Market Trends

Mixed 2008 OTD Performance: Some Models Up, Some Down

The 2008 model-year produced mixed results in order-to-delivery (OTD) perfromance. A protracted UAW strike and flooding in the Midwest delayed some models, while other models posted improved OTD due to reduced retail sales, which expedited fleet production. In addition, there was sufficient rail car availability due to soft retail sales and a decrease in quality holds. READ MORE

Tags: GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services, Wheels Inc., Order-to-Delivery Times, Donlen, ARI, PHH, UAW, LeasePlan

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, September 12, 2008 2:33 PM | » Comments(1)

Import-Badged Models Increase Market Penetration with 2009 Fleet Buy

When fuel prices crossed the $3.25 per gallon threshold, fleets began looking for ways to downsize vehicles or opt to four-cylinder engines.This trend is reinforced by corporate sustainability initiatives and/or fuel spend/GHG reduction programs. The shift to four-cylinder engines is broad-based and includes many of the nation’s largest fleets. One consequence to this increased demand for four-cylinder models is that fleets have increased their purchases of import-badged vehicles. READ MORE

Tags: Downsizing, new vehicle sales

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 9, 2008 11:19 AM | » Comments(0)

Impact of Plant Shutdowns on Ship-Thru Deliveries

With a dramatic decrease in retail truck sales, some fleets are concerned that assembly plant closures and production slowdowns may delay truck deliveries and ship-thru upfits. In addition, there are further concerns about potential fleet allocation issues, availability of transportation, extended lead times caused by shift eliminations, and reduced special equipment runs. One challenge is moving completed upfit vehicles back into "traffic" when an assembly plant is shutdown. READ MORE

Tags: Assembly Plant

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, September 8, 2008 1:29 PM | » Comments(1)

SEC Proposal to Allow Early Adoption of International Accounting Standards

On Aug. 27, the Securities and Exchange Commission raised the possibility that approximately 110 U.S. publicly traded companies will be able to use international accounting standards (IAS) next year and may require all U.S. companies to switch to IAS between 2014-2016. There is a 60-day comment period about the SEC proposal. Fleet leasing will be impacted by the adoption of IAS. It is probable that all fleet leases in the U.S. will need to be capitalized sometime in the 2011-2016 timeframe. READ MORE

Tags: SEC, FASB, Leasing

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, September 5, 2008 10:33 AM | » Comments(0)

The Hidden Cost of Personal Use

With fuel prices remaining elevated, many companies are wondering whether they are charging enough for personal use. At some companies, this discussion is long overdue. When re-evaluating personal use charges, a common mistake is to focus solely on the cost of fuel, which is understandable because, after all, fuel is the catalyst for these discussions. However, doing so ignores the other “hidden” costs of personal use, which have also risen. READ MORE

Tags: vehicle depreciation, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 2, 2008 9:25 AM | » Comments(3)

Fleet Becomes an Epicenter for Interdepartmental Encroachment

Interdepartmental conflicts are common in the medical and IT industries, and at most companies between sales and operations. However, for many years, fleet existed as a realm of its own. Management in other departments often didn’t fully understand the nuances of fleet management other than they got a new vehicle every 36 months. Fleet managers of that era (not that long ago) were the “kings” and “queens” of their own realms. However, that reality is rapidly changing. READ MORE

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, August 28, 2008 1:27 PM | » Comments(4)

Strategic Fleet Management Focuses on Management by Objective

The greatest challenge facing the future of fleet management is how we see ourselves as a profession. Are we administrators of a fleet or are we managers? Do we manage from a tactical level – putting out day-to-day fires – or from a strategic level focusing on specific long-term objectives using metrics to benchmark progress? In the future, you will need a strategic focus to succeed in fleet management; otherwise you run the risk of fading into irrelevancy. READ MORE

Tags: AFLA, Fleet Management

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, August 25, 2008 3:13 PM | » Comments(2)

When Fleet Collides With HR

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (also known as HIPAA) makes it a criminal act to divulge medical information to a third-party without the employee’s permission. Many fleet managers believe HIPAA non-disclosure requirements are counter-productive to fleet safety. One fleet manager lamented to me that “HIPAA is the worst thing that has ever happened to fleet.” READ MORE

Tags: HR

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, August 22, 2008 8:41 AM | » Comments(1)

