The service associates of Palo Alto, Calif.-based Varian Medical Systems rely on Subaru's Forester compact SUV because it provides enough cargo capability for their tools, but the fleet manager prefers it for its solid fuel economy, reliability, and high resale value.
Thomas Whetstone, Varian's fleet manager, began adding Forester SUVs with the 2013 model year, after the discontinuation of the Dodge Nitro. Whetstone has been purchasing the Foresters since then, and now maintains about 200 in a fleet that also includes the Dodge Grand Caravan, Jeep Cherokee, Ford Escape, and Subaru Legacy. For 2016, Whetstone is ordering the Forester 2.5i Premium PZEV with a CVT and all-wheel-drive.
Varian's service fleet uses the SUVs and vans for calls to health-care providers who use the company's medical devices and software for treating cancer and other medical conditions with radiotherapy, radiosurgery, proton therapy, and brachytherapy. The company's sales fleet uses sedans.
"The gas mileage and reliability is really good," Whetstone said about Subaru's SUV. "The Forester has the best resale value in my fleet."
Whetstone once short-cycled a 2013 Forester he purchased for about $23,000 after 29 months. The vehicle had about 43,000 miles and sold for more than $21,000 in Oregon.
Whetstone maintains a fleet of about 700 vehicles, including more than 500 that operate as service vehicles.