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.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 22, 2009 11:12 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, September 8, 2009 10:01 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Monday, August 31, 2009 12:38 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 11, 2009 11:07 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Friday, July 31, 2009 2:25 PM | »
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?
Posted @ Tuesday, July 21, 2009 12:19 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 14, 2009 8:43 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 7, 2009 11:08 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Monday, June 29, 2009 1:48 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Monday, June 22, 2009 11:17 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Monday, June 15, 2009 2:05 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 9, 2009 11:05 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, June 2, 2009 2:08 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 26, 2009 10:59 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 19, 2009 7:25 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, May 12, 2009 12:00 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Monday, May 4, 2009 10:22 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 21, 2009 12:14 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Monday, April 13, 2009 2:35 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Monday, April 6, 2009 10:34 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 31, 2009 9:04 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Friday, March 20, 2009 4:13 PM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 17, 2009 10:07 AM | »
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.
Posted @ Tuesday, March 10, 2009 10:31 AM | »
March 2, 2009
Massive layoffs are occurring throughout the economy, and many companies find that terminated employees are not returning their assigned company vehicles. Sometimes, the company-provided vehicle is held "hostage" until the employer meets a grievance by the terminated employee. Unfortunately, many HR and legal departments take the "easy way" and are too quick to involve the police to expedite resolution.
Posted @ Monday, March 2, 2009 3:43 PM | »