In the late 1930s and early 1940s, businesses started to migrate from salespeople reimbursement to company-owned fleets. Since then, 50 significant milestones have dramatically changed the nature of commercial fleet management.
1 - Automotive Fleet Magazine Created: Many events have affected the commercial fleet industry, one of which was Automotive Fleet’s founding. In 1961, Ed Bobit founded the magazine in Glenview, Ill., establishing Bobit Publishing (now Bobit Business Media). Thanks to a timely insert from Ford in the premiere issue, Bobit had sufficient funds to produce the second issue, and the rest is history. AF published its first Fact Book in 1967. The company moved to California in 1977. Since AF’s inception, a suite of fleet-related sister magazines have emerged: Fleet Financials, Government Fleet, Work Truck, Business Fleet, Auto Rental News, Business Driver, and Vehicle Remarketing.
2 - Higher-Content Fleet Vehicles: In the early days of fleets, companies had a choice of three models: Ford, Chevrolet, or Plymouth. The typical fleet car was the standard model with minimal equipment. The biggest selector deliberations were over the economies of installing a radio or adding air conditioning for vehicles located below the Mason-Dixon Line. The “Plain Jane” fleet car became a historical footnote as OEMs bundled options into packages, allowed free-flow option ordering, and proved that higher-content fleet vehicles sold better in the resale market.
3 - Creation of the Open-End Lease: Early lessors offering full maintenance leases were R.A. Company, established by David, Harry, and Nathan Robinson, and Four Wheels, founded by Zollie Frank and Armund Schoen in 1938 and incorporated in 1939. Changing conditions in the 1950s led to the development of open-end or finance leasing, which PHH offered in 1951. Fleets wanted the ability to replace units after a 12-month period with off-balance sheet reporting. In 1981, the Swift Dodge vs. IRS court decision legitimized the use of the TRAC clause in an open-end lease.
4 - Factory Ordering: Before the advent of OEM fleet departments, companies purchased vehicles from individual dealers. Use of dealer ordering codes by non-dealers, such as fleet lessors, allowed factory-direct orders. Another factory innovation was the introduction of fleet previews to provide new-model specifications to facilitate vehicle replacement planning.
5 - Drop-Ship/Courtesy Deliveries: In the late 1940s, the concept of volume drop-shipping fleet vehicles was developed. At that time, PHH factory-ordered vehicles delivered to drivers by local dealers. Wheels and McCullagh (acquired by GE) started delivering cars from regional dealers directly to drivers. Ultimately, it became an accepted industry practice to pay a courtesy delivery fee to non-ordering dealers to deliver and prep vehicles.
6 - Development of National Account Programs: The first recorded purchase of a fleet management program, other than leasing, was by Gibson Art in 1946. Tire company national account billing started in the early 1950s. PHH, Consolidated Service Corp. (acquired by LeasePlan), and Mileage Consultants started selling tires nationally using centralized billing. Other programs, such as maintenance management, were not in great demand because gas was cheap and operating costs were manageable. This gradually began to change in response to market demands and new fleet services proliferated, such as fuel management, accident management, and personal use reporting.
7 - Repeal of the ITC/Lessor Consolidation/GE’s Entry into the Fleet Leasing Market: Prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986, significant tax benefits prompted companies such as Dart & Kraft, PepsiCo, and Xerox to acquire existing fleet leasing companies. However, as a result of the repeal of the Investment Tax Credit (ITC), many corporate entities sold off their fleet leasing business units. Around this time, GE entered the market as a ready buyer and initiated a series of rapid-fire acquisitions that coalesced the industry into 10 major fleet management companies.
8 - Outsourcing of Fleet Management Services: In the 1980s, the trend to outsource non-core services swept corporate America. In 1989, PHH created the first-ever total fleet management program with Eastman Kodak. In-house fleet departments witnessed staff reductions as administrative services were outsourced to third-party vendors. Outsourcing also changed the skill set required of fleet managers. In the profession’s early years, most fleet managers had technical or automotive background. As these fleet managers retired, a new generation of fleet managers emerged, whose backgrounds were financial, administrative, or managerial. One reaction to total fleet outsourcing was the introduction of “unbundled programs” for commercial fleets by some fleet dealers.
