Market Trends

The Weak Link in Corporate Sustainability is the Driver

November 9, 2010

Despite a slow economy, many companies (especially multi-nationals) remain fully committed to achieving self-imposed sustainability targets, which invariably include their fleet operations. However, many fleet programs place a greater focus on modifying the "asset" versus modifying driver behavior.

Tags: Sustainability, Driver Behavior, Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, November 9, 2010 10:05 AM | » Comments(3)

Forecast of 2011 Operating Costs

November 1, 2010

Operating costs will trend higher in the 2011 calendar-year, primarily due to an incremental increase in fuel prices, which represent the largest fleet operating expense category. Another factor contributing to upward pressure on operating expenses will be higher maintenance costs, primarily due to extended replacement cycling. Beyond 2011, fleet acquisition costs are anticipated increase to meet higher CAFE requirements.

Tags: Operating Costs, Fuel Spend, Forecast

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, November 1, 2010 4:11 PM | » Comments(3)

Dealer Consolidation Creates New Headaches for Out-of-Stock Purchases

October 26, 2010

Fleet managers try to minimize the number of out-of-stock purchases. But there are instances when these purchases can't be avoided, such as accident replacement and unanticipated new hires. However, the downsized dealer network has caused searches for out-of-stock vehicles to become more difficult and time-consuming. With OEM production reduced to match demand, fleets attempting to purchase out-of-stock are increasingly competing with retail customers. Is this the new reality?

Tags: replacement vehicles, Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, October 26, 2010 9:01 AM | » Comments(1)

Most Fleets Unprepared for CSA 2010

October 11, 2010

SafeStat has been replaced by Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) 2010, which applies to all truck fleets that operate interstate and require a US DOT number. All vehicles that operate interstate with a 10,001-lb. combined GVWR or greater are covered by CSA 2010. This regulatory enforcement change will create a monumental sea change in how truck fleets manage drivers, their fleet operations, and remain DOT compliant.

Tags: DOT, FMCSA, Compliance, CSA 2010, Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, October 11, 2010 1:55 PM | » Comments(3)

Order-to-Delivery Times Increase Slightly in MY-2010

Multiple factors increased fleet order-to-delivery times, such as quality holds, massive recalls, the Cash for Clunkers program, GM & Chrysler’s emergence from bankruptcy, and the decision to build to demand, not to capacity.

September 29, 2010

Multiple factors increased fleet order-to-delivery times, such as quality holds, massive recalls, the Cash for Clunkers program, GM & Chrysler’s emergence from bankruptcy, and the decision to build to demand, not to capacity. This data is based on a survey, which tracked deliveries of 159,349 new vehicles in the 2010 model-year, representing 86 models.

Tags: Antich, order to delivery times

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Wednesday, September 29, 2010 9:47 AM | » Comments(0)

Viewing the Company Vehicle as an Entitlement

September 13, 2010

A growing number of drivers view the company vehicle as a perk rather than a tool to perform their job. This view is more pronounced in certain generational groups. I speak with many fleet managers and can attest that most echo the belief that attitudes about company vehicles differ by the age of the driver. Many fleet managers believe younger workers have an entitlement attitude. However, these entitlement attitudes appear on both sides of the generational divide.

Tags: Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, September 13, 2010 8:49 AM | » Comments(2)

Do You Know What Your Drivers Are <i>Really</i> Doing?

August 20, 2010

Do you really know who is driving your company-provided vehicles? Often the "at-work" persona of an employee is not the true indicator of their behavior when no one is watching. Recently, someone forwarded me a link to a chat room for pharmaceutical reps. I did a search of posts that included the phrase "company car" and, in short order, I was shocked at some of the comments written about their use of company cars and how drivers play "the system" to their advantage.

Tags: Personal Use, Reimbursement, Driver Safety, Company Vehicle, Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, August 20, 2010 7:54 AM | » Comments(7)

The Need to Extend 50-Percent Bonus Depreciation

August 13, 2010

First-year 50-percent depreciation, known as bonus depreciation, expired Jan. 1, 2010. An amendment to retroactively extend bonus depreciation through the end of calendar-year 2010 has been added as an amendment to H.R. 5297. Bonus depreciation has been benefical to commercial fleets, especially those with long-life assets. As an industry, we need to urge members of Congress to pass H.R. 5297. But this is easier said than done due to the many other contentious issues in the bill.

