do the parts operations for BMW Australia and Volkswagen Group Australia, so we run their warehouses. They have two Melbourne and two Sydney warehouses each, but the staff are ours.”

By Neil Dowling