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17th August 1920
Page 9
Page 9, 17th August 1920 — MAINTENANCE MATTERS MOST.
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

By "The Inspector."

WHETHER OR NOT -there be a slump in the motor-vehicle industry as . a: whole at the present time, it must be admitted, without the need for discussion, that the circumstances governing the general business of the commercialvehicle industry at any rate have changed, and, on the whole, changed for the better.

There does not appear to be any considerable measure of anxiety on the part of the leading manufacturers, and although the position is a little c'azior so far as deliveries are concerned, order books -41. most eases remain well filled. The position however, is now changed considerably to the advantage of the would-be purchaser, and he is no longer under the necessity of having to order any particular machine, of which he stood the -least chance of obtaining delivery, simply because there was nothing more 'advantageous in the market. He can, if he with, now make his choice amongst the whole of the British models and a large number of Americans, and have some idea of when he will obtain delivery.

It is true that even with this improvement he may still have to wait a considerable while'fot delivery of a new machine,.with one or two exceptions, but be at any rate has a choice of models, and that once again is good for him and, in the end, for the industry. It forebode no benefit to manufacturers that users were in the past year or two often forced, willy-nilly, -to take delivery of machines of reputations either unmade or, if made, not of the best ; for such circumstances very often resulted in the early disillusionment of buyers who, had the conditions been otherwise, would have, in a. very little while, become keen and enthusiastic employers of commercial-motor vehicle-s for all possible purposes.• It is true that some suffered as the result of these post-war conditions, but this was not so serious as when horse transport was still considered as an adequate, and by no means out-distanced, alternative to the mechanical vehicle. Nevertheless, it is had on the whole for disappointment to ensue, and the ' writer personally rejoices that a very considerable measure of freedom of choice has been recovered by the prospective purchaser. • That being so, it may not be ill-advised, to emphasize in a few words a consideration which should be taken into very careful account when the advantages and disadvantages of purchasing cheaper Machines, or machines not of first-class design and canstruction, or, alternatively, of higher-priced models—perhaps of models which with practical certainty will yield effective and low-priced service over a period of many years. In other words, the buyer must increasingly take care in the new circumstances to weigh in his own mind tha claims on behalf of the better class machine, which will most certainly last longer. * * *

Maintenance is going to ba a very considerable item in the accounts of haulage contractors and industrial vehicle owners in coming years: it is going to bulk much more largely than it has hitherto. The same sort of cause willoperate as will unmistakably be the case in connection with much of the hasty and rubbishy building of houses which one sees on every hand at the present time. To pursue the analogy, it may be that one is not only baked to pay two or three times the pre-war value for a house built in the present year of grace, but, as additional disability, one has to remember very distinctly that the maintenance, the repairs, and renewals of such buildings will inevitably be on a very much higher scale, and will cost the owner cleat in addition to his first pusc.hase consideration. So it 'is with motor vehicles. There' may be an advantage in buying something in the way of a lorry that is offered for two, three, or even 2400 less than that of a competitor, but the buyer will do well to spare no pains in settling to his own Satisfaction that he is buying and, buying well with freedom from trouble, and from exhorbitant maintenance charges, in making a decision in favour of the more or less expensive machine. ,

It will, without doubt, be in the best interests of all concerned if those who have decisions to make as to purchases, decide only after the moat exhaustive inquiry and careful thought as to what is the cheapest in the long run, and whether they will not be advised in the best possible manner to decide on a type upon which they can standardize. Efficient maintenance is practically impossible, at other than enormous cost, of a fleet composed of mixed units. The trouble and the. expense of renewals and repairs is reduced to an extraordinary extent when an owner once decides to standardize. on a model, to accustom his drivers to that type of machine, and to frame Es stores and stock on a-basis which is correspondingly economical. Maintenance is the great thing that the present day buyer must keep in mind.

This movementiS growing to a very consider-able extent. Certain public announcements in the Press of the intentions of haulage contreetora in various parts of the country point to decisions of this kind, decisions which have involved the selling of perfectly satisfactory machines, of one kind or another, solely in order that they may be substituted by others of a make already possessed in order to secure standardization. Fear of high maintenance costs in the future, either due to machines that have proved inefficient and costly individually, or, because of the undoubtedly expensive nature of the maintenanee necessary when a fleet is composed of dissimilar units and varied types, has undoubtedly prompted such

ac Hon. * *

The day is quite past, and probably will never return, when the user will have to take any machine that is offered to him, and be thankful for that. The demand for industrial vehicles of all kinds will increase—of that there is no doubt. The roads will be used in the nearfuture to a tremendous extent in comparison with their employment hitherto. There are signs already, on ihe main trunk roads throughout the country, that the public is taking very kindly to the pleasant individual and party journey, for holidays particularly, by road instead of rail, now that the latter is an expensive and often very uncomfortable luxury. The increased costs of railway transport are all in favour of the industry with which we aro all happy to be associated. It is up to us all to emphasize this point, which will go far to eliminate the disappointed user, and to -guide the prospective purchaser in a right direction, whether it be for the particular benefit of ourselves or not at the moment: we shall reap the reward in the tremendous expansion of our industry,•an expansion that is very clearly indicated by all -existing cireuansttoaces. A tremendous crop of crippling maintenance charges due to inferior design and manufacture a few years hence would impecle our progress badly. Maintenance costs at the best are troublesome, but with the present higher labour and 'material charges they cal/ for the most careful consideration.


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