Tags: Depreciation, Legislation

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, August 13, 2010 3:23 PM | » Comments(0)

Uptick in Fuel-Related Problems in Diesel Trucks

July 27, 2010

The EPA mandated the use of ULSD, effective June 1, 2006. Since then, there has been an uptick in reports of fuel-related problems, such as corrosion in storage tanks and dispensing systems, onboard vehicle fuel tank corrosion, clogged filters, and seal and gasket deterioration. What has the industry scratching its "collective head" is the chronological correlation between the uptick in fuel-related problems and the introduction of ULSD. Is there a connection between the two?

Tags: Corrosion, Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, July 27, 2010 8:51 AM | » Comments(4)

Who Will Succeed You as Fleet Manager?

July 13, 2010

I asked a number of long-time fleet managers, who have the perspective of history, their thoughts about the future of the fleet manager position. In particular, I asked who they thought would succeed them when they retire or move on to other opportunities. A surprising number felt the future for in-house fleet managers is bleak. Others cited no "new blood" being infused into the ranks of the fleet management profession.

Tags: Fleet Manager

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, July 13, 2010 10:30 AM | » Comments(6)

Commercial Fleet Buying Intentions Remain Cautious for 2011-MY

June 28, 2010

Many companies continue to be uncertain as to whether the economic recovery is sustainable and are hesitant to recommence hiring. Most companies anticipate 2011-MY fleet orders will be comparable to 2010-MY ordering, but this is still below 2008-MY levels. Delayed 2011 introductions are prompting fleets to shift some of their orders from fall fleet buys to spring fleet orders. In an exclusive market survey, 300 major corporate fleets reveal their 2011-MY buying inclinations.

Tags: Top Fleets, Fleet Manager, 2011-MY, vehicle order

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, June 28, 2010 7:02 PM | » Comments(1)

Model-Year versus Calendar-Year

June 15, 2010

In the "good old days," the overwhelming majority of new models would be "officially" introduced Oct. 1 of the preceding calendar-year. Little by little, this practice has migrated to the realm of nostalgia as OEMs introduce new models throughout the calendar-year. Year-round new-model introductions have complicated fleet planning and purchasing. Some fleet managers wonder why the U.S. doesn't convert to a calendar-year cycle as used by the majority of the global auto industry.

Tags: production

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, June 15, 2010 9:41 AM | » Comments(6)

U.S. Begins Deploying the Next Generation of GPS

June 4, 2010

Truck fleets were among the earliest adopters of GPS technology. GPS is used to reduce fuel spend by optimizing routing, increase driver accountability by deterring speeding and excessive idling, track hours of service and overtime, and prevent unauthorized usage of assets. A new generation of more powerful and sophisticated satellites are being deployed, which promise to take the GPS to the next level.

Tags: GPS, Truck Fleet, Antich

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, June 4, 2010 2:41 PM | » Comments(0)

Can Fleet Vehicles be Hacked?

May 27, 2010

A new study shows automotive software is as vulnerable to malicious hackers as the average PC. Most people don't realize a typical fleet vehicle contains 70-100 megabytes of binary code in 50-70 onboard microprocessors, and the amount of internal software code promises to grow in the future. The research paper demonstrated how a sophisticated hacker could wreak havoc on a vehicle by manipulating the in-vehicle computer network.

Tags: Vehicle Theft

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:03 PM | » Comments(3)

The Cost of Operating a Fleet Will Increase

May 10, 2010

It will become more expensive to operate a fleet in the coming years. Vehicle acquisition costs will increase. Fuel prices, in all likelihood, will trend upward and maintenance costs will ratchet higher due to more companies adopting extended replacement schedules. In addition, vehicle-related taxes will increase. Let's examine the dynamics that will force fleet expenses to escalate.

Tags: Operating Costs, Wheels Inc., Budget Rent A Car, PHH, Tires

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, May 10, 2010 11:25 AM | » Comments(5)

To Maximize Fleet Efficiency, Incentivize Your Fleet Manager

May 3, 2010

Most major corporations reserve bonuses and other money incentives for senior management. Few make financial incentives available to middle management. Should the fleet manager position be an exception? I argue yes, and here's why.

