When asked by a leading research firm where fleet managers were obtaining information to help them do their jobs better, nearly 80 percent said from professional magazines. Not surprisingly, they said the Internet was their habit with more than 70 percent.
Shortly, you will be receiving Automotive Fleet’s annual Fact Book that’s chock-full of updated directory data. Much of the content is not available elsewhere, although we do post some of it on our website. While other research confirms that fleet managers refer to the data often, the statistical section is not the favorite part.
And, it should be. Why, you ask? Here are a few basic examples that will make you conversant both with your CFO and effective in networking with your peers.
Using the period from 2007 to 2012 you should know that, after the tough recession years, commercial fleet sales should be ahead of ’07 this year.
Important? Yes, it means that the factories and FMCs are totally healthy and may be more flexible for services and in your negotiations. Blend this in with your own corporate expansion or other direction and it may provide an entrance to a better buying tier.
Similarly, you can study the OEM’s market share.
Important? Yes! Are “imports” making a bid for your business? Who’s “hungry” for your business with the best deal? What does it mean in terms of volume vs. delivery time vs. projected remarketing values?
“If the rich could hire other people to die for them, the poor could make a wonderful living.”
“The wise man, even when he holds his tongue, says more than the fool when he speaks.”
“I don’t want to become immortal through my work. I want to become immortal through not dying.”
It could also mean that, since daily rental fleet sales are largely non-buyback, they are now more profitable for the OEMs. This could mitigate against expanded commercial fleet incentives as rental sales far exceed in the total fleet market.
Commercial fleet buyers are now often finding that purchasing off special retail incentives (especially for out-of-stock) are as good or offer better savings.
For budgets you need to know trends; i.e. the Wall Street Journal figured out that the average price paid in 2012 for a new car was up $3,099 vs. same time in 2007.
Black Book figures that in that similar period three-year-old cars had a value increase of just over $2,800.
Each year, AF conducts and publishes the results of both operating costs and maintenance costs studies, which are key in making estimates for budget.
One “hot” cost area is for tires. For a mid-size model major brand tire (Michelin — P205/60R16) the cost was $127 in 2007. In 2012, that same tire is priced at $176.
This data should alert you to the value of obtaining, studying, and projecting your own costs based on solid industry statistics. That’s why we invest in the many industry surveys and make them available to you. Much is encapsulated in our annual Fact Book, due out in June.
One last thought on “numbers.” Keep us informed if you qualified for a listing in our Top 300 Commercial Fleets. It’s an honor and you can find similar fleets like your own to compare numbers with for cost savings.
And a final, final “number” idea; keep AF as your No. 1 source for supporting data.