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Business Fleet – Market Trends

Operating Costs Flat for Third Consecutive Year

Calendar-year 2015 marks the third consecutive year that fleet operating costs have remained stable compared to the past three years, primarily due to the continuing softness in gasoline and diesel prices. Replacement tires, the second highest operating cost, were stable due to the ongoing softness in commodity prices, primarily rubber and oil, while increased maintenance intervals contributed to lower maintenance costs for fleets. The forecast is more of the same for CY-2016. READ MORE

Managing Fleet with a Long-Term Perspective

If you implement fleet programs that contribute to the achievement of overall company-wide goals, you will get the attention (and praise) of senior management. You must view vehicle acquisition, replacement planning, funding alternatives, and sourcing alliances with manufacturers and suppliers as high-level strategic corporate decisions. Without long-term planning, it is impossible to have a well-managed fleet. READ MORE

Increased Demand and Rail Delays Create Upfitter Logjam in MY-2015

One challenge for both the 2015- and 2014-MY has been the increased volume of fleet vehicles going to upfitters, which has resulted in capacity constraints. With the increasing demand and growth of the commercial truck and van segments – particularly among utilities and service industries – the percentage of upfitted vehicles is growing. Upfitters are feeling the pressure of increased demand. READ MORE

High-Roof Vans Causing OTD Delays

Railroad backlogs impacted ship-thru units requiring upfitted equipment in the 2015-MY. Not only is there a rail-car shortage, but there were also logistical delays in loading and unloading rail cars due to the higher volume of high-roof vehicles. The limited number of rail cars that can accommodate the larger, high-roof vans created a backlog at assembly plants and caused delays in shipping to and from upfitters. READ MORE

New Category of Fleet Manager to Gain Legitimacy

For the past several decades, FMCs have employed in-house fleet managers in their fleet administration departments to manage client fleets, but were promoted from within the FMC. Now, we are starting to witness FMCs hiring traditional fleet managers. Does this make a trend? It is still too early to tell, but, what I can say is that it has caught our attention. My prediction is that this is indeed the start of a bona fide, long-term, industry trend that will accelerate in future years. READ MORE

Vehicle Abuse: An Overlooked Remarketing Cost

The resale value of a used vehicle is determined by three factors: the unit’s age, total mileage, and overall condition. A used company vehicle in poor condition, because of driver abuse or neglect, will result in lost resale value or incur unnecessary reconditioning expense at auction. Here's what you can do to minimize vehicle abuse. READ MORE

Impact of Chinese Truck Tires on Fleet Aftermarket

One factor driving the deluge of Chinese exports of replacement truck tires to the U.S. is China's immense tire production overcapacity. In 2015, China manufactured 120 million tires, with an overcapacity rate of almost 25 percent. The influx of Chinese truck tires is also having a detrimental effect on the tire retreading industry, because many of these “bargain” tires have only one life because they cannot be retreaded. READ MORE

Why Element Wants to Buy the Fleet Businesses of GE Capital

Element Financial Corp. has reached a definitive agreement to buy GE Capital's fleet assets in the U.S., Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. Separately, Arval will acquire the European portion of GE's fleet business. READ MORE

Fleet’s Scope of Responsibilities Grows Increasingly Fuzzy

At one time, the scope of the fleet department’s responsibilities was crystal clear. However, over time these demarcation lines have shifted and departmental boundaries separating them have become fuzzy. Now, collaboration with sourcing, legal, HR, finance, sales, service, and environmental, health & safety (EHS) is needed, often requiring approvals or buy-in from individual departments. There is only one strategy fleet managers can adopt in this new world of fleet management and here it is. READ MORE

Potential Roadblocks to the Adoption of Autonomous Vehicles in Fleet

Two of the most significant changes in fleet management were the result of military breakthroughs – namely the opening of GPS to civilian use and the creation of the Internet, both of which will be critical to operating autonomous vehicles. While extremely difficult to do, technology will not be the issue with the implementation of autonomous vehicles. Other broader non-fleet issues may slow or inhibit widespread implementation of autonomous vehicles. READ MORE

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One Year Later: Additional Remembrances of Ed Bobit

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the passing of Ed Bobit, it prompts me once again to honor this industry icon and friend. For those who knew Ed, you know he and I had diametrically opposite personalities. But, our common bond was the love of fleet and a mutual shared labor of love called Automotive Fleet. My almost 30-year relationship with Ed is comprised of many fond remembrances. A few stand out because they provide insights into Ed’s personality and who he was as a person. READ MORE

Ergonomics and Enhanced Operator Safety Emphasized During Upfitting

Ergonomics and operator safety is a growing concern by HR and risk management departments, since there has been an uptick of workers’ compensation claims by fleet drivers. As a result of strong trends in the upfit market, there is an increased focus on designing upfits to enhance operator safety. READ MORE

Fleet Is on the Verge of a Productivity Revolution

The fleet industry is on the verge of a productivity revolution through the introduction of faster, better, and more sophisticated analytical tools. Developing in parallel with this trend are increasingly sophisticated vehicle connectivity tools that will turn predictive analytics into a true science. The first manifestation of this will be the transition of fleet maintenance from reactive to proactive practices using remote diagnostic tools. READ MORE

Implementing a Driver Communication Strategy

I recently attended a seminar comprised of fleet drivers from different corporations, and what surprised me was that none of them knew the name of their company fleet manager. Is this important? I think so. READ MORE

What Problems Do Fleet Managers Want Fixed?

I surveyed a number of commercial fleet managers in a variety of industries and asked them to reply anonymously to the following question: “What are the most pressing problems in commercial fleet management that need to be addressed? If you could wave a ‘magic wand,’ what problem would you fix?” Here’s what they told me. READ MORE

How Will Autonomous Vehicles Disrupt Fleet Management?

Publicly held corporations include risk factors in their annual reports that forecast potential market forces that may impact their business. Recently, three insurance companies and an auto-parts supplier cited the emergence of autonomous vehicles as potentially disruptive to their future business. READ MORE

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.

FleetFAQ

Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

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Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

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Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

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E. Pierce Walsh was the director of fleet management for IC Industries, Inc. of Chicago during the 1980s.

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Author Bio

Mike Antich

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Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and was inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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