Photo courtesy of KAR Auction Services

Photo courtesy of KAR Auction Services 

While the COVID-19 pandemic slowed remarketing efforts for some fleets and ramped them up for others over the past year, 2021 fleet remarketing is looking better for most everyone. 

That’s the outlook from Debbie Struna, national account manager for Fleet Street Remarketing (FSR), a Florida-based firm specializing in remarketing fleet vehicles for more than 30 years. 

Debbie Struna of Fleet Street Remarketing

Debbie Struna of Fleet Street Remarketing

“In 2021, things seem to be turning around,” Struna observes. “Remarketing values, down over the past year, are rising. This past February was the best month of remarketing values in a while.”

The pandemic’s uneven impact has related to a company’s business sector, with delivery fleets predictably faring well, says Struna. In addition, some remarketing-dependent processes—vehicle registrations, titling, etc.—slowed significantly as government offices reduced staffing. 

A native of Clarion, Pa., who holds a degree in Business Administration, Marketing, from Clarion University, Struna is a 13-year fleet veteran. Her background includes stints as manager of RiteAid’s 1,800-vehicle national fleet and western region sales representative for Volkswagen. She joined FSR in 2017.

24/7 Future: Fast, Customized

Noting that fleet remarketing is already a 24/7 process, Struna predicts it will continue to grow faster, easier and more customized. With digital sales open to as a wide an audience as desired, she advises working with a remarketing firm “that can handle this 24/7 reality.”

Fleet managers should also “look at more than the traditional remarketing options,” says Struna. She suggests exploring remarketing specialist firms that employ the latest advances and offer a well-developed direct-to-consumer platform. 

As important, she believes are firms with “the human connection”— whose staff provide “quick, direct responses in person, not waiting for messages to be retrieved.” 

Remarketing Best Practices 

Struna offers several best vehicle remarketing practices to reduce days-to-sale and increase residuals. 

Lifecycles: Cycle vehicles at the right time to obtain maximum residual values. Research ways to improve vehicles’ end-of-cycle conditions. Driver safety programs and incentives for drivers to maintain vehicles in good condition can help improve the bottom line.

Return on Investment (ROI): Bear in mind ROI in determining the value of a vehicle repair. Does the ROI on a new transmission, for example, justify the repair? 
Similarly, use total cost of ownership (TCO) as the measure for decisions on replacement times, vehicle selection, etc.

Right sizing: Always right-size the fleet and determine optimal replacement times, considering factors such as mileage and maintenance. Ask, “How will increased maintenance costs affect the vehicle’s TCO?” Consult OEMs, fleet management companies and remarketers for data and advice.

Vehicle Selection: Consider vehicle makes and models that not only fit fleet needs, but also provide better resale. Examine the cost/needs relationship to TCO. Higher-cost, higher-residual models may offer better TCO than a lower-cost model. In addition, consumers increasingly want vehicle models offering next-generation technology, the newest “bells and whistles” and the latest in safety features. Fleet vehicles with these elements provide additional value when remarketed. 

Service Providers: Routinely benchmark service providers. Are fleet needs still being met? Have company circumstances, policies, procedures changed? Have standards of service remained acceptable?

Finally, avoid the “that’s the way it’s always been done” mindset. Consider alternative options, new service providers, and fresh approaches to improve the fleet budget bottom line. 

About the author
Cindy Brauer

Cindy Brauer

Former Managing Editor

Cindy Brauer is a former managing editor for Bobit Business Media’s AutoGroup. A native of Chicago but resident of Southern California since her teens, Brauer studied journalism and earned a communications degree at California State University Fullerton. Over her career, she has written and edited content for a variety of publishing venues in a disparate range of fields.

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