Auto Focus

A Call for Recall Preparedness

In light of the massive recent automotive recalls, car rental companies should prepare for the Big One by acting out a “recall fire drill.”

April 23, 2014

In light of the massive recent automotive recalls, car rental companies should prepare for the Big One by acting out a “recall fire drill.”

Tags: Recalls, Toyota recalls, GM recalls

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, April 23, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

What I Learned at the 2014 Car Rental Show

If the Car Rental Show is an indicator of the health of the industry, the North American market is doing well — while the "growth markets" are really taking off.

The 2014 Car Rental Show welcomed more than 800 attendees, one of the highest attendances in its 19-year history.<br />

April 14, 2014

If the Car Rental Show is an indicator of the health of the industry, the North American market is doing well — while the "growth markets" are really taking off.

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, April 14, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Remembering Elaine Litwer

On the fifth anniversary of Elaine Litwer’s death, I’m brought back to the work she did to repeal vicarious liability. But it’s also caused me to reflect on the mentors in my life.

Elaine celebrates the passage of the Graves Amendment that paved the way for the return of leasing in New York state in 2005. She is flanked by members of the Greater New York National Automobile Dealers Association (GNYADA) and New York Sen. Owen Johnson, to her left.

April 4, 2014

On the fifth anniversary of Elaine Litwer’s death, I’m brought back to the work she did to repeal vicarious liability. But it’s also caused me to reflect on the mentors in my life.

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, April 4, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

6 Market Predictors for 2014

In their fourth quarter conference calls, Avis Budget Group and Hertz gave an outlook on fleet costs, the used car market, fleet optimization strategies and potential acquisitions. Hertz shed light on the fallout from that excess fleet.

March 26, 2014

In their fourth quarter conference calls, Avis Budget Group and Hertz gave an outlook on fleet costs, the used car market, fleet optimization strategies and potential acquisitions. Hertz shed light on the fallout from that excess fleet.

Tags: Zipcar, Hertz, Avis Budget Group, Rental Rates, Used Car Market

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, March 26, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

6 Game Changers for Work Trucks

At NTEA’s 2014 Work Truck Show, manufacturers, conversion companies and parts manufacturers introduced advances in work vehicles along with better ways to produce them.

March 18, 2014

At NTEA’s 2014 Work Truck Show, manufacturers, conversion companies and parts manufacturers introduced advances in work vehicles along with better ways to produce them.

Tags: NTEA, Work Truck Show, Telogis, Knapheide, Propane Autogas, GMC Canyon, Landi Renzo USA, Chevrolet Colorado, XL Hybrids, Ford F-650, Allison Transmission, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, CNG Conversions, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, Lightning Hybrids, CNG, Echo Automotive

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, March 18, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The Missed Story behind RelayRides’ Suspension in New York

March 12, 2014

RelayRides must cease operations in New York State because it violated insurance law. But is it the legal gray area or the model itself that kept the service from growing?

Tags: New York, Car Sharing, peer-to-peer, RelayRides, Department of Financial Services, Hudson Insurance Company, consent order

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, March 12, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Longer Hold Times — Lower Costs?

While depreciation might drop off a cliff and then slide gradually down as a car ages, depreciation is only one factor in the operating cost of a fleet vehicle. When all eight cost factors are calculated, including costs that increase and decrease over time, the Vincentric data shows that operating costs per year don&amp;rsquo;t move in a straight line.

March 4, 2014

Running your fleet vehicles longer isn't always the most cost-effective choice.

Tags: Maintenance, Vincentric, vehicle depreciation, mileage, Vehicle Repairs, fuel

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, March 4, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Millennials’ Views of Cars: So What?

February 18, 2014

Opinion surveys on the intentions of millennials miss the big picture of the real shifts in the way we get around.

Tags: Zipcar, Car Sharing, Enterprise Holdings, millennials, car ownership

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Why Is Mileage Up on Rental Cars?

The mileage increase on rental risk units may be the result of a different dynamic than the one that led rental companies to run up mileage during the Recession.

February 12, 2014

The mileage increase on rental risk units may be the result of a different dynamic than the one that led rental companies to run up mileage during the Recession.

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, February 12, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Will Prepaid Reservations Catch On?

Prepaid reservations might be the new guaranteed reservations; though perfecting the model to balance customer service, utilization and profits is an enormous challenge.

February 5, 2014

Prepaid reservations might be the new guaranteed reservations; though perfecting the model to balance customer service, utilization and profits is an enormous challenge.

Tags: Car Rental Show, no-show fees, guaranteed reservations, prepaid rentals

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, February 5, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Understanding the Winter Freeze and Alt-Fuel Prices

Frigid weather has spiked demand for natural gas and raised wholesale prices. How are fleets using alt-fuels coping?

January 28, 2014

Frigid weather has spiked demand for natural gas and raised wholesale prices. How are fleets using alt-fuels coping?

Tags: Alternative-fuel vehicles, Propane Autogas, Alternative Fuels, Compressed Natural Gas, CNG

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Fleet Is No Longer a Dirty Word

The key is to understand what is meant by “fleet” — and then separate perception from reality.

