Conventional wisdom dictates that you should wait to get the best price on an item, but this may not be true for companies with small to mid-size fleets. The experts say with cut-off dates rapidly approaching for early ordering incentives on 2004 production vehicles, fall ordering could save you both time and money. According to Enterprise Fleet Services, which specializes in serving companies with small to mid-size fleets, planning ahead and ordering vehicles early could have a significant impact on fleet costs and a business’ bottom line. “Based on our own customers’ experience, businesses that order direct from the factory, rather than from available stock, save an average of 6.3 percent per vehicle,” said Steve Bloom, vice president of Enterprise Fleet Services. Some of the vehicles with early order startup dates approaching include the Ford Focus, Taurus, Explorer and F-150, as well as the Buick LaSabre and Chevrolet Express. Dates and timeframes vary for each manufacturer, but specific details can generally be obtained from your fleet management company. “Ordering vehicles directly from the manufacturer requires two to three months lead time for delivery and may also apply to limited production models,” Bloom said. “Usually, vehicles can be drop-shipped to any location in the country.” Bloom suggested that ordering vehicles direct from the manufacturer can benefit a business in many ways. Here are some examples:
  • Early orders receive initial model year pricing, and may include early order incentives, if offered by the manufacturer.

  • Prices sometimes increase later in the year, and by ordering early, it is easier to obtain preferred vehicles, even if demand for those vehicles is high.

  • You can work with the manufacturer to customize vehicles, ensuring that they meet the specific needs of your business, rather than purchasing a vehicle that has been made using more standard specs. This also saves cost on the back end by cutting down on the purchase of after-market equipment.

  • You will generally also get a reduced price because you have ordered the proper vehicle specifications and colors up front, rather than having to add options once vehicles are received.

  • You will have an increased ability to designate shipment dates.

    Just as important as knowing when to order new vehicles is knowing when to dispose of older ones, a process known as “cycling.” Companies with commercial fleets know that negotiating the best buy on the front end is one way to manage costs, but money saved on the back end can also make a big difference. Other considerations include the vehicle’s appearance, mileage, depreciation, resale value and market conditions. A cycling plan not only saves money because of factors like future maintenance, but can also improve a fleet’s fuel economy because newer vehicles generally get better gas mileage. It can also help maintain the business’s professional image, as well as improve driver satisfaction and safety. Bloom adds, “Enterprise has developed a system for analyzing customers’ fleet needs. It enables their business to determine the best time of year to re-market its vehicles based on a close analysis of how each one is used. It is also worth noting that high mileage can mean unexpected breakdowns, missed appointments and lost productivity, making cycling even more critical to your bottom line.” Planning ahead and knowing when to acquire or dispose of your vehicles will not only save time, but will make a distinct difference to the business’s overall financial stability. About Enterprise Fleet Services As a full-service company for businesses with small to mid-size fleets, Enterprise Fleet Services supplies virtually all makes of cars, light and medium duty trucks and service vehicles to businesses nationwide. For more information, visit or call toll free (877) 23-FLEET.