Auto Focus

How Far Will Cell Phone Bans Go?

The federal government means business with its new law banning cell phone use while driving commercial vehicles. Can the laws go even further, and how should fleets react?

January 26, 2012

The federal government means business with its new law banning cell phone use while driving commercial vehicles. Can the laws go even further, and how should fleets react?

Tags: Cell Phone Use, ZoomSafer, Distracted Driving, Department of Transportation, federal regulation, Commercial Driver's License, ADTS

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, January 26, 2012 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Righting a Wrong in Arizona

Arizona is one of a super minority of states in which auto rental companies are required by statute to pay for the negligent acts of their renters. Look for new legislation in the coming weeks that proposes to change that.

January 18, 2012

Arizona is one of a super minority of states in which auto rental companies are required by statute to pay for the negligent acts of their renters. Look for new legislation in the coming weeks that proposes to change that.

Tags: Florida, Michigan, ACRA, Arizona, Delaware, Liability, primary insurance

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Company Shutdown Exposes Peer-to-Peer Car-Sharing Issues

The theft of exotic cars due to lack of proper security controls brings up insurance, liability and quality concerns regarding the peer-to-peer model. Sometimes it’s not so smart to cut out the middleman.

January 9, 2012

The theft of exotic cars due to lack of proper security controls brings up insurance, liability and quality concerns regarding the peer-to-peer model. Sometimes it’s not so smart to cut out the middleman.

Tags: Vehicle Theft, car sharing, peer-to-peer, Luxury Rentals, Crime & Fraud, company shutdowns

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, January 9, 2012 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

6 Predictions for the Car Rental Industry in 2012

What roles will independent car rental companies, car dealers and car-sharing technology play in 2012? And will Hertz deal anew for Dollar Thrifty?

December 19, 2011

What roles will independent car rental companies, car dealers and car-sharing technology play in the car rental industry in 2012? And will Hertz deal anew for a Dollar Thrifty merger?

Tags: Hertz, car sharing, Rental Rates, Advantage Rent A Car, independent operators, Used Car Prices, peer-to-peer, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, December 19, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Why is Ford Killing the E-Series?

The workhorse van is being phased out in the coming years in favor of the Transit. The move speaks to the “Europeanization” of the North American van market. Start “right spec’ing” now.

The Ford Transit van, seen here in its present global incarnation, is being re-engineered for the North American commercial market in anticipation of its launch in 2013.

December 8, 2011

The workhorse van is being phased out in the coming years in favor of the Transit. The move speaks to the “Europeanization” of the North American van market. Start “right spec’ing” now.

Tags: Vans, Cargo Vans, Ford Transit Connect, Ford, Ford E-Series

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, December 8, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

10 Annoying Things about Today’s Cars

I know I’m getting cantankerous in my old age, but don’t get me started about things like keyless start, backup cameras and “instant” fuel economy.

Photo courtesy of General Motor Corp.<br />The push-botton, keyless start function in the 2011 Chevrolet Volt.

December 7, 2011

I know I’m getting cantankerous in my old age, but don’t get me started about things like keyless start, backup cameras and “instant” fuel economy.

Tags: ignition trigger, Air Conditioning, fuel economy gauge

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, December 7, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Are Record Car Rental Revenues a Reason to Celebrate?

The U.S. car rental industry’s $22.4 billion in revenues for 2011 is an industry record. Here’s a closer look at the numbers.

November 30, 2011

The U.S. car rental industry’s $22.4 billion in revenues for 2011 is an industry record. Here’s a closer look at the numbers.

Tags: J.D. Power, rental revenue, Fact Book, industry statistics

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, November 30, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

What’s Hot from the L.A. Auto Show

This year’s show features a new flagship sedan for Cadillac, a premium sedan from Hyundai, a slew of compact crossovers and rumblings of a new horsepower war.

