The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Is It That They Don't Listen? Or That They Just Don't Understand?

April 2005, by Ed Bobit - Also by this author

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.-W. C. Fields

I always keep a supply of stimulant handy in case I see a snake -which I also keep handy.-W.C. Fields

I was in love with a beautiful blonde once - she drove me to think - 'is the one thing I'm indebted to her for.-W.C. Fields

Women are like elephants to me. I like to look at them, but I wouldn't want to own one.-W. C. Fields


I've always had some sort of kinship with W. C. Fields. He, like me, obviously had his own thoughts about the opposite sex. He also, as I do, enjoyed a toast from time to time.

What I really admired about Fields was his role in the movie The Man on the Flying Trapeze, where he kept a near-perfect filing system. Even though he had stacks of papers piled on his relic of a roll-top desk, he somehow knew where everything was.

When looking for a specific paper, he'd run his forefinger down one of the stacks and remarkably pull out the exact item needed.

If you made your living in publishing, you'd really appreciate that.

As Fields personifies, he has trouble understanding elephants, women, and children. I have similar problems trying to understand fleet managers who historically abstain from learning about remarketing. They operate as if no one has informed them that their biggest single expense is depreciation.

Consider that they all feel superiorly qualified to negotiate the purchase of vehicles, which just happens to be one of the easier parts of the fleet manager's responsibilities. The manufacturers all have unpublished guidelines on what kind of deal (the tier you qualify for discounts/incentives) you can plead for. And let's say you are one with a long-term loyalty customer, or know your way around the block more than your next-door neighbor fleet manager. Wow! You can probably finagle an extra $25 or $50 bucks more per vehicle.

With that in mind, a number of our staff just returned from our Conference of Automotive Remarketing (CAR) event. This was attended by 500 key industry people who represent every facet of remarketing. They were there from the factories, wholesalers, auctions, lessors, daily rental, and a host of used-car marketers of every method known.

I swear that between the presentations, the show booth exposure, and simply networking, anyone could find a myriad ways to remarket your vehicles and obtain laterally hundreds of dollars more for them. That's if you understood the new and/or improved processes and cared about exploring new, successful venues for remarketing.

If I were a fleet manager or if a fleet manager answered to me, I'd make sure this was the premier event during the year to go to and learn. I know that the lessors are now experimenting with some of the new online and other developments, and the factories themselves now offer to sell your used units utilizing new and proven methods. But, unless you understand how it works or how it compares, how in the world can you embrace the "best" method for you? Or that you are getting a maximum payout?

For months prior to our February CAR conference we carried ads in Automotive Fleet, Government Fleet, and Fleet Financials urging attendance by fleet managers. Interestingly, aside from Jim McCarthy (Siemens), a regular, John Dmochowsky from Kraft Foods, and maybe another, there was a glaring absence of fleet managers.

My question is: how can anyone who takes fleet management seriously and recognizes that each asset is worth at least $ 15,000 not have a priority to learn about remarketing? Ask anyone who's knowledgeable in the business; you won't learn it reading a book or going to class. Just get it done for your sake and for the company.



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