The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

It’s Important to Keep a Proper Perspective!

October 2002, by Ed Bobit - Also by this author

Though pride in not a virtue, it is the parent of many virtues. -M.C. Collins


No one in the world except a mortified saint is actually displeased at the fact of becoming rather important. -R.H Benson


Pride, envy, avarice - these are the sparks Have set on fire the hearts of all men. -Dante Alighieri


There is a paradox in pride: it makes some men ridiculous, but prevents others from becoming so.-Charles Caleb Colton


The headline really grabbed me. It simply read, "Five Million Tires" in big, bold typeface. For just a moment, I thought it might have referred to some fleet magazine as I'm ever-alert and a trained editor.

But no, it was Motor Trend's editor-in-chief, Kevin Smith, shouting about some new subscriber research. Now MT is my favorite among all the so-called "enthusiasts" magazines and I've been on any number of press previews with Kevin so I respect his talents. He's been with a number of 'buff" books and has maintained a notable following.

But he obviously doesn't know about the fleet market. (Well, you can't be expected to be an expert on everything.) "Fleet" is where the domestic manufacturers register about 20 percent of all their new registrations each year.

Kevin was full of pride reporting on the profile of MT readers (1.1 million) and some of their demographics (having 3.19 million vehicles and buying five million tires in the last year).

He went on to reveal how powerful his audience was, being 96 percent male and buying 11 million spark plugs, an average of seven oil filters each year and 34 million quarts of oil.

Those are very marketable figures for their ad salespeople to bandy about and it has manifested itself into a huge advertising portfolio in every issue. And it's a similar success story with the three other buff books out there.

Now hear this! A brief lesson in "Fleet 101" for those either narrow-minded or not informed.

Automotive Fleet has 18,000 fleet manager-type primary readers. Right now they (and nearly half are female professionals) control, manage, buy, remarket and are otherwise responsible for four million cars and another four million trucks. That's a total of eight million vehicles vs MT's 3.2 million.

AF's reader-buyers have as strong an affinity for "their magazine" as do the buff books. They need, rather than enjoy, automotive information on which to base their rational (rather than emotional) decisions.

Five million replacement tires for MTs readers; a mere pittance. You see fleet cars travel, on average twice the mileage each year as do retail as do retail customer's cars. So, whether it's tires, motor oil or whatever, fleet cars are grinding it out twice as fast. Hell, fleet managers have purchased and replaced more than five million tires before the spring thaw.

Another thing we should be clear on. Fleet buyers know what depreciation means; they know life-cycle costing and how to negotiate directly with the factories. They may not know the 0-60 quotient for a Rolls Royce.

So, while MT may crowd their pages with test drives of Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Porsches, all three makes sold less than 25,000 in the U.S. last year; the top two commercial fleets bought more new vehicles than last year. Now that's perspective.

Now let me see if I still have this straight. A four-color full-page ad in AF runs around $8,500 to influence the significantly larger buying group. I just called MT's ad sales department and was told that their similar page rate goes for about $42,000

How about that perspective?


Twitter Facebook Google+


Please note that comments may be moderated. 
Leave this field empty:

Fleet Incentives

Determine the actual cost of owning and running a vehicle in your fleet. Compare vehicles by class and model.


Fleet Tracking And Telematics

Todd Ewing from Verizon Connect will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fleet Management And Leasing

Jack Firriolo from Merchants will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Fuel Management

Bernie Kanavagh from WEX will answer your questions and challenges

View All


Sponsored by

This refers to the liability employers can incur based on the actions of their employees.

Read more


Market Trends

Mike Antich
Upward Pressure on Fleet Costs Threatens to Increase TCO

By Mike Antich
Recently, I conducted a survey of several hundred fleet managers to identify emerging industry trends. One recurrent theme expressed by fleet managers was the concern that fleet costs are starting to experience upward pricing pressures. Here's what they told me.

How to Minimize Unauthorized Use of Corporate Assets

By Mike Antich

View All

Driving Notes

Mike Antich
2018 Chevrolet Equinox Diesel

By Mike Antich
The Chevrolet Equinox adds a 1.6L four-cylinder turbo diesel to its lineup of engine choices for 2018. The fuel-efficient turbo diesel generates 137 hp and 240 lb.-ft. of torque mated to a six-speed automatic.

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

By Paul Clinton

View All

Nobody Asked Me, But...

Sherb Brown
Adapting to a Changing Tide

By Sherb Brown
Fleets are often the beta testers of the vehicle market. That shift away from compact sedans we saw in the fleet market a few years ago is playing out in real time in the retail market right now.

Keep Realistic Fleet Expectations

By Sherb Brown

View All

Data Points

Dylan Brown
What Are the Most Valuable Services Offered by FMCs?

By Dylan Brown
What do fleet managers value in their relationships with fleet management companies? The answer may surprise you.

Demand More From Your Fuel Card Provider

By Dylan Brown

View All

In Memoriam: Coach's Insights

Ed Bobit
Thinking of the Newbies of the Future

By Ed Bobit
A lot has changed in the past 10-15 years, so we can only imagine this momentum will continue into the next decade-plus. How will this change impact the fleet manager of tomorrow?

Managing a Car vs. Work Truck Fleet

By Ed Bobit

View All


Up Next

More From The World's Largest Fleet Publisher