Pent-up demand in the fleet market created early buildouts of new-vehicle allocation of...

Pent-up demand in the fleet market created early buildouts of new-vehicle allocation of high-demand models, such as pickup trucks and SUVs, and longer service lives for existing units due to difficulty in sourcing replacement vehicles.

Getty Images / Mathisworks

Automotive Fleet has once again compiled the Top 100 commercial truck fleets in the United States [CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LIST].

Through another pandemic year, the numbers didn’t shift much for most major commercial fleets, but when they did, it was in the SUV and crossover categories. An increasingly vaccinated populace didn’t change the game much as far as fleets were concerned, and continued supply chain constraints, the microchip shortage, and construction slowdown continues to wreak havoc on what we used to think of as “normal conditions.”

There may not be a post-pandemic new normal for several years. And that’s OK — we’ll endure — but fleet managers and employees need to be prepared for the long haul in their cycling times and have a clear vision and plan for their organizations to remain efficient, mobile, and on the road. To this point, the Fleet Visionary of the Year, Kate O’Tooley, implemented a radical new cycling plan for Terminix, extending cycle times to 100,000 miles and 60 months, planning to replace over 50 percent of the Terminix fleet over a period of five years.

Despite the American lockdown ending after just eight weeks or so, demand for vehicles, components, and chassis rose due to federal stimulus measures—more money, more cars purchased—favorable credit conditions, and a strengthening economy. Nonetheless, most manufacturing plants struggled to keep up with demand after unprecedented shutdowns coupled with the semiconductor microchip shortage.

This year, many companies reported new purchases in the SUV and crossover segment for the first time, anticipating a more streamlined (and electric?) future, one based on efficiency and utility.