Auto Focus

When Commercial Parking Bans Go Too Far

Is it a neighborhood aesthetics issue or an intrusion on personal freedom? At any rate, a new local law will force many contractors, landscapers and fleets that allow workers to take vehicles home to rethink their transportation.

Is it a neighborhood aesthetics issue or an intrusion on personal freedom? At any rate, a new local law will force many contractors, landscapers and fleets that allow workers to take vehicles home to rethink their transportation. READ MORE

Tags: Parking, Law Enforcement, Parking Violations

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, February 16, 2012 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Some Thoughts on Michael LaPlaca

Michael and his wife Bonnie enjoy a meal at one of their favorite San Francisco restaurants.

These remembrances speak to the more personal side of the lawyer that helped guide the auto rental industry for close to 50 years. READ MORE

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, February 10, 2012 12:00 AM | » Comments(7)

Which Hybrids Pay Back the Quickest?

After five years and 15,000 miles of driving per year, are there any hybrids that actually have a lower cost of ownership than their gas-engine counterparts? One unexpected vehicle takes the prize. READ MORE

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, February 3, 2012 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

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?

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? READ MORE

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

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.

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. READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

Tags: Vehicle Theft, Car Sharing, Peer-to-Peer, Luxury Rentals, Crime & Fraud

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?

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? READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

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

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. READ MORE

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.

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

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?

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? READ MORE

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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. READ MORE

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.).

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. READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

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?

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

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

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

Tags: Texting, 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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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. READ MORE

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.

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. READ MORE

Tags: Pickup Trucks, shortage

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

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Chris Brown

Executive Editor

Chris is the executive editor of Business Fleet Magazine and Auto Rental News. He covers all aspects of the fleet world.

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