Cadillac XTS

November 17, 2011

This year’s show features a new flagship sedan for Cadillac, a premium sedan from Hyundai, a slew of compact crossovers and rumblings of a new horsepower war.

Tags: L.A. Auto Show

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

How Did Ace Rent A Car Win the 2011 Rental Car Satisfaction Study?

In a year in which the industry increased its overall score for the second year in a row, an independent takes the prize.

November 15, 2011

In a year in which the industry increased its overall score for the second year in a row, an independent takes the prize.

Tags: J.D. Power, customer service, customer satisfaction, Ace Rent A Car

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, November 15, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Wholesale Market Drives Q3, But Will Record Rental Revenues Last?

The three public car rental companies posted healthy third quarter results last week. While the quarter was characterized by price competition, healthy volumes and fleet rightsizing, the key driver was the used-car market. But what does the future look like?

November 7, 2011

The three public car rental companies posted healthy third quarter results last week. While the quarter was characterized by price competition, healthy volumes and fleet rightsizing, the key driver was the used-car market. But what does the future look like?

Tags: Depreciation, Hertz, Avis Budget Group, financial report, Used Car Market, Avis Europe, Avis On Location, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, November 7, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

After Historic Highs, a Used Car Value Reset

We’re off those historic used car value highs, but the sky is not falling. Why? Three words: supply, supply, supply.

November 1, 2011

We’re off those historic used car value highs, but the sky is not falling. Why? Three words: supply, supply, supply.

Tags: Fleet Replacement, Used Vehicle Sales, Used Car Market, Used Car Prices

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, November 1, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

What We Can Learn from the Global Auto Rental Marketplace

Franchise systems — and the spirit of the independent operator — are alive and well in the global marketplace, and growing.

October 18, 2011

Franchise systems — and the spirit of the independent operator — are alive and well in the global marketplace, and growing.

Tags: Hertz, Alamo Rent A Car, Europcar, CarTrawler, Last Minute Rent a Car, Citer, Chevrolet Express

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, October 18, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Kicking the Tires on the Latest Alt-fuel Vehicles

Here is a collection of the latest breakthroughs, stalls and updates in the quest for alternative fuel and power — including money for fleets to buy electric vehicles and one EV on sale that seems too good to be true.

Photos by Joanne Tucker<br />The Mercedes B-Class hydrogen fuel cell vehicle.

October 10, 2011

Here is a collection of the latest breakthroughs, stalls and updates in the quest for alternative fuel and power — including money for fleets to buy electric vehicles and one EV on sale that seems too good to be true.

Tags: Ford Transit Connect Electric, Coda Automotive, Wheego, EMC, Mercedes F-Cell, Honda FCX Clarity, Fuel Cell, DC fast charger, Hydrogen Fuel, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, October 10, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(-6)

The EV Experience: Is Range Anxiety Real? (Part 2)

In the second part of this blog on electric vehicle experiences, our five Nissan Leaf drivers weigh in on driving impressions, the realities of range anxiety and the unexpected consequences of plugging in instead of gassing up.

The Leaf is surprisingly roomy and has greater interior dimensions than the 2012 Nissan Versa, including more cargo volume (14.5 cu. ft. compared with 13.8 cu. ft.).

September 28, 2011

In the second part of this blog on electric vehicle experiences, our five Nissan Leaf drivers weigh in on driving impressions, the realities of range anxiety and the unexpected consequences of plugging in instead of gassing up.

Tags: Nissan LEAF, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, September 28, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

The EV Experience: Nissan Leaf Drivers Speak Out (Part 1)

All-electric vehicles are finally in the real world. After 5,000 miles of driving, five Nissan Leaf users share their experiences on the ordering and buying process, charging challenges, figuring costs per mile, the driving experience and the specter of range anxiety. This is part one of a two-part blog, with photos.

The port on the right accepts the Level 1 and Level 2 plugs. This Leaf comes with the Level 3 port, a $700 option.