9 - Development of OEM Incentive Programs: In the early days of fleet, the standard fleet discount was a dealer-negotiated 10-percent-off list. As competition grew, OEMs developed more complicated incentive programs, such as guaranteed depreciation protection and “rifle shot” programs offering tiered volume pricing. Also, OEMs introduced holdback for dealers, which were often rebated to fleets. In the early 1980s, OEMs started negotiating unique and substantial incentive programs directly with individual end users. Prior to this, fleet programs were identical for all fleets.
In the daily rental market, OEMs developed special buyback programs. These rental vehicles were depreciated at a set monthly rate and then bought back by the OEMs for resale after a minimum in-service period.
10 - Expanded Financing Options for Commercial Fleets: In the early years, financing was straightforward and sourced from the manufacturers at Prime or Prime plus one. In the 1970s, financial choices emerged such as fixed- versus floating-rate financing and commercial paper.
11 - Computerization as a Fleet Management Tool: The fleet industry could not provide its breadth of services without computers. Wheels and PHH installed their first IBM computers in 1959. In the 1990s, fleet quickly shifted to Web-enabled services. Computers gave lessors the capability to evolve into full-service fleet management companies.
12 - The Oil Embargo of 1973-1974: The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) proclaimed an oil embargo against the U.S. and other nations in October 1973 in response to military support of Israel during the Yom Kippur War. This led to fuel shortages, rationing, and price hikes. In terms of fleet, the fuel crisis led to a collapse in V-8 resale values, the start of downsizing of fleet vehicles, the emergence of fuel management programs, and the OEM shift to FWD vehicles.
13 - Emergence of Women as Fleet Managers: From its beginning, fleet was a male-dominated industry. Early women pioneers in fleet included Betty Natoli, a pharmaceutical fleet manager, Marie Loehrner of Yale & Town, both members of the Round Table Group (a precursor to NAFA), and Helen Bland, fleet supervisor for Hallmark Cards, who became the first woman president of NAFA (1985-1987). Helene Kamon of Wendy’s became the first female president of AFLA from 1988-1989. Patsy Mance of Bristol-Myers Squibb became the first female AF Fleet Manager of the Year in 1991.
14 - Founding of NAFA: Finding the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) didn’t meet their needs, a group of fleet management professionals banded together to form the National Association of Fleet Management Administrators (later renamed NAFA Fleet Management Association). Emerson Parker, James Bekkering, and Sam Lee signed the articles of incorporation in 1957, and John Limpert was named its inaugural president, with 26 founding members. Membership was opened to suppliers as affiliates on a non-voting basis in 1968.The Association now has several thousand members in 33 regional chapters in the U.S. and Canada.
15 - Strategic Sourcing’s Influence on Fleet Management: The emergence of strategic sourcing in the 1990s rapidly changed corporate purchasing and increasingly forced change in fleet purchasing and the supplier selection process. Strategic sourcing initiatives re-examined the way a corporation conducted its business and identified opportunities to consolidate purchasing volume to obtain reduced pricing from key supplier partners. The migration of large corporations to strategic sourcing became a powerful change agent at large fleets. Increasingly, especially at large corporations, fleet managers began reporting to sourcing and procurement groups.
16 - Successful Defense of Fleet Incentives Against Dealer Litigation: In 1983, H.R. 1415 was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congressman Gene Taylor (R-MO). Besides prohibiting manufacturers from selling autos to leasing companies and fleets at a price lower than to dealers, the bill would bar manufacturers from offering cash rebates, free options, or other incentives unless the same incentives are offered to all purchasers. The bill was defeated. In 1990, another price discrimination lawsuit was brought against the Detroit Three by Ron Tonkin, then NADA president. In 1991, Tonkin dropped the lawsuit.
17 - Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990: The Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 mandated that all commercial and government fleets that were centrally fueled and maintained with 10 or more vehicles located in EPA-designated non-attainment areas would be required to purchase a specified percentage of clean-fuel vehicles in MY-1998. This was the first-ever legislative mandate dictating the types of vehicles a fleet should acquire.
