Market Trends

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. READ MORE

Tags: Accidents, Driver Training, Accident Management, 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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

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. READ MORE

Tags: HR, Layoffs, Recession, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, March 10, 2009 10:31 AM | » Comments(1)

Before You Call the Police, Think of the Impact on Resale Value

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. READ MORE

Tags: Resale Value, Layoffs, Company Vehicle

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, March 2, 2009 3:43 PM | » Comments(0)

Obama’s Stimulus Package Offers Funds for Fleet

February 23, 2009

On Feb. 17, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $789 billion economic stimulus legislation is comprised of $507 billion in spending programs and $282 billion in tax relief. The legislation includes significant new funding for fleets, such as $300 million for diesel emission retrofit grants; $300 million to establish a grant program through the DOE's Clean Cities Program; and $300 million for acquisition of energy-efficient vehicles by the federal fleet READ MORE

Tags: Economic Stimulus, Taxes, stimulus bill, President Obama

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, February 23, 2009 10:50 AM | » Comments(0)

NHTSA Crash Standards to Change in 2011-MY

February 17, 2009

NHTSA's testing and safety criteria for front- and side-impact crashes and rollover resistance have not been substantially revised since the agency started crash testing new models 30 years ago. Recognizing that nine out of 10 vehicles routinely score either four or five stars, NHTSA wants to increase the standards for front- and side-impacts, along with more stringent rollover testing. NHTSA is poised to implement a revised five-star safety rating program starting with 2011 model-year vehicles. READ MORE

Tags: Safety Ratings, 2011-MY, Crash Tests, NHTSA

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, February 17, 2009 12:17 PM | » Comments(1)

Fleet Car Maintenance Costs Increase 5% in 2008-CY

February 8, 2009

Overall fleet car maintenance costs rose 5 percent for the 2008-calendar year compared to 2007, primarily due to increased prices for replacement tires and higher labor rates. Partially mitigating these increases were flat PM expenses and increased vehicle quality, resulting in fewer warranty claims and vehicle recalls. These findings are based on a survey of actual maintenance expenses of 70,374 passenger cars conducted by GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services. READ MORE

Tags: Operating Costs, GE Capital Solutions Fleet Services, Maintenance Costs, study

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Sunday, February 8, 2009 7:22 PM | » Comments(0)

EPA Names Idle-Reduction Systems Eligible for Federal Excise Tax Exemptions

February 2, 2009

Last year, the U.S. Congress granted an exemption from the 12-percent federal excise tax for truck idle reduction systems. Recently, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a list of approved idle reduction systems eligible for the federal excise tax exemption. The exemption applies to sales and installation of these systems since Oct. 4, 2008. READ MORE

Tags: Idling, mileage, Federal Excise Tax, Truck Fleet, EPA

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, February 2, 2009 11:27 AM | » Comments(0)

Odometer Rollbacks Increase 57 Percent from 2004-2008

January 26, 2009

Digital odometer fraud is growing at an alarming rate, according to new research from Carfax. The research data reveals the number of vehicles with rolled-back odometers has increased 57 percent nationwide over the past four years. According to NHTSA, more than 450,000 cases of odometer rollbacks are reported annually. However, the total number of odometer tampering incidents (including those not caught) is estimated to be substantially higher. READ MORE

Tags: Carfax

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Monday, January 26, 2009 11:40 AM | » Comments(2)

Trucks are Earning Assets: How to Make Them More Productive

January 20, 2009

Fleet managers need to view work trucks as earning assets. To maximize truck productivity, it is necessary to optimize specifications, operating procedures, and replacement strategies. When spec’ing vehicles, past history is important, but one outcome to using last model-year specs is repeating past inefficiencies. Fleet managers need to adopt a “clean sheet” approach to how they manage their truck fleets. READ MORE

Tags: Productivity, Spec'ing, Truck Fleet, Work Trucks

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, January 20, 2009 9:50 AM | » Comments(3)

How Long Will the Slump in Used-Vehicle Values Last?

January 13, 2009

We are currently in the midst of the worst used-vehicle market in the past 25 years. Year-over-year prices declined every month in 2008; however, wholesale prices did improve the first 10 days of January. Despite this, many fleets now find that the depreciation rates established 24-36 months ago are insufficient for today's resale market. In many cases, resale values of fleet vehicles are significantly below the remaining book value. Here's a forecast for what lies ahead in the wholesale market. READ MORE

Tags: Resale Value, Used Vehicles, Wholesale Market, Vehicle Sales, Used Vehicle Sales

Author: Mike Antich | Posted @ Tuesday, January 13, 2009 9:41 AM | » Comments(1)

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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