September 21, 2011

All-electric vehicles are finally in the real world. After 5,000 miles of driving, five Nissan Leaf users share their experiences on the ordering and buying process, charging challenges, figuring costs per mile, the driving experience and the specter of range anxiety. This is part one of a two-part blog, with photos.

Tags: Nissan LEAF, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, September 21, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(4)

Digging Deeper into the Acquisition War

What made Avis decide to publicly announce dropping its bid for Dollar Thrifty?

September 14, 2011

What made Avis decide to publicly announce dropping its bid for Dollar Thrifty?

Tags: Hertz, Avis Budget Group, Avis, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, merger

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, September 14, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(-6)

On Driving Safely versus Productivity

September 1, 2011

Studies show that using a phone while driving causes accidents. But can you get off your phone in the car and still be productive?

Tags: Texting, Safety, Cell Phone Use, Distracted Driving

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, September 1, 2011 12:23 PM | » Comments(-2)

Hertz Lays Out Plan for 1,000 Electric Vehicles and Beyond

August 24, 2011

The electric vehicle “arms race” heats up in car rental. Auto Rental News questions Rich Broome of Hertz on the company’s EV strategy.

Tags: Hertz, car sharing, Chevrolet Volt, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, August 24, 2011 12:44 PM | » Comments(-6)

In Defense of Rental Cars

Getting people to consider buying a used rental car requires dispelling the “beater” myth. And that ain’t easy.

August 17, 2011

Getting people to consider buying a used rental car requires dispelling the “beater” myth. And that ain’t easy.

Tags: Maintenance, Remarketing

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, August 17, 2011 8:31 AM | » Comments(4)

Mother Nature Drives the Market in Q2

The public car rental companies adapted to supply disruptions and an unprecedented used car market while suffering through a “frustrating” merger process.

August 10, 2011

The public car rental companies adapted to supply disruptions and an unprecedented used car market while suffering through a “frustrating” merger process.

Tags: Hertz, Avis, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, Avis Budget Group, merger

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, August 10, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Are We Any Closer to a Hertz and Dollar Thrifty Merger?

Between Hertz’s purchase of a major leasing company and Avis Budget Group’s bid for Avis Europe, it’s time reassess the merger landscape.

July 27, 2011

Between Hertz’s purchase of a major leasing company and Avis Budget Group’s bid for Avis Europe, it’s time reassess the merger landscape.

Tags: Hertz, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, merger

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, July 27, 2011 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

Need Fleet? Get in Line

For small fleets ramping up in the recovery, replacing work vehicles out of stock will be difficult with already tight dealer inventories—except if you’re looking for pickups.

July 13, 2011

For small fleets ramping up in the recovery, replacing work vehicles out of stock will be difficult with already tight dealer inventories—except if you’re looking for pickups.

Tags: Pickup Trucks, shortage

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, July 13, 2011 12:13 PM | » Comments(-13)

Sell Now?

The used car market is at its valuation peak – but the so-called bubble may be better characterized as an air mattress deflating. It’s all about supply.

June 22, 2011

The used car market is at its valuation peak – but the so-called bubble may be better characterized as an air mattress deflating. It’s all about supply.

Tags: Used Car Prices, Used Car Market

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 22, 2011 9:00 AM | » Comments(0)

How the GAO Auto Recall Report Could Affect Auto Rental

June 15, 2011

The report released on June 15 by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) shows just how complicated the recall process is and how difficult it is for vehicle owners to comply. This could help the fight for sensible recall legislation.

Tags: ACRA, Recalls, Government Accountability Office, NHTSA

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 15, 2011 5:59 PM | » Comments(-2)

How is GM Managing Residual Values?

Leo Burns, General Motors’ residual value management guru, shares what was broken and how it’s being fixed.

June 8, 2011

Leo Burns, General Motors’ residual value management guru, shares what was broken and how it’s being fixed.

Tags: residual values, General Motors

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 8, 2011 8:34 AM | » Comments(0)

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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