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How GM Can Help Fleets Overcome the Five Purchasing Pain Points

October 18, 2017

Photo: General Motors
Photo: General Motors

Choosing a fleet vehicle is not an easy task. On a daily basis, fleet managers often find themselves needing to weigh and prioritize five essential factors when making a decision.

These “pain points” will often influence purchasing decisions. The “pain points” are:

  • Fleet efficiency
  • Safety
  • Driver productivity
  • Sustainability
  • Driver satisfaction

While these pain points are typically the same for each fleet, there is no clear-cut formula of how fleets should weigh these factors. Often the order of importance is tied specifically to the needs and requirements of the fleet. For some fleets, satisfying the needs of the driver will be paramount; for others it will be choosing a vehicle that fits the company’s sustainability initiative. Or the fleet may be focused on improving its safety score with a vehicle that has enhanced collision avoidance technology.

No matter what weight fleet managers give to these pain points, General Motors Fleet has — in some cases — numerous ways to help minimize them and make them “plus points” when making the purchasing decision.

Pain Point #1: Fleet Efficiency

Photo: General Motors
Photo: General Motors

For many fleets, efficiency will likely be a paramount factor for which vehicle to choose. Fleet managers are under ongoing pressure to keep costs down and efficiency high.

General Motors can help fleets meet these demands by helping to reduce costs, complexity, and downtime.

Before considering any vehicle for purchase, a fleet needs to consider the total cost of ownership, which involves determining how much it costs to operate a vehicle. Pricing is only one factor. Fleet managers also have to plan for operating and residual costs. It is recommended that the fleet discuss its needs with its fleet dealer or fleet leasing company about how the fleet plans to operate the vehicle.

Warranty coverage can help fleets reduce costs if there is an issue with a component or part. General Motors offers a wide variety of powertrain, bumper-to-bumper, and other warranty coverage. In addition, as part of its warranty coverage and depending on the make and model, General Motors offers roadside assistance, courtesy transportation, and maintenance.

Telematics has opened a window for fleets to help them to monitor driver behavior and vehicle status. General Motors offers fleets several telematics options.

Commercial Link1 is designed for small fleets and is enabled through available OnStar®2-embedded hardware. It can track information such as vehicle speed, location, fuel levels, and maintenance status.

Available Telogis® Fleet for GM is a cloud-based platform that also utilizes the OnStar®2-embedded hardware available in most General Motors vehicles. It can also be used by fleets with a mix of OEM makes and models. The data insights allow fleet managers to operate more efficiently, increase driver safety, and identify cost saving opportunities.

Available Spireon® Fleet Locate is designed to help manage fleets of all sizes, whether they’re single-sourced from General Motors or are a mix of OEM models. Again, using the existing OnStar®2 hardware, fleet managers can track, manage, and protect their company’s fleet with powerful insights and advanced alerts.

For fleets that want to develop their own application, they can use General Motors’ remote API. Using the API, and after obtaining appropriate driver notice and consent, fleets have the ability to monitor everything from hard braking to alerts for diagnostic issues, and can have the ability to disable a stationary vehicle remotely.

Managing a fleet is a complex activity. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for any fleet activity, but there are ways to simplify how fleets acquire and dispose of their vehicles.

General Motors helps fleets on the front of the process with the option of its Right Trac℠. GM Financial’s open-ended lease product is designed specifically for commercial fleets. The Trac℠ lease has short terms (ranging from 24-60 months), and numerous benefits for the fleets including no excess wear-and-tear charges, the ability to upfit3 or modify the vehicle, and no excess mileage charges. In addition, the Right Trac℠ lease is compatible with service contracts and other aftermarket products, and it can be bundled with GM Financial’s Commercial Line of Credit Product.

On the backend, General Motors can help fleets handle the disposal of its vehicles via GM Remarketing Services. The GM Remarketing Services team will work with the fleet and its fleet account executive to find the best opportunities for the fleet’s General Motors and non-GM vehicles. Once the remarketing opportunities have been identified, GM Remarketing Services will transport, prep, recondition, set pricing, and run the vehicle(s) through the auction. Once the disposal process is complete, GM Remarketing Services will evaluate the sale and help the fleet determine the total cost of ownership for that vehicle.

Having vehicles available when they need them is one of the prime requirements of a fleet, and General Motors can help fleets achieve this goal. Its large dealer network and fast order-to-delivery help fleets get the vehicles and support they need to have vehicles when they need them.

General Motors Business Elite Dealer program goes a step further, helping fleets with Chevrolet and GMC products with a greater depth of service. Business Elite dealers get to know the fleet, its operations, and its needs, and can advise the fleet on the best vehicle to fit the operation. It remains a partner throughout the life cycle of the vehicle. Fleets that work with Business Elite dealers will be able to take advantage of extended service hours, have access to work-ready loaner vehicles, and be covered by Chevrolet Complete Care or GMC Pro Grade Protection.

Pain Point #2: Safety

Photo: General Motors
Photo: General Motors

Safety is at the forefront of most fleet managers’ minds. Many of today’s fleets have comprehensive safety programs and policies designed to help keep their drivers and the public safe.

General Motors has an array of standard and available active and passive technologies on its vehicles to help fleet drivers stay safe while they’re on the road.

Many of General Motors’ vehicles offer active collision avoidance technology on a number of its makes and models. These available and standard technologies include: Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Forward Collision Alert, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Rear Parking Assist, and Rear Vision Camera.

Depending on the make and model, General Motors offers up to 10 standard air bags4 plus the Passenger Sensing System with infant-only suppression, and passenger safety belt reminder status. Other passive safety technology includes standard safety belts for the driver and passengers.

