Market Trends

2009 Order-to-Delivery Times Battered on Multiple Fronts

September 29, 2009

The multitude of factors buffeting order-to-delivery (OTD) times for commercial fleets during the 2009 model-year were breathtaking and historic. To say the 2009 model-year was a difficult year for new-vehicle deliveries would be an extreme understatement.

Tags: 2009-MY, Order-to-Delivery Times

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 29, 2009 8:38 AM | » Comments(0)

The Hidden Cost of Personal Use

September 22, 2009

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. However, doing so ignores the other “hidden” costs of personal use, which have also risen.

Tags: Personal Use, resale value, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:12 AM | » Comments(2)

The ‘Gray Areas’ of Fleet Management

September 8, 2009

Let's face it, some companies don't take fleet as seriously as they say they do. For them, fleet is not core to their business. The refrain is: We're in the "widget" business, not the car business. Internal corporate politics introduces many gray areas to fleet management such as making fleet decisions based on favoritism, giving lip service to safety, greenwashing, and pressuring suppliers for favors.

Tags: Fleet Manager, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, September 8, 2009 10:01 AM | » Comments(5)

2009 AFLA Conference Delivers ROI to Commercial Fleet Professionals

August 31, 2009

This is an exciting time for the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) as it gains widespread recognition as a strong voice for the commercial fleet management industry. For the past five years, AFLA has experienced year-over-year growth in membership and conference attendance. As its president, I'm especially proud of AFLA's growing stature and believe its best years are still ahead of it. The upcoming 2009 conference epitomizes the ROI that AFLA offers commercial fleet managers.

Tags: AFLA, AFLA Conference

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, August 31, 2009 12:38 PM | » Comments(0)

What Fleet Managers Find Rewarding About Their Jobs

August 11, 2009

In these challenging times, you might think the rewards of being a fleet manager are few and far between. However, this is not so with many fleet managers. There are six common themes to what fleet managers find fulfilling about their jobs.

Tags: Fleet Manager, Career Building, job satisfaction

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:07 AM | » Comments(3)

Are Fleet Managers Still Having Fun?

July 31, 2009

Any long-time fleet manager knows change is the norm in the fleet management profession. However, in the past 12 months, fleet managers have had to deal with unprecedented challenges. In the wake of tumultuous events buffeting the auto industry and ongoing market uncertainty, do fleet managers still think their jobs are fun? Here are their confidential responses.

Tags: fleet challenges, Fleet Manager, Procurement, job satisfaction

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, July 31, 2009 2:25 PM | » Comments(4)

More Diverse Vehicle Selectors:<br>Will the U.S. Mirror Europe’s Fleet Market?

July 21, 2009

Diverse vehicle selectors offering multiple makes and models are relatively common among European corporate fleets. One of the many reasons is the fragmented fleet market shares of each OEM. In Europe, a large number of nameplates compete for the same commercial fleet business. Could the same future unfold for the U.S. fleet market over the next decade?

Tags: vehicle selectors

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, July 21, 2009 12:19 PM | » Comments(2)

Top 6 Fleet Trends in the Medium-Duty Truck Market

July 14, 2009

Six key trends will determine Class 3-7 medium-duty truck lifecycle costs in the 2010 calendar-year. They are diesel prices, acquisition costs, resale, maintenance costs, replacement tire expense, and environmental regulatory requirements. Here is a forecast of what to expect.

Tags: Remarketing, Diesel, resale value, Replacement Tires, Regulations, Medium-Duty Trucks, Mergers & Acquisitions

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, July 14, 2009 8:43 AM | » Comments(2)

10 Recommendations: <br>What Drivers Should Do After a Fleet Accident

July 7, 2009

Drivers must collect as much information as possible when involved in an accident while driving a company-provided vehicle. Failure to do so can lengthen the accident management process and, in a worst case scenario, create unnecessary liability exposure for the company. What information should be collected? What shouldn't be said? Here are 10 do's and don'ts for fleet managers and drivers to follow.

