Features & Interviews

Five minutes with… Laurence Drake, Managing Director of DAF Trucks in the UK

09 March 2023 #Features & Interviews

How is DAF doing with regards to market share?

The 2022 registrations saw DAF Trucks again head the UK market with 32.1%, with 13,068 trucks above six tonnes GVW. Total UK registrations grew by 9.6% to 40,716 vehicles, while DAF Trucks out-performed the market with an increase of 13.2%. The appeal of the New Generation Range contributed significantly to the DAF growth in share, with a 34% increase in tractor registrations (up to 4,831 vehicles) compared to 2021 – these being the first models from the New XF, XG & XG+ to hit the roads. The company’s order board for 2023 is now full, and attention is already turned to 2024.

How are lead times for new trucks at the moment?

We believe recent supply chain disruption has eased considerably and, while lead times remain relatively long, reliability on delivery times is stabilising. We appreciate the continued support of our customers in placing their trust in the DAF brand and in all the members of the DAF team who continue to work incredibly hard, to deliver the best trucks and the best back-up in the business. Last year was one of the most challenging, but also our most successful in terms of market share.

Is the government doing enough to help accelerate the transition to zero emissions in the truck sector?

It is clear that uptake of electric trucks is low. While there are a number of valuable government initiatives, such as the Battery Electric Truck Trial and the planned Zero Emission Road Freight Trial – both designed to help encourage operators to start the transition – more needs to be done.

Compared to other countries, where incentives can cover as much as 80% of the cost delta between diesel and battery electric trucks, the UK Battery Electric Truck Grant is modest. With the current high wholesale electricity costs, electric trucks simply can’t compete against today’s most efficient diesels in terms of total cost of ownership.

What is DAF’s investment in electric trucks and what extra support can be given to speed up the transition?

DAF dealers are investing in the tools, training and facilities to support those trucks and many DAF customers are keen. However, they need support to help the transition. The cost of moving to electric is not just about the truck, it’s also about the charging infrastructure and the need to adapt operations and schedules. If the industry is to meet the end-of-sale dates for non-zero emission vehicles, there needs to be more financial support for early adopters to really kick-start the use of electric trucks in the UK.

2022 saw the creation of the DAF EV & Sustainability team within the DAF Trucks UK organisation, whilst all DAF Truck Sales locations in the UK and Ireland will be enhanced to the status of DAF Electric Truck Centres by the end of the year.

How is the DAF dealer network performing?

In 2022, DAF customers signed up to over 6,500 DAF MultiSupport Repair & Maintenance contracts, taking the overall portfolio to over 21,500. There were significant dealer investments, including Greenhous DAF consolidating its investment in the DAF brand with the acquisition of North West Trucks, while Ford & Slater added three franchise locations, in Sheffield, Leeds and Stockton.

DAF Dealers have continued to invest and grow capacity with the equivalent of an extra 90 20-metre workshop bays now available to support DAF customers. Our people are our best asset, and they deserve a workplace that, like our trucks, offers an ideal working environment – combining efficiency, safety and comfort.

DAF Dealers have, collectively, worked hard to achieve a 98.57% MOT first-time pass rate, up on 2021. Around the DAF Dealer network, over 414,000 DAFcheck inspection records were undertaken in 2022, while 46,500 MOTs were completed with a first-time pass-rate of 98.59%.

And summarise how DAF’s finance, parts and roadside assistance divisions are doing?

PACCAR Financial enjoyed a very strong year with its highest ever annual volume of new business, while DAF Parts achieved record sales, including for TRP as increasing numbers of customers selected the all-makes brand for their truck and trailer requirements. The Parts Distribution Centre maintained an impressively high level of 97.2% first-time pick availability against the backdrop of a disrupted supply chain. DAFaid handled an all-time record number of calls for assistance – over 107,000 – in 2022 with over 80% of jobs completed at the roadside, and reflecting the fact that very nearly one-third of the total UK vehicle parc comprises DAF vehicles.

Laurence Drake, Managing Director of DAF Trucks in the UK

Update Newsletter