Auto Focus

My Ride in the X-Prize Winner (video)

October 14, 2010

The all-electric E-Tracer and its gas-powered equivalent, the Monotracer, are not practical alternatives to the passenger car. But if you’re interested in a new form of mobility, you can have one for about $80,000 to $100,000.

Tags: Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, October 14, 2010 10:24 AM | » Comments(0)

Chevy Volt Test Ride

October 6, 2010

When it finally makes it to fleet, drivers will like the Volt’s large (for an EV) cargo space, while the gas-power range-extending capabilities should open up a lot more possibilities for fleet applications. Check out the photos.

Tags: Chevrolet, Nissan LEAF, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, October 6, 2010 11:14 AM | » Comments(0)

The Nissan LEAF: an EV, and a Real Car

September 30, 2010

We took a spin in the Nissan LEAF. The fit-and-finish and drive characteristics are up to North American standards, and the range does not disappoint.

Tags: Nissan LEAF, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, September 30, 2010 12:33 PM | » Comments(0)

Avis Releases Car Rental Rate Comparison

September 24, 2010

Analysis ranks weekend pricing for major brands to show how Hertz competes with Dollar and Thrifty through its AAA rate. Will regulators care?

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

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, September 24, 2010 12:00 AM | » Comments(2)

What is Peer-to-Peer Renting?

September 23, 2010

Owning a fleet is so 2009. Welcome to the new neighborhood car rental.

Tags: Whipcar, RelayRides, Car Sharing, Peer-to-Peer

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, September 23, 2010 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Coping with EV Range Anxiety

September 13, 2010

Most of us fill our gas tanks when we have 40 miles to ‘Empty.’ With electric vehicles, the fun is just beginning.

Tags: Mitsubishi, Battery-Electric Vehicles

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, September 13, 2010 10:44 AM | » Comments(0)

Will the N.Y. Anti-steering Law Work?

August 30, 2010

Understanding the other side of the claims process can give independent RACs the tools to get more replacement business.

Tags: State Laws, independent operators

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, August 30, 2010 9:53 AM | » Comments(1)

Customer Overbooking – A Car Rental Operator’s Nightmare

August 11, 2010

This letter from a car rental operator provides an on-the-ground view of how one customer can tax system resources to the point of blowing profit right out of the water.

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, August 11, 2010 9:43 AM | » Comments(8)

New Ford Explorer Saves Fuel, but What About Capabilities?

July 27, 2010

Better fuel economy on a truck usually comes with a performance trade off.

Tags: Ford Explorer

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, July 27, 2010 8:36 AM | » Comments(2)

A Few Thoughts on Better Utilization of Fleet Vehicles

July 21, 2010

Technology is making possible peer-to-peer car sharing, “fleet sharing,” one-way rentals and getting more use out of pool vehicles.

Tags: Zipcar, Car Sharing, car2go, Peer-to-Peer, One-Way Rentals, gps

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, July 21, 2010 12:00 AM | » Comments(0)

Small Fleet Management is not an Afterthought

July 7, 2010

With so much room for improvement, small fleets can achieve greater savings with better fleet management a lot quicker and easier than their large fleet cousins.

Tags: gps, Fleet Management, vehicle depreciation

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, July 7, 2010 5:26 PM | » Comments(1)

Framing the H.R. 4175 Debate

June 23, 2010

National legislation is needed to eradicate discriminatory excise taxes on motor vehicle rentals.

Tags: rental taxes, proposed legislation

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 23, 2010 10:55 AM | » Comments(0)

More from Chrysler’s Fleet Preview in Detroit

June 16, 2010

A year after the Fiat partnership, Chrysler is in the midst of a product offensive.

Tags: Jeep, Dodge, Pentastar, Chrysler, Ram Truck

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, June 16, 2010 11:54 AM | » Comments(0)

Guest Blog: How Car Rental Is not Like the Airlines

June 8, 2010

The president of ACRA responds to a travel writer's column that takes issue with "whacky" car rental rules.