Tags: Accidents, Driver Training, accident reporting, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, July 7, 2009 11:08 AM | » Comments(3)

Migration to 4-Cylinder Engines Continues with 2010-MY Ordering

June 29, 2009

The ongoing volatility of gasoline prices has prompted a growing number of fleets to transition to four-cylinder engines. This transition started in the 2008-MY and accelerated with 2009-MY ordering, when gas prices surpassed $4 per gallon in the summer of 2008. Early indications are that the migration to four-cylinder engines will continue with 2010-MY ordering. We have already seen glimpses of this trend in the 2010 RFPs submitted to major OEMs.

Tags: four-cylinder, 2009-MY, 2010-MY, fleet ordering

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, June 29, 2009 1:48 PM | » Comments(3)

Does LIBOR Still Correlate to Corporate Borrowing?

June 22, 2009

LIBOR was developed in 1984 as a measure of the real rate at which banks lend money to each other. Since the early 1990s, LIBOR has been used as a funding index for fleet leases. However, when the recent turmoil in the financial markets prompted governments to "backstop" bank borrowing, the cost of lending money began to represent a government-guaranteed rate, which no longer correlated to fleet lessor costs.

Tags: Emkay, Wheels Inc., LIBOR, PHH, LeasePlan

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, June 22, 2009 11:17 AM | » Comments(-1)

Commercial Fleets Reveal 2010-MY Buying Intentions

June 15, 2009

Fleet ordering for the 2010 model-year is shaping up to be higher than 2009-MY, but that's not saying much since 2009 was such an abysmal year. Many commercial fleets deferred 2009-model ordering. Some fleets purchased no replacement vehicles and skipped the 2009 ordering cycle altogether. A large number of commercial fleets decreased the volume of their 2009 ordering and are now playing catch-up with the 2010 model-year.

Tags: 2009-MY, Vehicle Selector, 2010-MY, vehicle order

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, June 15, 2009 2:05 PM | » Comments(1)

Sluggish Economy Continues to Dampen Resale Values for Medium-Duty Trucks

June 9, 2009

Resale values have significantly declined across the board on all medium-duty trucks, with five-year old medium-duty trucks decreasing, on average, between 18-23 percent in the past 12 months. Trucks older than 10 years have been more difficult to sell due to higher fuel and maintenance costs. The ongoing sluggish business environment is the key reason for the soft resale market. Here's a forecast of what's to come.

Tags: resale value, Medium-Duty Trucks

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, June 9, 2009 11:05 AM | » Comments(0)

Fleets Stand Behind GM in Chapter 11, But Questions Linger

June 2, 2009

Automotive Fleet magazine conducted a survey of General Motors' largest commercial fleet customers, immediately following its June 1 announcement that it filed for voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Here's what these commercial fleet managers had to say.

Tags: Customer Service, General Motors

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, June 2, 2009 2:08 PM | » Comments(2)

Short-Sighted Management: What Not to Do in a Recession

May 26, 2009

I am dismayed at the number of fleet managers who have lost their jobs due to corporate cutbacks. Similarly, I am amazed at the short-sightedness of today's senior management making these decisions without regard to the implications of lesser-qualified individuals managing one of their largest asset classes. I predict that companies that downgrade the expertise of their in-house management will be on the wrong side of history and will be the poster children of what not to do in a recession.

Tags: Fleet Management, Layoffs, Fleet Manager, Recession

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:59 AM | » Comments(5)

OEM Parts Prices Increase as Parts Availability Decreases

May 19, 2009

Slow retail sales have prompted not only closure of assembly plants, but also component factories, which is delaying parts deliveries. OEMs are also hiking parts prices, with some experiencing double-digit percentage increases. The dramatic slowdown of automotive sales has also created a "financial crunch" for many parts manufacturers, with many second-tier suppliers going out of business. This portends a difficult environment for fleets to manage accident repair costs.

Tags: OEM, Accident Management, budget cuts, CEI Group, claims management

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, May 19, 2009 7:25 AM | » Comments(1)

The Dangers of Extending Replacement Cycles

May 12, 2009

Vehicle replacement policy is one of the most critical aspects of fleet management. Nearly all fleet-related expenses, both fixed and operating, are influenced by when a vehicle is replaced. In a recessionary economy, senior management demands expense reductions and there is pressure to defer vehicle replacements. However, such a policy change could actually prove to be counterproductive to the intended goal.