18 - Energy Policy Act 1992: President George H. Bush signed into law the Energy Policy Act, which was designed to reduce the nation’s dependence on foreign oil. Among its many provisions, the Act imposed alternative-fuel vehicle purchase mandates on federal, state, and alternative-fuel provider fleets. Starting in the 1996 model-year, 10 percent of all new vehicle purchases by all covered fleets were required to include vehicles powered by non-petroleum-based fuels. This alternative-fuel purchase mandate increased to 75 percent of all new vehicles purchased annually by the 2000 model-year. The legislation did not require private and municipal fleets to purchase alternative-fueled vehicles.
19 - Buick’s Entry into Fleet Market — First Non-Chevrolet, Ford, Plymouth Brand: In the early days of fleet, the market was dominated by three brands: Chevrolet, Ford, and Plymouth. The 1961 Buick Skylark was the first non-Chevrolet, Ford, or Plymouth vehicle to enter the fleet market. Following Buick Division’s entry into the fleet market, other divisions followed suit, which helped diversify fleet selectors. In the 1990s, OEMs began consolidating their fleet operations. GM consolidated its separate divisional fleet departments into a consolidated organization known as GM Fleet & Commercial Operations. In addition, Ford Motor Company consolidated its fleet operations into the Ford North American Fleet, Lease & Remarketing Operations (NAFLRO).
20 - Founding of AFLA: The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) was established in 1969 in Toronto, with President M.C. “Bud” Morrison at the helm. The founding members were Ed Bobit of Automotive Fleet magazine, Don Fenton of Tom Edwards Chevrolet, Bob McGarvey of Emerald Chevrolet, Jack Rosenbaum of Park Circle Chevrolet, Mark Rosenstock of Dale Oldsmobile, Earl Stewart of Ruckle Pontiac, and Woody Woodard of Al Piemonte Ford. At the time of AFLA’s founding, the industry had no networking forum for fleet buyers and sellers to exchange information or education. Also at this time, NAFA did not allow its affiliate members to attend its educational seminars at its annual conference.
21 - Truth in Mileage Act: Passed in 1986, the federal Truth in Mileage Act (TIMA) required sellers to provide actual, truthful odometer readings and to disclose any known inaccuracies. Unfortunately, odometer tampering was very prevalent in the 1960s-1970s, especially with out-of-service fleet vehicles. TIMA made odometer fraud a felony. Failure to disclose that an odometer had been changed or repaired (altered in any way) and/or falsifying mileage documentation would result in fines and/or imprisonment. If mileage was unknown, the vehicle would be labeled TMU (True Mileage Unknown). In addition, the shift to digital odometers sought to curtail “clocking,” but succeeded only temporarily. Ultimately, harsh prison sentences were the best deterrent.
22 - Creation of Fuel Management Programs: Initially, fleet fuel cards were issued by large fleet lessors, but they were more program identification cards than true credit cards, and their use was often cumbersome. Wright Express (WEX), founded in 1983, was the first entry in the fleet fuel card business. Fleets began setting up cobrand relationships with WEX. Other companies were founded that offered fleets fuel card management programs, including Voyager, Comdata, Fleetcor, Pacific Pride, and Fleet One. In 2010, there were at least 23 major companies offering fleet fuel cards.
23 - IRS Creation of Personal Use Requirement: The Tax Reform Act of 1984 made changes to the withholding requirements on personal use of employer-provided vehicles. The IRS issued regulations explaining the provisions, stating that company automobiles would not be considered business use unless the amount of such use was included in the employee’s wages during that year and taxes were withheld, or the employee reimbursed the employer for personal use. As of 2008, more than 91 percent of fleets surveyed said their companies allowed personal use of fleet vehicles. As any fleet manager will testify, this change in the tax code created a monumental fleet “headache.”
24 - Web-Enabled Fleet Management: Fleet management companies began offering computerized online services in the ’80s, including online maintenance management programs and customer online access systems. In the 1990s, fleet management companies dramatically and quickly shifted to Web-enabled services. Ultimately, every service offered by fleet management companies was converted to Web-enabled programs. In addition, Web-enabled programs allow greater interaction between drivers and fleet management companies in terms of new-vehicle ordering, preventive maintenance, used-vehicle employee sales, etc.
