The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Hotline News: The Latest in Fleet and Leasing News

February 2002, by Staff

DHL Awards Pan-European Lease Deal

REDWOOD CITY, CA - DHL Airways has renewed a pan-European fleet contract with LeasePlan for a fleet contract for 10,000 vehicles in 13 countries.

Government Sued Over Alt-Fuel Vehicles

SAN FRANCISCO - Four environmental groups have sued U.S. government agencies, accusing them of ignoring the 1992 Energy Policy Act mandate to acquire alt-fuel vehicles.

The suit, filed in federal court in San Francisco on Jan. 3, 2002, sought to force 18 federal agencies, ranging from the Commerce Department to the Environmental Protection Agency, to comply with the Energy Policy Act of 1992 and purchase thousands of cars, trucks, and vans that run on alternative fuels. Specifically, the suit charges that the agencies have failed to meet legal targets for alternative-fuel vehicles in their fleets, targets which, as of last year, required that 75 percent of new federal government vehicles purchased for large urban areas be capable of running on alternative fuels.

"With the exception of Department of Energy, none of these agencies has bought the percentage of alternative fuel vehicles that they were required to by law." said Jay Tutchon, an attorney with Earthjustice, which filed the suit on behalf of the Sierra Club, the Bluewater Network, and the Centre for Biological Diversity.


Volvo Updates 2002-MY Fleet Incentives

IRVINE, CA - Volvo has updated its 2002-model year fleet incentives. The revised fleet incentives are:

Model                                                  Fleet Incentive

S40                                                      $1,500

V40                                                     $1,500

S60                                                      $1,500

V70                                                     $1,500

S80                                                      $1,500

C70                                                     $1,500

V70XC                                               $1,500


Hughes Supply Goes to Self-Funded Leasing

ORLANDO, FL - Hughes Supply, headquarted in Orlando, FL, is in the process of moving to self-funded leasing. The company currently uses PHH Arval, CitiCapital Fleet, and others, but the company started the process of self-funding in August 2001. Hughes Fleet Manager Gene Kendall said PHH will continue to handle maintenance of the company's 1,996 cars and light-and medium-duty vehicles, plus some heavy-duty vehicles. Hughes will also continue using PHH InterActive for ordering and vehicle tracking. PHH will also handle driver calls through its call center.


Gholston Named Director, Fleet Sales, for DaimlerChrysler

AUBURN HILLS, MI - Joe Gholston has been named director, fleet sales, for DaimlerChrysler Fleet Operations. He is responsible for Commercial, Bid, Daily Rental, and Dealer Rent-A-Car (DRAC) sales. He was previously senior manager, vehicle remarketing.


2 Major Fleets Transitioning to Reimbursement

TORRANCE, CA  -- Delphi Automotive, the spun-off component division of General Motors, has decreased its fleet size from 3,000 units to 996, with the goal to eliminate company-provided vehicles altogether and to shift employees to driver reimbursement.

Moore North America Inc. in Bannockburn, IL, is another fleet that switched to driver reimbursement, moving to a Runzheimer program.

Ohio Approves Up-Front Lease Tax Laws

COLUMBUS, OH - The state of Ohio has begun collecting use tax up-front on all motor vehicle leases. The law went into effect on Feb. 2, 2002, and applies to leased units with a payload capacity of up to 2,000 lbs. Taxes on leases obtained before Feb. 1, 2002, are subject to the collection policies of the old law.

The vehicle lease date does not apply to the master lease but to the individual units. Affected units will be taxed up-front, based on the total lease payments over the term of the lease. The term of lease for most open-end leases is 12 months; month-to-month extensions will be taxed on the monthly rentals. Taxes are collected by the dealer at the time of the lease.


Massachusetts Delays Mandated ZEV Sales

BOSTON - The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has delayed for four years mandated sales of zero-emission vehicles, according to the Boston Globe. Despite the delay, Acting Governor Jane Swift promised that by 2007, one in every five new cars sold in the state will be powered by non-polluting technology.


Hino May Produce Trucks in the U.S.

TOKYO - Hino Motors Ltd. is considering producing trucks in the United States and in other overseas markets, according to the business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun. The business daily report said that Hino would build the trucks at a Toyota plant in California as early as 2004.


North Dakota State Fleet Switches to E-10

BISMARCK, ND - North Dakota's Director of State Fleet Services Paul Feyereisen has directed PS Energy Group to switch over the state's 13 on-site facilities to a 10 percent ethanol blend of gasoline (E-10) as part of the state's effort to support ethanol use. The conversion would be completed in February. PS Energy Group is an Atlanta-based company that provides on-site and retail fuel management services for state and local governments as well as larger public corporations.