Tags: fleet operations, Vehicle Replacement, replacement vehicles, Recession, Replacement Cycles

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:00 AM | » Comments(6)

Put Your Fleet on a Diet

May 4, 2009

Vehicles get better fuel mileage when not loaded with unnecessary weight. An extra 100 lbs. in a vehicle could reduce mpg up to 2 percent. Typically, the chief culprit responsible for accumulating unnecessary weight is drivers. Over the course of a vehicle assignment, drivers accumulate a "cargo" of dated sales materials, point of sale demos, and seldom-used tools carried in trunks, storage bins, and back seats. You'd be surprised how quickly lbs. add up.

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, May 4, 2009 10:22 AM | » Comments(1)

10 Traits of Successful Commercial Fleet Managers

April 21, 2009

Show me a well-run fleet and I will show you a top-notch fleet manager. A fleet manager validates his or her importance by cost-effectively managing corporate assets and controlling the expenses associated with operating these assets. Although each fleet is unique, there are common traits found among successful commercial fleet managers. Here are 10 management traits that ensure a fleet is operating at the optimum level.

Tags: Fleet Manager, Commercial Fleets

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, April 21, 2009 12:14 PM | » Comments(7)

Medium-Duty Operating Costs Increase in 2008-CY

April 13, 2009

Key factors that influenced medium-duty truck operating costs in 2008 were the price of diesel, increased repair costs related to new truck technologies, higher labor rates, and decreased utilization. However, fuel was the primary driver behind higher operating costs in the 2008 calendar-year.

Tags: Operating Costs, Maintenance, Medium-Duty Trucks

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, April 13, 2009 2:35 PM | » Comments(0)

Dual Sourcing Re-examined as Supplier Reliability Comes into Question

April 6, 2009

The jaw-dropping events of the past six months have made an indelible impression on many fleet managers. The very real possibility that two of the Detroit 3 could quickly (and unexpectedly) enter into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, along with some fleet management companies not accepting new-vehicle orders, has caused some corporations (especially those sole sourcing) to reassess sourcing strategies.

Tags: new vehicle sales

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, April 6, 2009 10:34 AM | » Comments(1)

NHTSA Proposal to Reduce Braking Distances Will Not Require Retrofitting Existing Units

March 31, 2009

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing to amend its air brake standard to improve the stopping distance performance of commercial trucks. Based on current safety trend data and brake system technologies, NHTSA is proposing to reduce the required stopping distance for truck tractors by 20 to 30 percent. The proposed rule would cover all truck tractors equipped with air brakes. The proposed rule does not include single unit trucks, buses, or trailers.

Tags: Commercial Fleets, NHTSA

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:04 AM | » Comments(2)

Resale Values Up, But Market Remains Fragile

March 20, 2009

Wholesale used-vehicle prices during fourth quarter 2008 were the worst on record. Since then, wholesale prices rose significantly in January through March. The improvement in pricing in 1Q 2009 reflects better-than-expected retail sales of used vehicles. Resale values for mid-size sedans are substantially higher than in 2008, as are prices for light-duty trucks and SUVs. However, consumer confidence and credit availability remain two wildcards to the market's ongoing vitality.

Tags: resale value, Used Vehicles, Wholesale Market

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Friday, March 20, 2009 4:13 PM | » Comments(-4)

Commercial Leases are Now Eligible Collateral to be Funded by TALF Program

March 17, 2009

The credit gridlock gripping the nation's economy has made it more difficult (and expensive) to fund fleet vehicles using asset-backed securities. Last February, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury launched a joint program called the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) to improve credit conditions in the securitization markets. On March 3, the Federal Reserve expanded the definition of eligible collateral under TALF to include commercial leases. Here's how the program works.

Tags: Credit, U.S. Treasury

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 17, 2009 10:07 AM | » Comments(0)

9 Mistakes to Avoid When Playing "Musical Cars"

March 10, 2009

Since the recession's start at the beginning of 2008, 4.4 million jobs have been lost due to corporate downsizings and layoffs. Many terminated employees were assigned company vehicles. In today's politically correct HR environment, the term "reverse expansion" is being used to describe the retrieval and reassignment of company-provided vehicles from terminated employees. A fleet manager suddenly thrust into a reverse expansion will find it very easy to make mistakes.

Tags: HR, Layoffs, Recession, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 10, 2009 10:31 AM | » 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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