25 - Emergence of Fleet Safety Programs: The concern about driver safety has expanded greatly, from the installation of seat belts in the fleet vehicles in the 1960s to air bags in the 1980s to current policies on distracted driving. In 1991, GM launched a series of first-ever fleet safety symposia to increase fleet manager awareness.
As mobile technology usage by fleet drivers increased, companies began implementing fleet safety requirements to prevent distracted driving. This included distractions from cell phones, laptops, GPS systems, and other mobile office instruments. Fleets began placing a larger concern on safety requirements, and actions have included updating safety policies; developing online, classroom, simulator, and behind-the-wheel training for safe driving practices; reviewing motor vehicle records (MVR); and identifying at-risk drivers.
26 - Creation of Fleet Maintenance Management Program: Early lessors offering full maintenance leases were R.A. Company and Four Wheels. During the past 50 years, fleet maintenance programs evolved from preventive maintenance coupon books to sophisticated online systems. Fleet maintenance programs are continuing to evolve with many fleet management companies working to migrate programs to hand-held devices, along with incorporating vehicle-related data acquired by onboard telematic devices.
27 - Prime Interest Rate Increases to 21 Percent in 1980: The Prime rate rose from the mid ’70s to hit an all-time high in 1980 at 21 percent. Car sales virtually halted, and manufacturers began issuing rebates to get the market moving. In terms of fleet, this added increased impetus to developing alternative fleet funding mechanisms, which evolved to the system employed today.
28 - Green Fleet and Sustainability Initiatives: Following the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, a number of multinational corporations, especially those headquartered in the European Union and Japan, began corporate-wide sustainability programs, which invariably included corporate fleet. In July 2007, healthcare provider Abbott announced it would become the first Fortune 500 company to go “carbon neutral” with its entire U.S. fleet of company sales vehicles. Abbott’s fleet represented close to 11 percent of the company’s total emissions. The announcement was emblematic of a much larger change emerging in fleet management — the proliferation of corporate green initiatives within multinational corporations and their influence on vehicle selector decisions. Green fleet initiatives include a variety of strategies ranging from right-sizing vehicles, adding hybrids to the selector, utilizing flex-fuel vehicles, downsizing engine specifications, altering employee driving habits, and acquiring greenhouse gas offsets or credits.
29 - Downsizing Fleet Vehicles: Escalating gasoline prices and ever-increasing acquisition costs, along with changing driver preferences, prompted many corporate fleets to begin downsizing vehicles to reduce acquisition and fuel spend. Fleets also cite corporate sustainability initiatives as another reason for downsizing fleet vehicles. Also, CAFE mandates forced OEMs to downsize their model lineup. Today’s intermediate-sized fleet sedan would have been classified a compact model in the 1960s-1970s.
30 - Creation of Fleet Accident Management Programs: Accident management programs have been available since the 1970s as a supplemental service offered by independent vehicle mechanical repair companies. Fleet leasing companies began offering collision repair services in the early 1980s, although they did not yet have a managed network of body repair shops. Around this time, companies specializing in accident management emerged, and they formed national networks of independent body repair shops, expanded services to fleet and leasing partners, and acted as a single-source provider.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, use of accident management programs by fleets increased significantly. By 1992, there were at least 17 major accident management programs offered by fleet management and accident technology companies.
31 - Telematics/GPS Fleet Applications: The explosion in commercial GPS applications began in 2000, when President Bill Clinton made a more precise GPS signal available for civilian use. Prior to this, the U.S. government set up a “selective availability” block to prevent military use of GPS by potential adversaries. Clinton’s order increased the accuracy of commercial satellite navigation receivers from 100 yards to 10 yards.
Among the early adopters of telematics were fleets such as ServiceMaster, GEICO, Ryder, KinderCare, Wal-Mart, UPS, and long-haul trucking fleets. These fleets use telematics devices to continuously measure fuel consumption and fleet utilization, plus monitor vehicles and performance. Currently, more than 3.6 million GPS/wireless devices are in service, managing fleet vehicles, mobile workers, trailers, heavy equipment, and other assets.