Fleet Safety Must be Your No. 1 Job Priority

In two decades of chronicling the history of fleet management, I have seen interest in fleet safety ebb and flow. In an annual survey I conduct of fleet managers, they rated fleet safety as their No. 2 concern, right behind the cost of fuel. Why the renewed interest in fleet safety? More and more fleet managers are reporting an uptick in preventable accidents. In addition, fleet managers are feeling pressure from other corporate departments to increase fleet driver safety. READ MORE

Tags: Operating Costs, Accidents, OSHA, Fleet Safety

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, August 18, 2008 12:57 PM | » Comments(1)

Upfitters Increase Prices 3%-8% Due to Higher Commodity Prices

The high cost of materials has caused price increases for truck bodies, trailers, van interiors, liftgates, and other upfit equipment. Prices have increased, on average, 3-8 percent. Upfitting prices have risen multiple times and some truck equipment manufacturers are guaranteeing current prices for only 90 days. Worldwide, prices have soared for commodities used in upfitting, such as steel and aluminum. READ MORE

Tags: Pricing, Trailers, Idle Reduction

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, August 14, 2008 1:44 PM | » Comments(3)

Real World Strategies: 60 Ways to Reduce Your Fuel Spend

Fleets are adopting compensatory strategies to offset high fuel costs. These include selector modification, revised vehicle specs, increased personal use charges, streamlined fleet operations, and modification of driver behavior. READ MORE

Tags: fuel expense

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, August 12, 2008 10:19 AM | » Comments(5)

More Factors Point to an Impending Used-Vehicle Shortage

The past two weeks have produced a dizzying string of announcements ranging from Chrysler Financial stopping lease financing, Chase Auto Finance no longer providing lease financing for Chrysler brands, Wells Fargo ending lease financing, all major OEMs decreasing truck production volumes, and HSBC Financial Corp.’s decision to stop funding auto loans. All of which may be good news for fleets remarketing vehicles two to three years from now. READ MORE

Tags: Remarketing, Chrysler

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, August 7, 2008 8:46 AM | » Comments(3)

How to Develop a Corporate Culture of Fleet Policy Compliance

The best time to control cost is before it occurs and the way to do this is by establishing policies and procedures that inhibit unnecessary spending and protect corporate assets. Adherence to fleet policy is crucial and it should be part of each company’s overall business strategy. The best managed fleets tend to be those whose drivers adhere to a written fleet policy. Does your corporate culture encourage compliance with fleet policy? READ MORE

Tags: fleet policies, Compliance

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, August 5, 2008 8:41 AM | » Comments(1)

Will You Need Fewer Fleet Vehicles in an Era of Hyperconnectivity?

In Tuesday’s blog, I likened predicting the future to a billiard game to illustrate that seemingly unrelated events can influence the future direction of the fleet market – events we may never see coming. With this in mind, let’s rack up our hypothetical balls, placing the “fleet ball” in the center of the rack. Let’s whack the cue ball to see what new fleet scenario may unfold from this catalyst. In this new analogy, the cue ball catalyst is a relatively recent concept called hyperconnectivity. READ MORE

Tags: Web Tools, hyperconnectivity

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, July 31, 2008 4:00 PM | » Comments(3)

Is the U.S. Destined to Follow the U.K. Fleet Model?

Predicting the future has been likened to a billiard game. The cue ball is the catalyst – representing a seminal event – that upon crashing into a racked set of balls triggers not only the initial reaction, but numerous unanticipated secondary and tertiary reactions. When the cue ball strikes its target, it unleashes unanticipated dynamics of balls deflecting off other careening balls, ultimately changing all of their trajectories. Let’s expand the analogy by making “fleet” one of the balls. READ MORE

Tags: Taxes, budget deficit

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, July 28, 2008 11:21 AM | » Comments(2)

Fleet Management Circa 2018

The greatest catalyst for change in fleet management in the next 10 years will be "technology." It is getting increasingly expensive to operate a fleet. There are diminishing opportunities to reduce cost and enhance fleet efficiency using traditional fleet management techniques. A growing number of companies are investigating (or are more receptive) to technology-based fleet solutions. Looking ahead, here are my predictions as to how technology will change fleet management in the next 10 years. READ MORE

