January 2013, Business Fleet - Feature
Do You Qualify for Fleet Status?
If your company’s fleet has grown, you may qualify for fleet status. If you do, the savings on work vehicles can be substantial.
When ordering, some models also come with the ability to delete certain options (called “fleet delete”) that come standard on some retail units, such as GM’s OnStar or satellite radio.
While ordering vehicles can incur substantial savings for your fleet (see an example below), it also takes some planning and forethought on the part of the fleet. Order-to-delivery times vary per model and generally range from seven to 12 weeks, or more for some models. “It’s one of the toughest things for the small fleet customer to understand, to order a vehicle as opposed to buying out of stock,” Nicoletti says.
But dealers understand that sometimes buying out of stock is unavoidable. “You can easily save $2,000 by ordering,” Schoonbrood says. “Of course, if you don’t get that truck for the job you could lose $2,000 in two days.”
Fleet Savings Example:
2013 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 2WD Regular Cab Work Truck:
These examples represent two hypothetical acquisitions of a Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD 2WD Regular Cab work truck. The example shows a pure retail purchase out of dealer stock using a retail incentive of $2,000 available as of January 2013. The fleet example shows a purchase using a GM Fleet Account Number. Discounts include waiving of the “advertising” fee; the vehicle’s 2013-MY fleet incentive; Business Choice incentive available to small commercial accounts; and an association incentive, assuming membership in either Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) or Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC).
||Retail Non-Business Purchase
Out of Dealer Stock
|Ordered with GM Fleet
|Negotiated Base Price
|Additional GM Accessories
|Business Choice GM Accessory Cash
|Association Discount (ABC/AGC)
Find a Fleet Dealer
One hesitation you may have upon “graduating to fleet” is how it would affect your relationship with your dealer.
Essentially, if you’re already using a fleet-minded dealer, that relationship won’t change. With your fleet number you can log on to the manufacturers’ fleet websites to configure a vehicle. But you’ll still negotiate the price of the vehicle with the dealer and you must still place the order through the dealer.
You may find, however, that you’re using a dealership that does not focus on fleet. This may not have been an issue in the past — you bought or leased your vehicles for a fair price and kept your dealer “honest” by shopping around from time to time. But now that you have your fleet number, your present dealer might not be the best fit anymore.
“All dealers aren’t necessarily knowledgeable on fleet,” Schoonbrood says. “It’s not that they don’t want to help you, but they may not have the answers.”
Moreover, that dealer may be concentrated more on retail sales.
“If a company has grown from two cars to 15, [the company] is probably dealing with one sales manager through the years that isn’t thinking about fleet,” Nicoletti says. “He’s thinking about moving something off his lot right now, as opposed to someone who is fleet minded who knows the best way is to order the vehicle and wait eight weeks, saving the customer some money to get the vehicle they want without compromise.”
To find a fleet-minded dealer, Durham suggests contacting the local OEM fleet representative. The fleet representative can suggest two or three fleet dealers in the fleet’s area. Manufacturers’ fleet websites will also have a contact list of fleet dealers in your area.
Today, fleet dealers don’t even have to be in the same area to service a client. Deals can be made over the phone and units can be ordered through the fleet system, and the selling dealer can have units “drop shipped” to your local dealer that takes courtesy deliveries.
Gaining fleet status provides companies with work vehicles a host of benefits and savings. If you’ve made the grade, it’s time to graduate!
Auto Manufacturer Directory for Small Fleets
Audi of America
Michael Stafford, sr. comm. accounts mngr.
BMW North America LLC
Chrysler Group LLC
www.fleet.chrysler.com (for 10+ vehicles)
www.chryslercommercialvehicles.com (for less than 10 vehicles)
Ford Motor Co.
General Motors Corp.
Hyundai Motor America
Richard A. Pipenhagen, corp. sales mngr.
(714) 887-2575 RPipenhagen@hmausa.com
Christine Wein, asst. mngr. comm. fleet
(714) 965-3942 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kia Motors America Inc.
Mercedes-Benz USA LLC
Tina Kourakos, nat’l comm. accounts mngr.
Ron Lasman, nat’l comm. accounts mngr.
Charles Reed, nat’l fleet sales operations mngr.
Volkswagen of America Inc.
Volvo Cars of North America LLC
Gerry Merritts, nat’l fleet mngr.
Fleet Incentive Resources:
For new-model fleet incentives,
go to www.businessfleet.com/incentives.
For pre-2012-MY fleet incentives,
go to www.fleet-central.com/fleetincentives.
This article was updated at 9:53 a.m. on Sept. 12, 2012 to correctly identify the fleet phone number for Ford Motor Co. We apologize for this error.
More articles from Business Fleet's January/February magazine issue can be found here.