Safety features are no substitute for the driver’s responsibility to operate the vehicle in a safe manner. The driver should remain attentive to traffic, surroundings and road conditions at all times. Read the vehicle’s owner’s manual for important feature limitations and information.

Pain Point #3: Driver Productivity
Photo: General Motors
Photo: General Motors

Fleets whose drivers primarily work in the field need a vehicle that can help them not only get where they need to go, but be able to do their job when they get there.

Most General Motors vehicles have available OnStar®2 built-in available 4G LTE Wi-Fi® capability5 — allowing the vehicle to become a mobile hotspot which allows up to seven devices to be connected. Most General Motors vehicles also have Bluetooth® capability6, allowing drivers and passengers to connect a phone and — if fleet policy allows it — make hands-free calls behind the wheel.

For fleets that need specialized accessory packages and upfits on their trucks, Chevrolet and GMC offer a wide variety of accessories to give fleets exactly the functionality they need. Chevrolet and GMC also offer a box delete option across its entire pickup truck lineup, and have a ship-thru process with the major upfitters to handle any specialized specifications.

Pain Point #4: Sustainability

Photo: General Motors
Photo: General Motors

Fleets often serve companies that have strong corporate sustainability objectives. Since a gasoline-powered fleet can have a large carbon footprint, fleet managers may be tasked to reduce it through sustainability programs, which could include equipping the fleet with smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles; implementing so-called “eco-driving” programs designed to save fuel by utilizing alternative fuel vehicles. Even if a fleet’s company doesn’t have an official sustainability program, many fleet managers have used sustainability techniques to help cut fuel costs.

No matter the need of the fleet, General Motors has a number of sustainable options. A number of the automaker’s gasoline engines are highly efficient. GM offers a number of alternative fuel options, including diesel models as well as E85-7 and B20-capable models. Hybrid and extended-range models give fleets the sustainability benefits of electrification along with the driver peace of mind of gasoline-powered vehicles. General Motors offers EV models to help fleets support their carbon reduction initiatives.

Pain Point #5: Driver Satisfaction

Photo: General Motors
Photo: General Motors

While driver satisfaction may seem to be of lower importance for fleets than for those purchasing personal vehicles, there are instances — particularly for sales and executive vehicles where job performance or position within the company will dictate a vehicle that is centered on the needs of the driver.

General Motors offers a number of features that are designed to help with driver satisfaction and comfort — with comfortable seating and plenty of room for the driver and passengers (if personal use is permitted). Technological features include infotainment systems on a range of General Motors vehicles, and may include Apple CarPlay™8 or Android Auto™9 compatibility. General Motors infotainment systems have a wide range of features, including Sirius XM®10 and turn-by-turn navigation.

For added driver peace of mind, General Motors offers OnStar®1. This service supports drivers in the event of a crash11 or vehicle theft12. It also features a Wi-Fi hotspot13, turn-by-turn navigation14, Hands-Free Calling15, and advanced vehicle diagnostics16.

Whether the vehicle is used by the driver exclusively for work or for his or her personal use as well, General Motor vehicles boast plenty of cargo space.

Disclaimers

  1. Visit onstar.com/us/en/services/coveragemaps.html for coverage area limitations. When you register with Commercial Link, you must provide a valid payment card for each vehicle registered. We will not charge you for the first 30 days of service for up to 15 registered vehicles. Trial available on select Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac 2015 model year and newer vehicles with built-in OnStar hardware. Requires an active OnStar account.
  2. Visit onstar.com for coverage map, details and system limitations. Services vary by model.
  3. Shown with upfits from an independent supplier and is not covered by the GM New Vehicle Limited Warranty. GM is not responsible for the independent supplier alterations.
  4. Always use safety belts and child restraints. Children are safer when properly secured in a rear seat in the appropriate child restraint. See the Owner’s Manual for more information.
  5. Visit onstar.com for vehicle availability, details and system limitations. Services and connectivity vary by model, conditions and location. Some services require a data plan. Data plans provided by AT&T.
  6. Visit gmtotalconnect.com to find out which Bluetooth phones are compatible with the vehicle.
  7. E85 capability is not available in AZ, CA, CT, DE, MA, MD, ME, NJ, NY, OR, PA, RI, VT, and WA. E85 is a combination of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Go to afdc.energy.gov/afdc/fuels to see if there is an E85 fuel station near you.
  8. Vehicle user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Require compatible iPhone and data plan rates apply. Apple, CarPlay and iPhone are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries.
  9. Vehicle user interface is a product of Google and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires download of the Android Auto app on Google Play and an Android™ compatible smartphone running Android™ 5.0 Lollipop or higher. Android, Android Auto, Google, Google Play and other marks are trademarks of Google Inc.
  10. Trial length and service availability may vary by model, model year or trim.
  11. Visit onstar.com for vehicle availability, details and system limitations. OnStar acts as a link to existing emergency service providers. Not all vehicles may transmit all crash data.
  12. Services may vary by model. Visit onstar.com for details
  13. Requires a compatible mobile device, active OnStar service and data plan. 4G LTE service available in select markets. Visit onstar.com for coverage map, details and system limitations. Data plan provided by AT&T.
  14. Requires ABS and Guidance Plan or Navigation Plan Add-On. Visit onstar.com for coverage map. Services vary by model.
  15. OnStar Hands-Free Calling requires active OnStar service and minute plans. Not available in certain markets.
  16. Capabilities may vary by model. Visit onstar.com for details and system limitations. Message and data rates may apply. Requires active OnStar service, email address on file and enrollment in Advanced Diagnostics.

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Larry Giddens was the director of fleet operations for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. in Winston-Salem, NC.

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