January 22, 2014

The key is to understand what is meant by “fleet” — and then separate perception from reality.

Tags: Kelley Blue Book, CPO

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, January 22, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Are We Heading to Overcapacity?

January 15, 2014

Auto manufacturers are ready to pump out more cars. But are we headed toward higher incentives and lower residuals?

Tags: Fleet Sales, new car sales, retail sector, vehicle prices, used car values, auto manufacturers

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, January 15, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

I Rented My Car with FlightCar

This business writer took the plunge into peer-to-peer car sharing. Was it worth it?

My 2005 Mazda3 awaits my return on the FlightCar lot at LAX.

January 8, 2014

This business writer took the plunge into peer-to-peer car sharing. Was it worth it?

Tags: peer-to-peer, FlightCar

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, January 8, 2014 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

7 Market Developments to Watch

So you think you’ve got 2014 all figured out? Here are seven trends in the car rental market you may not be thinking about — but should be.

December 20, 2013

So you think you’ve got 2014 all figured out? Here are seven trends in the car rental market you may not be thinking about — but should be.

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, December 20, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Our Hope for Advantage Rent A Car

December 11, 2013

The work for the new Advantage has just begun.

Tags: Advantage Rent A Car, bankruptcy, Catalyst Capital Group, Franchise Services of North America

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, December 11, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(9)

The Silver Lining of Car Rental Consolidation

While the world concentrates on whether rental rates will rise, rates don’t rule the world.

December 4, 2013

While the world concentrates on whether rental rates will rise, rates don’t rule the world.

Tags: J.D. Power, Rental Rates, rental revenue, Customer Satisfaction

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, December 4, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Greetings from the Los Angeles Auto Show

Observations on the cars, the trends, the industry and some very cool things.

November 22, 2013

Observations on the cars, the trends, the industry and some very cool things.

Tags: L.A. Auto Show

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, November 22, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Advantage Bankruptcy: What We Know Right Now

The most recent court documents give clues as to what may have happened to Advantage Rent-A-Car.

November 13, 2013

The most recent court documents give clues as to what may have happened to Advantage Rent-A-Car.

Tags: Federal Trade Commission, Hertz, bankruptcy, Advantage Rent-A-Car

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Finding Inspiration in South Florida

Here’s a quick hit of takeaways from the seminars, roundtables, networking and exhibit hall action at the 2013 Auto Rental Summit.

November 6, 2013

Here’s a quick hit of takeaways from the seminars, roundtables, networking and exhibit hall action at the 2013 Auto Rental Summit.

Tags: J.D. Power, Excise Taxes, Auto Rental Summit, Renter Rated Award

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, November 6, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The Death of Car Rental?

Of course, I stood up in the ballroom of 200 and refuted the notion. But then I got thinking.

October 23, 2013

Of course, I stood up in the ballroom of 200 and refuted the notion. But then I got thinking.

Tags: Car Sharing, car2go, peer-to-peer, RelayRides, Enterprise CarShare, Hertz 24/7, AutoShare

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, October 23, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(6)

Greening Your Fleet without Alt Fuels

These initiatives are often low-hanging fruit, and they won’t cost you much, if anything.

October 16, 2013

These initiatives are often low-hanging fruit, and they won’t cost you much, if anything.

Tags: Green Fleets, Clean Cities, Green Fleet Conference, Argonne National Laboratory

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, October 16, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

Five Green Trends in Fleet

The Green Fleet Conference is the hub of the universe when it comes to alt-fuels and alt-power and their realistic use in fleet.

October 9, 2013

The Green Fleet Conference is the hub of the universe when it comes to alt-fuels and alt-power and their realistic use in fleet.

Tags: Green Fleet Conference, Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vehicles, Natural Gas Vehicles, Propane Autogas, DME, Renewable Natural Gas, cellulosic ethanol, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, October 9, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Should Fleet Drivers Pay Their Own Violations?

With technology aiding the ability to administer traffic fines, fleets need to address their procedures for paying them. Accountability is paramount.

September 15, 2013

With technology aiding the ability to administer traffic fines, fleets need to address their procedures for paying them. Accountability is paramount.

Tags: Liability, Traffic Violations, parking violations, Toll Violations, parking enforcement

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Sunday, September 15, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Service Dogs and Car Rental

A recent rental involving a service animal points out the need for car rental companies to know the rights of service dog owners — and the rights of the rental company as well.

September 13, 2013

A recent rental involving a service animal points out the need for car rental companies to know the rights of service dog owners — and the rights of the rental company as well.

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, September 13, 2013 12:00 AM | » Comments(3)

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Author Bio

Chris Brown

Executive Editor

Chris Brown is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News for Bobit Business Media. Through these publications, online newsletters, trade events and associations, Chris covers all aspects of the fleet world, including fleet management, manufacturer fleet activities, the fleet leasing industry, vehicle remarketing, rental industry news, car rental taxation and legislation as well as automotive environmental initiatives and trends.

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