32 - Creation of AALA: The American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA) was founded in 1955. AALA is comprised of commercial automotive fleet leasing and management companies. Its primary goal is to ensure that the business interests of the fleet leasing industry are properly represented to lawmakers, including the state and local governments. It has been highly successful in helping to influence legislation that, if left unmodified, would be highly detrimental to commercial fleets. In addition, AALA worked closely with state CATRALAs (Car and Truck Renting and Leasing Association) on influencing state legislation.
33 - Creation of IRS FAVR Reimbursement Regulation: Companies that converted from a company-provided vehicle program to driver reimbursement often opted for the fixed and variable reimbursement (FAVR) program. First established in 1992 by the IRS, a FAVR plan reimburses employees on a non-taxable basis through a combination of a monthly allowance and a per-mile reimbursement. In IRS Revenue Procedure 2004-64, the FAVR fixed payment includes projected fixed costs, such as depreciation (or lease payments), insurance, registration, license fees, and personal property taxes. A FAVR plan also covers projected operating (or variable) costs, such as gasoline, fuel taxes, oil, tires, and routine maintenance and repair.
34 - Introduction of Minivans into Fleet: Chrysler introduced the minivan in 1984-MY, creating a new market segment. Minivans, also marketed as “multi-purpose vehicles” (MPVs) around the world, gained popularity in European commercial fleets to move both cargo and people. In the U.S., Xerox and Tupperware were early, high-volume buyers of minivans for their fleets. The popularity of minivans escalated in the last half of the 1980s. However, the increase in crossovers and SUVs in fleet, along with some OEMs discontinuing popular fleet minivan models, resulted in a decline in minivan registrations.
35 - More Stringent 2010 and 2007 Diesel Emissions Standards: New regulatory standards made diesel-powered trucks extremely clean. However, the technology needed to accomplish this dramatic emission reduction is very expensive and has introduced new complexity to maintaining diesel-powered vehicles.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated that all diesel engines used in heavy-duty highway vehicles comply with more stringent emission standards beginning Jan. 1, 2007. Technologies used to help meet the requirements include improved electronic control systems, ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD), exhaust aftertreatment such as catalytic converters and diesel particulate filters (DPF), enhanced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), cooling system changes (due to higher heat loading), and fuel/air ratio changes.
The 2010 diesel emissions standards lowered permissible NOx emissions even further. In response to these strict regulations, truck makers either began using urea-injection, known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR), or an advanced exhaust gas recirculation (AEGR) system. The standards led to increased acquisition costs ranging from $5,000-$13,000 per truck.
36 - Chapter 11 Bankruptcies of Chrysler & GM: In April 2009, Chrysler filed for Chapter 11 reorganization and announced a plan to partner with Fiat. GM followed by filing for Chapter 11 reorganization in June 2009, marking the largest bankruptcy filing of any U.S. industrial company. GM discontinued the Saturn, Pontiac, and Hummer brands and sold Saab.
Fleets were unable to take delivery of ordered vehicles from these OEMs during this period since assembly plants were closed, which prompted some fleets to look at non-traditional manufacturers.
The biggest impact to fleet has been the shift by OEMs to building vehicles to demand versus building to capacity. This has also led to decreased dealer inventory, making it difficult for fleets to acquire out-of-stock units.
37 - Entry of Import-Badged Vehicles in Fleet: By the 1970s-1980s, import automakers were expanding their marketing efforts toward commercial sales. One by one, overseas-headquartered auto companies began establishing fleet departments: Nissan 1972, Toyota 1975, Volkswagen 1976, Isuzu 1982, Mitsubishi 1983, Subaru 1987, and Mazda 1988. Import-badged companies made successful inroads into pharmaceutical fleets with sedans and smaller vocational fleets with their compact pickup models and low cab-forward medium duties.
Also, as fuel prices rose, fleets began looking for ways to downsize vehicles, which led to increased consideration of import-badged vehicles. These considerations further increased, followed by the Chapter 11 announcements from GM and Chrysler, which prompted fleets to look at non-traditional fleet OEMs. During this time frame, fleet management companies reported seeing an increase in fleet orders for import-badged vehicles.
