Market Trends

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(3)

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)

The State of Commercial Fleet Management in 2010

January 8, 2010

There continues to be economic uncertainty among fleets manifested by extended cycling, right-sizing initiatives, and intense pressure to control costs. The consensus is the worst is behind us, but 2010 will be a tough road.

Tags: Commercial Fleets

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, January 8, 2010 9:06 AM | » Comments(1)

Fleet Predictions for the 2010 Calendar-Year

January 4, 2010

Barring the occurrence of unforeseen calamities beyond our control, here are my predictions as to how current fleet industry trend lines will play out in the next 12 months.

Tags: Depreciation, Maintenance, Replacement Tires

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, January 4, 2010 9:29 AM | » Comments(3)

State of the Fleet Market Outside North America

December 22, 2009

The global economic downturn created havoc in the fleet markets in Europe, Australia, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. Here's a summary of each of these regional markets and a forecast of what to expect fro 2010 based on a recent meeting in Barcelona with lessor representatives from each of these regions.

Tags: Fleet Leasing

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, December 22, 2009 9:19 AM | » Comments(0)

A ‘Cash for Clunkers Program’ for Work Trucks

December 1, 2009

Turnover in diesel fleets happens slowly. The average service life for a medium-duty truck is 5-10 years, while a short-haul owner-operator heavy-duty truck typically has the lifespan of 18-20 years. Despite the 2007 and 2010 diesel emission standards, tens of thousands of older, dirtier trucks will remain on the road into the next decade. Is there a way to accelerate the turnover of pre-2007 diesel trucks? One way is a Cash for Clunkers program specifically for work trucks.

Tags: Lifecycle Costs, replacement vehicles, Cash for Clunkers

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, December 1, 2009 10:57 AM | » Comments(3)

Deferring Vehicle Replacements is Counter-Productive to the Intended Goal

November 16, 2009

During economic uncertainty, senior management demands expense reductions and limits capital expenditures. Since fleet is usually among the top 10 corporate capital expenditures, there is pressure to defer vehicle replacements. However, this cost-containment strategy misses the point that all fleet-related expenses, both fixed and operating, are influenced by when a vehicle is replaced. Cost reductions in acquisitions are often offset by rising costs elsewhere.

Tags: Vehicle Replacement, Lifecycle Costs, Downsizing, budget cuts

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, November 16, 2009 8:26 PM | » Comments(1)

Shareholder Pressure for Carbon Disclosure Puts Corporate Fleets in the Cross Hairs

October 30, 2009

A record number of resolutions were filed during the 2009 proxy season by investor groups to get companies to voluntarily disclose data about their "carbon footprints," which includes the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly and indirectly by their operations. These investors argue companies that disclose and mitigate GHG emissions will be rewarded with higher valuations and a lower cost of capital. At many companies, fleet represents a sizeable percent of their carbon footprint.

Tags: Green, Emissions, Carbon Footprint

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, October 30, 2009 3:42 PM | » Comments(-6)

Forecast of Order-to-Delivery Times for 2010-MY Fleet Orders

October 23, 2009

With the 2009 model-year behind us and 2010 model-year ordering in progress, how will 2010-MY order-to-delivery times (OTD) fare? Some foresee the 2010 model-year being a challenging one for OTD (not as challenging as 2009-MY, however), but one that could result in longer than normal delivery times.

Tags: Forecast, Order-to-Delivery Times

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, October 23, 2009 4:02 PM | » Comments(0)

Forecast of Fleet Operating Costs for 2010 Calendar-Year

October 19, 2009

Fuel costs, the largest fleet operating expense, declined dramatically in the 2009 calendar-year due to a sharp decline in worldwide fuel consumption. Also, many fleets downsized, due to widespread corporate layoffs, which lowered overall fuel spend. However, maintenance and repair costs increased in 2009, primarily due to vehicles kept in service for longer periods as a result of corporations slashing capital expenditures. Open the blog for a forecast of 2010 operating cost trends.

Tags: Operating Costs, Industry Research

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, October 19, 2009 5:09 PM | » Comments(2)

Ban Texting While Driving, But Beware of Inadvertent Consequences

October 13, 2009

The popularity of texting has skyrocketed over the past four years. All agree that texting and driving are incompatible. However, a texting ban could have unintended consequences of interfering with productivity devices business drivers and truckers rely on. There are numerous ramifications to overzealous prohibitions on the use of on-board electronic communications that potentially may be counter-productive to driver safety. Let's target unsafe driving behavior, not on-board productivity tools.

Tags: Driver Safety, Texting, Cell Phone Use, Distracted Driving

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, October 13, 2009 10:48 AM | » Comments(-2)

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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