Tags: Fleet Management

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, July 25, 2008 9:24 AM | » Comments(2)

Rising Commodity Prices Threaten to Increase Truck Prices

The high cost of raw materials, in addition to the high cost of fuel, is starting to make a financial impact on fleets by increasing costs for truck chassis, bodies, trailers, liftgates, and other upfit equipment. On July 9, Navistar announced that rising commodity costs have forced the company to increase prices of International truck models. Is this another in a series of commodity-related price increases that we will see from other OEMs, upfitters, and trailer manufacturers? READ MORE

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, July 21, 2008 12:28 PM | » Comments(1)

Bleak New-Vehicle Sales to Usher a Strong Used-Vehicle Market

Today's new-vehicle market will generate (ultimately) the used-vehicle market of tomorrow. If there is a decrease in new-vehicle sales, there will be a corresponding decrease in the future number of used vehicles in the marketplace. Even though there is a lot of nervousness in the market, no one is anticipating a dramatic decrease in new-vehicle commercial fleet orders for the 2009 model-year. However, the same cannot be said for the retail new-vehicle market. READ MORE

Tags: 2009-MY, new vehicle sales

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, July 18, 2008 9:01 AM | » Comments(2)

A Perfect Storm Pummels Truck Resale Values

A combination of market forces have converged to create a “perfect storm” to drive down resale values for pickup trucks by 15-25 percent. These convergent forces are higher fuel prices, tighter consumer credit, and a stagnant construction market. As a result, the pool of buyers (hence market demand) for used trucks has contracted, putting downward pressure on resale prices. READ MORE

Tags: Remarketing, Resale Value, Four-Cylinder

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, July 15, 2008 8:56 AM | » Comments(0)

Will High Demand for 4-Cylinder Engines Increase OTD?

Although fleet is extremely important to automakers, the reality is that retail sales and retail considerations drive many OEM decisions. Currently, retail buyers are demanding four-cylinder engines in what appears to be a knee-jerk reaction to paying, on average, $4.03 per gallon for gasoline. Franchise dealers just don’t have enough four-cylinders in inventory to meet this demand and they are clamoring for more product. READ MORE

Tags: Order-to-Delivery Times

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, July 11, 2008 8:19 AM | » Comments(0)

'Location Privacy' Threatens to Emerge as a Major Fleet Issue

I believe “location privacy” has a strong potential to become a hot-button societal issue in the next decade. It will focus on privacy infringement and potential abuse due to the pervasiveness of GPS-based products and services. These long-term implications frighten many privacy advocates. Unfortunately, I believe fleet management will be swept up into this controversy. READ MORE

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, July 7, 2008 4:07 PM | » Comments(1)

Accident Management Costs Trend Upward

On average, 20 percent of fleet vehicles are involved in accidents each year. Although this percentage has remained steady from 2005-2007, the cost of repairing these vehicles is rising. READ MORE

Tags: Accident Management, Cost-Cutting

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, July 3, 2008 3:50 PM | » Comments(0)

Increased Fleet Demand for 4-Cylinder Engines

There is a growing belief among fleet managers that today’s high fuel prices are not a temporary phenomenon, but a new reality. Almost everyone is looking for ways to downsize vehicles (where possible) or opt to four-cylinder engines as part of either a corporate sustainability initiative or fuel spend / GHG reduction program. READ MORE

Tags: green initiatives, Downsizing

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, June 30, 2008 4:03 PM | » Comments(0)

The Dangers of Policy Exceptions

It is these procedures and regulations that determine the types of fleet each of us operates and its characteristics. Think about it. By creating policy such as to who is eligible for a company vehicle, you are, in effect, determining the size of your fleet. In my discussions with fleet management companies over the years, they tell me that the best managed fleets tend to be those that adhere to a written fleet policy. READ MORE

Tags: Fleet Management, fleet policies

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, June 10, 2008 4:13 PM | » Comments(0)

10 Milestones That Changed Fleet Management

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, businesses started to migrate from salesmen reimbursement to company-owned fleets. Since then, 10 milestones have dramatically changed the nature of fleet. READ MORE

Tags: Fleet Management, Fleet Incentives

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, May 30, 2008 4:05 PM | » Comments(3)

Author Bio

Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

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Mike has covered fleet management and remarketing for more than 20 years and entered the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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