The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Vehicle Inspection Process Advances

February 2006

Fleet fuel expense rises and falls with oil prices, but depreciation expense remains as the single largest expense with which fleet managers must deal. A key component of depreciation management has always been the vehicle condition report; a document that provides the fleet manager with information critical to making certain that vehicles come out of service in the best condition possible. SGS Automotive Services brings a high-tech expertise and professional vehicle inspection knowledge to the condition report process. Providing Inspections Since 1878
SGS, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has been providing testing, inspection, and verification services worldwide since 1878. Serving diverse markets that include agriculture, oil/gas/chemical, and mineral, its North American Automotive Services is the largest vehicle inspection company in the nation, examining more than 16 million vehicles annually for the retail, leasing, banking, used-car, and fleet markets. “The key to managing depreciation is to know, in as much detail as possible, the condition of the vehicle,” says Mike Lisk, SGS sales executive, national accounts. “Our inspectors and the reports they provide give fleet managers that kind of detail.” Many of the 1,100 SGS inspectors are ASE and/or ICAR certified. Offering a Data Gold Mine
Unlike the traditional vehicle condition report, SGS reports are virtual gold mines of data. The customer receives the report replete with digital photos of the entire vehicle, focusing on conditions that may need to be addressed. Identifying data include VIN numbers, year/make/model, trim level, and mileage, and a long list of detail, including tire tread measurements and condition, glass condition, interior and exterior cosmetics, existing or previously repaired structural damage, and acceptability of previous repairs. “All damage is noted and documented using digital imagery,” says Kurt Biggar, VP, sales and marketing. “The resulting report provides the customer with all the information needed.” The reports, with photographs, are transmitted directly to the customer electronically, or they can be reviewed at, the company’s Web site, using password-protected access. Expanding Resale Market Reach
SGS has been working with fleet management companies in using upstream remarketing (employee/driver sales) as a trigger for inspections. “Roughly four to six weeks prior to the delivery of the new car, if the driver does not express an interest in purchasing the company vehicle, an inspection is scheduled,” Biggar says. SGS fills the need that remote vehicle managers, buyers, and sellers have for detailed information on vehicles they often never see, enabling buying and selling decisions from a more informed perspective. “We’re not just part of a selling process, but an overall marketing program, which helps vehicles to be sold more quickly, more easily, and with more detailed information than ever before possible,” says Terry Mollica, SGS sales executive, national accounts.
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