Tags: Fleet Incentives, salary surveys

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, May 3, 2010 3:09 PM | » Comments(1)

The Danger of Using Car GPS by Fleet Truck Drivers

April 12, 2010

Increasingly, drivers are relying on personal GPS devices for route directions; however, this can be potentially dangerous and expensive for truck fleets. A car GPS device maps out the quickest and shortest routes, but doesn't identify truck-restricted routes or roads with weight, height, and hazardous cargo restrictions.

Tags: GPS, Driver Safety, Truck Fleet

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, April 12, 2010 3:27 PM | » Comments(2)

5 Avoidable Mistakes in Managing Personal Use

April 5, 2010

Personal use administration is a headache for most fleet managers. Oftentimes, this headache is self-induced and avoidable. Here are five common mistakes committed by fleets in administrating a personal use program.

Tags: Personal Use, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, April 5, 2010 12:20 PM | » Comments(4)

SEC Inching Closer to Mandated Carbon Disclosure

March 29, 2010

A growing number of investors, state officials, and environmental groups are lobbying the U.S. Congress to mandate climate change disclosures in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings. A recent SEC interpretive release caught the attention of the corporate fleet community, especially in the wake of a record number of global warming resolutions filed with 58 U.S. companies during the 2009 proxy season. Will fleet managers have to deal with carbon disclosure in the not-too-distant future

Tags: Emissions, SEC

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, March 29, 2010 6:28 PM | » Comments(1)

More Salespeople on the Street Pitching Reimbursement

March 16, 2010

Reimbursement has re-emerged as a fleet issue. One reason is that Runzheimer has a rival, which means two competitive sales forces are aggressively selling vehicle reimbursement programs. Also, the recession, corporate downsizing, funding/credit constraints, OEM viability, and economic uncertainty have renewed senior management's desire to re-examine reimbursement.

Tags: Reimbursement, Runzheimer

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 16, 2010 9:32 AM | » Comments(5)

Fleets Reassess Amortization Rates

March 9, 2010

In the commercial fleet industry, the most common amortization rate used for establishing a depreciation reserve is 50 months. Recently, some major fleets extended amortization rates on new-vehicle orders.

Tags: Amortization, Resale Value, PHH

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 9, 2010 9:40 AM | » Comments(1)

Maintenance Costs Up Due to Frequency of Repair Increases

March 2, 2010

Maintenance costs increased in 2009 due to higher cost of replacement tires, PM oil changes, and labor rates. However, the biggest factor was widespread deferment of vehicle replacement, resulting in the operation of older units.

Tags: Maintenance Costs, GE Capital Fleet Services

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 2, 2010 9:46 AM | » Comments(1)

Short-Term Cost-Cutting Strategies Backfire in the Long-Run

February 18, 2010

The new reality of a tighter corporate operating environment has forced fleet managers to pursue two different types of cost-cutting goals - cost deferral and cost elimination. However, many cost-cutting decisions for fleet are made for the short-term, with very little consideration for total cost of ownership. Sometimes senior management is more interested in the fiscal, rather than economic, consequences of their decisions.

Tags: Operating Costs, Cost-cutting, Replacement Cycles

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Thursday, February 18, 2010 12:41 PM | » Comments(2)

Morgan Stanley & Goldman Sachs Forecast $100-per-Barrel Oil in 2011

February 2, 2010

Goldman Sachs was the first to forecast a $100-plus-per-barrel crude oil price when the bank issued a research report last November, which called for a $110-per-barrel average price for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude in 2011. Morgan Stanley released a similar report in January and targets $95-per-barrel of WTI futures by December 2010, with an average price of $100 per barrel in 2011.

Tags: Morgan Stanley, OPIS, crude oil

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, February 2, 2010 12:41 PM | » Comments(6)

Fleets are Facing an Era of Higher Taxation

January 25, 2010

In 2009, of every $100 spent on fleet, $5 was consumed by taxes. This compares to $4.10 in 2006 and $3 in 1983. The recession has caused sales and property tax revenues to plummet creating widespread shortfalls in government budget funding. States and other governmental jurisdictions are scrambling to find new ways to generate new tax revenues. Again, commercial fleets are in their cross-hairs.

Tags: Taxes, Budget Rent A Car

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, January 25, 2010 3:09 PM | » Comments(-1)

Author Bio

Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

Mike Antich has been covering the fleet management and vehicle remarketing markets for more than 20 years. During this period, Mike has written or edited more than 4,600 articles on the subjects of fleet management, manufacturer fleet activities, the fleet leasing industry, and vehicle remarketing. He was inducted in the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010.

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