Automotive Fleet readers weigh on a number of pressing fleet topics, such as discrimination against vocational fleet drivers by homeowner associations (HOA), the inflexiblity of management and its resistance to change, diesel-powered trucks aren't going away, and the need for fleets to look for new opportunities.

Amend the Fair Housing Act to Protect Vocational Drivers

Discrimination against vocational vehicles needs to be addressed at the federal and state level. If the vehicle fits within the boundaries of the parking space and does not impede use of any of the surrounding spaces, it should be allowed. If there are any studies that have been peer reviewed in the past five years that show the newer model vocational trucks are any less safe than an SUV, pickup truck, passenger car, or motorcycle then I would like to read it. As mentioned, there are more and more pickup trucks that are wider, longer, and heavier than a cargo van. Multiple manufacturers make passenger and cargo vans with the same exterior width, height, and length. It is absolutely discriminatory when a cargo van of same size, style, has no exterior advertising but is deemed “Commercial” or a work vehicle. Realtors will be next on the list as they carry documents, sales info sheets, passengers, and items used to promote and sell a house in their vehicles, so by definition this is now a “commercial vehicle.” 

Are you an Uber or Lyft driver? In some states, and cases, your vehicle has been determined to be a commercial vehicle as it is used to transport people for compensation. Do you have a pickup truck with a tool box or utility box attached? Even though it may be used for carrying and securing personal items, it may be labeled a commercial vehicle. How come these customers are so happy to see vocational workers when they have electrical issues, plumbing leaks, and when the HVAC is not working, but because their vehicle looks a little different from an SUV or pickup but fits within the boundaries of the parking space it is evil?
Looks like the Fair Housing Act is going to need to be amended to include “occupation.” The Fair Housing Act prohibits discrimination because of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, family status, and disability. The power of the HOA (home owner’s association) and COA (condominium owner’s association) to include or exclude a vehicle type that affects the entire community should not be decided by only the majority of the board.

Submitted by Max

Vocational Fleet Discrimination 

My husband and I live in an area where there is a housing shortage and with the new interest rates being lower than ever, people are investing, moving from other states to avoid the winters, and snatching up homes left and right. Every single new build we have visited has a no commercial vehicle policy. Some existing communities with homeowners associations (HOA) have revised the covenants. We can’t find anything. Has anyone legally brought this up? At least allowing a percentage in the neighborhood. Or builders provide options to build the garage clearance higher so we can fit it into the garage. It’s my husband’s livelihood as an electrician, so we have to have the vehicle. At some point, some legal action will have to take place. I should be able to purchase a new home at a reasonable price point and park our vehicle in the driveway. 

Submitted via e-mail by Maggie Cole

You Got it Backwards

I read the blog “Five Reasons Why Fleet Managers are Terminated” and you may be right in some cases. In my experience, the reality is that it is often the organization and not the fleet manager that struggles with most of these issues. How many organizations are resistant to change, complacent, oblivious to discontent, or tech solutions averse? I think you have this one backwards. Organizations are still operating on “that’s not the way we’ve always done it” mentality.

Brian Reynolds, President of Reynolds Premier Motors in Brownsboro, Texas

Leapfrogging Diesels

There has been a lot of questions about electric vehicles within the fleet market, and I’ve seen a bunch of chatter in 2021 already on this in the industry. While the North American segment awaits the impact of any policy announcements that the Biden Administration may make to spark additional investment in electric, I found some reading that shows diesel production will be here to stay for the next couple decades as well. Presumably for those long-distance travelers and heavy-load haulers in the HD pickup segment that electric infrastructure may struggle to support.

A couple pieces to share: After decades of slowly building up market share, diesel vehicles are expected to be leapfrogged by electric vehicles within the next two years. Diesel-powered trucks aren’t going away. They’re expected to maintain their small share of the U.S. light-vehicle market—especially in the heavy-duty pickup space—through at least 2032, IHS Markit says.

Currently, diesel outpace electric by just over 1.5% more market share.
A final thought is that manufacturers are still investing in diesel. GM, as an example, launched the 3.0L Duramax in 2020  for its 1500 Trucks and is offering diesel options in SUVs in 2021for the first time since 1999.

Tim Mccormick, Director for Enterprise Fleet Management in Vancouver, Canada

Look for Opportunities

As business continues to grow back after the COVID crisis, I am expecting a backlog in the production, upfitting, and shipping of new vehicles. I’m already looking at alternative methods along the supply chain so that I don’t get caught with my pants down.  Plus, I’m not entirely confident that it will be a straight upward trend in growth. I fear there may still be volatility in the market as companies become concern about an increase in corporate taxes and stricter regulations.

Continuing to add value; sometimes it seems like the same old song, second, third, and even fourth verse. However, it is important that we continue to review and analyze our fleets.  Look for opportunities and new technologies, 

Reader wished to remain anonymous

About the author
Mike Antich

Mike Antich

Former Editor & Associate Publisher of Automotive Fleet

Mike Antich covered fleet management and remarketing for over 20 years and was inducted into the Fleet Hall of Fame in 2010 and the Global Fleet Hall of Fame in 2022. He was also awarded the Industry Icon Award in 2021 by the NAAA and IARA.

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