Tags: no-show fee, ACRA

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, June 8, 2010 9:32 AM | » Comments(10)

Marchionne Lays out Chrysler’s Future in Detroit

June 3, 2010

At Chrysler’s annual fleet preview in Detroit last week, Sergio Marchionne, Fiat and Chrysler’s CEO laid out Chrysler’s five-year plan for profitability. What a difference a year makes.

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, June 3, 2010 12:22 PM | » Comments(0)

Here We Go Again: Graves Amendment Under Attack

May 21, 2010

A proposed amendment to the Motor Vehicle Safety Act of 2010 would overturn existing law preventing vicarious liability of renting and leasing companies. Industry associations claimed a small victory this week—but it may not be over.

Tags: vicarious liability, TRALA, motorcoaches, ACRA, Graves Amendment

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, May 21, 2010 12:00 AM | » Comments(5)

2010 Audi A3 TDI Test Drive

May 17, 2010

Driving pleasure and green can coexist. Includes Vincentric fleet lifecycle data.

Tags: Audi, Diesel, Diesel Fuel Vehicles, Diesel Emissions

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, May 17, 2010 9:08 AM | » Comments(0)

CRS 2010: Did We Gain Momentum on No-show Fees?

May 12, 2010

The ACRA panel at the Car Rental Show dug into the issue with the most depth and insight yet in a public forum. With the changing rental car landscape, is there a new willingness to get this done?

Tags: no-show fee, ACRA

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, May 12, 2010 9:57 AM | » Comments(0)

And Then There Were Three

May 4, 2010

How will the potential Hertz acquisition of Dollar Thrifty affect franchisees and independents?

Tags: Federal Trade Commission, Hertz, Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group, merger

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Tuesday, May 4, 2010 12:00 AM | » Comments(1)

Key Takeaways from NAFA’s 2010 Fleet Management Institute & Expo

April 29, 2010

North America’s annual gathering of fleet professionals took place this week in Detroit. NAFA FMI is the best place to take the pulse of the fleet industry and look into the future.

Tags: Audi, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Subaru, Legislation, Honda, NAFA, Volkswagen, Chrysler, Alternative Fuels, General Motors

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Thursday, April 29, 2010 2:22 PM | » Comments(0)

Key Takeaways from the 2010 Car Rental Show

April 23, 2010

From Wall Street to Main Street, the renewal of the industry was on display in the conference halls and expo floor. Expect action from ACRA on key issues.

Tags: ACRA

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, April 23, 2010 9:23 AM | » Comments(0)

Guest Post: European ... or you’re a peein’?

April 8, 2010

A car rental executive argues why no-show fees can help operators run tighter fleets and gain higher utilization.

Tags: no-show fee

Author: Robert Barton | Posted @ Thursday, April 8, 2010 2:50 PM | » Comments(1)

Isuzu Gets Gas Engines Back

March 24, 2010

More from the Work Truck Show: Isuzu reaches agreement with GM for its gas engines; GM introduces Sierra Denali HD and some thoughts on the term "best in class."

Tags: Isuzu, Work Truck Show, Pickup Trucks, General Motors

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Wednesday, March 24, 2010 2:13 PM | » Comments(0)

Sprinter Lands at Mercedes Dealerships

March 22, 2010

More from the Work Truck Show: Daimler gives Sprinter back to Mercedes; Freightliner Custom Chassis gets an all-electric version and a new look for the boxy step van.

Tags: Mercedes-Benz, NTEA, Work Truck Show, Freightliner, Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz Sprinter

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Monday, March 22, 2010 11:08 AM | » Comments(1)

New Ram Brand to Get Fiat Vans?

March 19, 2010

In a series of reports based on the Work Truck Show, here’s a compendium of new truck offerings and future plans from the OEMs.

Tags: NTEA, Work Truck Show, Fiat, Chrysler, Ram Truck

Author: Chris Brown | Posted @ Friday, March 19, 2010 9:55 AM | » Comments(0)

Author Bio

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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