GPS System May Be Vulnerable to Terrorism

WASHINGTON, DC - The global positioning system (GPS) used by many fleets may be threatened with disruption by terrorists, according to a report issued by The Heritage Foundation. The report states that the GPS system is vulnerable because its low-power signal can be interrupted, and Russia is actively marketing GPS jamming equipment. The report recommends increasing the number of GPS satellites. A similar report prepared in August 2001 for the Department of Transportation (DOT) states that the threat to transportation could be "severe." It sees a threat to the GPS satellites in the ballistic missile technology under development by Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.


Ford Offers Rebates and No-Interest Loans

DEARBORN, MI - Ford Motor Co. launched a new retail incentive program on Jan. 14 2002, offering customers up to $2,500 cash back on zero-percent financing on most of its 2002 Ford-brand cars and trucks. The program runs Jan. 14 through March 5 and replaces Ford's no-interest financing program. Ford's cash-back bonus program - ranging from $1,000 on the Focus, Mustang, and ZX2 to $2,500 on the Windstar, U8500 F-Series, Explorer Sport, and Expedition sport/utility vehicle - resemble General Motors' two-week-old program that offers a $2002 cash-back bonus on all 2002 models. Ford customers also can choose 0.0 to 4.9 percent financing or special lease options in lieu of the cash rebates. The Ford Thunderbird and Escape are excluded from the promotion. Ford's 2001 models are also eligible for cash back or special financing.


D/C Unit Offers Rebates & Low-Cost Loans

AUBURN HILLS, MI - With its zero-finance loan program ended, DaimlerChrysler AG's Chrysler Group launched a new consumer incentive program on Jan. 9, 2002, that offers a mix of cash rebates and low-rate loans that vary depending on the vehicle and where the buyer lives.

Chrysler's latest incentive package, which expires March 5, excludes all 2001 models, the Jeep Liberty sport/utility vehicle, and some minivans. Low-rate loans are available on PT Cruiser, which had been left out of previous incentive offerings. For most other Chrysler, Doge, and Jeep vehicles, consumers can get cash rebates between $500 and $2,000 or 3.9-percent financing on loans up to 60 months. The specific deal depends on the vehicle model and where the buyer lives.


Cadillac to Launch Luxury Crossover in '03

DETROIT - Cadillac will enter one of the fastest emerging market segments with the production of an all-new luxury crossover vehicle, named SRX. The Cadillac SRX is one of five all-new Cadillac products planned for production during the next 18 months. It is expected to hit the market in the first half of 2003. It will be built at GM's new Lansing Grand River Assembly Plant facility, the same facility currently producing the 2003 Cadillac CTS sedan.


Inattentive Drivers Law Passed in WA

NORTH BEND, WA - Drivers who talk on cell phones, put on makeup, or otherwise don't watch the roads in North Bend now face stiffer penalties for moving violations. The North Bend City Council on Dec. 18, 2001, passed a so-called "inattentive drivers" ordinance that targets people who violate traffic laws because they were distracted by such activities as talking on a cell phone, eating or smoking. Police can already cite motorists for negligent driving, but the new ordinance spells out specific behaviors that could lead to heftier fines. The law took effect Jan. 1 in the town, which is 30 miles east of Seattle.


AFLA Announces New Officers for 2002-2003

TORRANCE, CA - The new officers and directors of the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) for 2002-2003 are: Jim Anselmi (Lorillard Tobacco), vice president; Billie Doying (Lupient Enterprises), executive secretary; Mark Conroy (LeasePlan), director-lessors; Patsy Brownson (Cox Enterprises), director-fleet; and Jerry Frick (Ford Motor Co.), director-allied.


Dollar Halts Program to Fingerprint Customers

TULSA, OK - Dollar Rent a Car stopped a trial program on Jan. 8, 2002, that required customers to be fingerprinted. Established to combat fraud, which costs Dollar about $1 million annually, the company started the program after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. It marked the first time a company required customers to be fingerprinted. Dollar customers at 14 airports were required to put their thumb imprints on car rental contracts. The three-month trial program ended 22 days early because fraud didn't appear to be decreasing. "The anticipated savings just weren't compelling enough," says Jim Senese, Dollar's vice president of quality assurance.


Final Fleet Order Dates for 2002 D/C Models

AUBURN HILLS, MI - DaimlerChrysler has released 2002 Final Fleet Order Dates for all Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles. Most vehicle lines have a final order date of May 1, 2002.




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