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Truck Overloading is an Ongoing Safety, Risk Management & Operating Cost Problem

Not only is an overloaded truck in violation of numerous state and federal regulations, it is unsafe to operate. As statistics show, year-after-year, overloaded trucks are one of the leading causes of truck-related accidents. In addition to safety concerns, an overloaded truck is costly to maintain and operate. READ MORE

Industry Dialogue Needed to Ensure Regulations Don’t Impede Advances in Fleet Technology

A watershed moment occurred July 21, 2015, with the introduction of a first-of-its-kind bill, the Security and Privacy in Your Car Act. It directs NHTSA to conduct a rulemaking to issue vehicle cybersecurity regulations against unauthorized access to electronic controls or driving data. There are number of stakeholders in the “OBD ecosystem.” In addition to government regulators and auto OEMs, important OBD stakeholders include fleet managers, aftermarket suppliers, and industry associations. READ MORE

Graphic courtesy of NHTSA.

NHTSA’s New 5-Star Crash-Test Criteria Will Increase Safety and Acquisition Costs

On Dec. 8, 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation proposed upgrading the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Rating system for new vehicles by adding new standards for accident-avoidance technology, which will make it much tougher for OEMs to achieve a 5-Star Rating. Without a doubt these safety technologies are beneficial, but they cost money and will also exert upward pressure on new-vehicle acquisition costs. What are the full fleet implications? READ MORE

Do Your Drivers Know their Company Vehicle is not Equipped with a Spare Tire?

As a fleet manager, it is your responsibility to let drivers know their company vehicle is not equipped with a spare tire. The danger is many drivers do not know their vehicle doesn’t have a spare – until they need it. Drivers often say they were never told their new company vehicle didn’t come with a spare. Approximately 36 percent of model-year 2015 vehicles were not equipped with a spare tire. This compares to 5 percent in 2006. READ MORE

The Popularity of Euro-Style Vans to Put Upward Pressure on Euro-Metric Replacement Tire Costs

Sales of Euro-style vans exceeded total sales of traditional body-on-frame vans for the first time in 2015. This is an important milestone in the evolution of the fleet van market, but the rapid market share expansion of Euro-style vans will have a near-term impact on replacement tire availability, which, in turn, will exert upward pressure on pricing. READ MORE

Flat Fuel Prices Forecast to Extend Through 2016

Lower prices for gasoline and diesel have been a welcome relief for fleets, in some cases, reducing operating costs by 25-30 percent. While the past three years have been heaven-sent for the fleet industry overall, it has had a dramatic impact on fleets operated by energy companies, which are scrambling to cut costs to offset the decline in oil prices. The unfortunate fact of life is that one person’s fortune is sometimes another’s misfortune. READ MORE

Operating Costs Flat for Third Consecutive Year

Calendar-year 2015 marks the third consecutive year that fleet operating costs have remained stable compared to the past three years, primarily due to the continuing softness in gasoline and diesel prices. Replacement tires, the second highest operating cost, were stable due to the ongoing softness in commodity prices, primarily rubber and oil, while increased maintenance intervals contributed to lower maintenance costs for fleets. The forecast is more of the same for CY-2016. READ MORE

Managing Fleet with a Long-Term Perspective

If you implement fleet programs that contribute to the achievement of overall company-wide goals, you will get the attention (and praise) of senior management. You must view vehicle acquisition, replacement planning, funding alternatives, and sourcing alliances with manufacturers and suppliers as high-level strategic corporate decisions. Without long-term planning, it is impossible to have a well-managed fleet. READ MORE

Increased Demand and Rail Delays Create Upfitter Logjam in MY-2015

One challenge for both the 2015- and 2014-MY has been the increased volume of fleet vehicles going to upfitters, which has resulted in capacity constraints. With the increasing demand and growth of the commercial truck and van segments – particularly among utilities and service industries – the percentage of upfitted vehicles is growing. Upfitters are feeling the pressure of increased demand. READ MORE

High-Roof Vans Causing OTD Delays

Railroad backlogs impacted ship-thru units requiring upfitted equipment in the 2015-MY. Not only is there a rail-car shortage, but there were also logistical delays in loading and unloading rail cars due to the higher volume of high-roof vehicles. The limited number of rail cars that can accommodate the larger, high-roof vans created a backlog at assembly plants and caused delays in shipping to and from upfitters. READ MORE

New Category of Fleet Manager to Gain Legitimacy

For the past several decades, FMCs have employed in-house fleet managers in their fleet administration departments to manage client fleets, but were promoted from within the FMC. Now, we are starting to witness FMCs hiring traditional fleet managers. Does this make a trend? It is still too early to tell, but, what I can say is that it has caught our attention. My prediction is that this is indeed the start of a bona fide, long-term, industry trend that will accelerate in future years. READ MORE

Vehicle Abuse: An Overlooked Remarketing Cost

The resale value of a used vehicle is determined by three factors: the unit’s age, total mileage, and overall condition. A used company vehicle in poor condition, because of driver abuse or neglect, will result in lost resale value or incur unnecessary reconditioning expense at auction. Here's what you can do to minimize vehicle abuse. READ MORE

Impact of Chinese Truck Tires on Fleet Aftermarket

One factor driving the deluge of Chinese exports of replacement truck tires to the U.S. is China's immense tire production overcapacity. In 2015, China manufactured 120 million tires, with an overcapacity rate of almost 25 percent. The influx of Chinese truck tires is also having a detrimental effect on the tire retreading industry, because many of these “bargain” tires have only one life because they cannot be retreaded. READ MORE

Why Element Wants to Buy the Fleet Businesses of GE Capital

Element Financial Corp. has reached a definitive agreement to buy GE Capital's fleet assets in the U.S., Mexico, Australia, and New Zealand. Separately, Arval will acquire the European portion of GE's fleet business. READ MORE

Fleet’s Scope of Responsibilities Grows Increasingly Fuzzy

At one time, the scope of the fleet department’s responsibilities was crystal clear. However, over time these demarcation lines have shifted and departmental boundaries separating them have become fuzzy. Now, collaboration with sourcing, legal, HR, finance, sales, service, and environmental, health & safety (EHS) is needed, often requiring approvals or buy-in from individual departments. There is only one strategy fleet managers can adopt in this new world of fleet management and here it is. READ MORE

Potential Roadblocks to the Adoption of Autonomous Vehicles in Fleet

Two of the most significant changes in fleet management were the result of military breakthroughs – namely the opening of GPS to civilian use and the creation of the Internet, both of which will be critical to operating autonomous vehicles. While extremely difficult to do, technology will not be the issue with the implementation of autonomous vehicles. Other broader non-fleet issues may slow or inhibit widespread implementation of autonomous vehicles. READ MORE

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Terminology used in many European countries to define closed end Operating Leases where the lessor is responsible for the cost of maintenance and tires in addition to taking residual value risk.

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Author Bio

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Mike Antich

Editor and Associate Publisher

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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