38 - Introduction of 1986 Ford Taurus: Originally introduced in the 1986 model-year, the Ford Taurus remained in near-continuous production for more than two decades. The Ford Taurus was one of the dominant cars in the fleet industry since its introduction. Providing a mix of package, performance, and styling, the original Taurus was in production from 1986-2006 and became an icon in the fleet industry.
39 - Migration to Four-Cylinder Engines by Commercial Fleets: The shift to vehicles with four-cylinder engines became noticeable in 2007 as gas prices climbed to $4 per gallon. Switching to four-cylinder engines allowed a fleet comprised primarily of automobiles to maintain the same size vehicle necessary to meet its fleet application without downsizing to a smaller model.
Although the main driving factor is reduced fuel spend, some fleets stated they switched to smaller engines to reduce vehicle emissions to meet corporate green fleet initiatives. Other benefits cited include the decrease in cap cost and high demand in the wholesale resale market. In addition, powertrain technology has evolved to where today’s four-cylinder engines provide better performance than the six-cylinder engines of yesterday.
40 - Creation of the Low Cab-Forward Class 3-4 Truck Market: The import of Japanese-branded low cab-forward Class 3-4 trucks produced by Hino, Isuzu, Mitsubishi Fuso, Nissan UD, along with Italian-brand IVECO trucks made inroads into vocational fleets, such as those in the heating and ventilation, plumbing, landscaping, and construction industries. In addition, low cab-forward Class 3-4 trucks also gained market share in urban fleet applications, such as parcel delivery, due to tight turning radius and maneuverability.
41 - K-car Fleet Sales Save Chrysler: Chrysler’s K-cars were compact-to-midsize cars designed to carry six adults on two bench seats. Models included the Dodge Aries, Plymouth Reliant, Chrysler LeBaron, and Dodge 400. Lessors were supportive of the Chrysler K-car. In 1981, Xerox acquired 4,500 Chrysler K-wagons. The following year, the company bought 3,000 more and in 1983, it purchased 3,500 K-car wagons. These and other early fleet orders were credited with helping save Chrysler from insolvency during the recession of 1980-1981.
42 - Mass Use of Auctions to Remarket Fleet Vehicles: Use of brick-and-mortar auctions by commercial fleets expanded to become the primary remarketing channel for used commercial fleet vehicles. Auctions provided fleets a competitive bidding environment, increased return on each unit, and substantive used-vehicle condition reports. In addition, the advent of auction computerization provided quicker and more accurate processing of used units, decreasing days-to-sale. The proliferation of auction locations throughout the U.S. kept down transportation costs and allowed fleets to maximize resale values by relocating vehicles to take advantage of higher regional market demand for specific models.
43 - Online Vehicle Remarketing: As Web-based services grew, startup companies began offering online remarketing opportunities for remarketers. GM, with its SmartAuction product launched in 2000, and Honda and Toyota, partnering with third-party online remarketers, helped pioneer online resale of vehicles. Today, the majority of fleet management companies has developed in-house online vehicle marketing programs or have partnered with third-party vendors.
44 - Introduction of Hybrids in Fleet: As corporate fleet sustainability programs gained traction in large corporations, some fleet managers gravitated to hybrid models as a way to reduce a company’s carbon footprint and decrease fuel consumption in urban fleet applications. Companies, especially pharmaceuticals and those with a strong sustainability programs such as Johnson & Johnson, Novartis, PepsiCo/FritoLay, etc., began buying hybrids in large volumes. The Hybrid Truck User Forum (HTUF) is actively working to develop hybrid trucks for use in fleet applications.
In 2001, the AF Fact Book first listed hybrid vehicle registration data in 2001, showing only 184 registered hybrid fleet cars. As of the 2010 AF Fact Book, more than 29,000 hybrid fleet cars were registered. Although still representing a small percentage of total commercial fleet registrations, hybrids represent a long-term trend that will see their volume increase. For instance, the new CAFE requirements to commence in 2016 promise to increase fleet interest in hybrid models and their availability, especially as OEMs look to hybrid technology to meet federally mandated fuel-efficiency requirements.
45 - Creation of NAFA CAFM/CFM Programs: The original Certified Fleet Manager (CFM) program was a partnership between the NAFA Foundation and the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania in 1984. This was the first-ever fleet certification program. There were 41 graduates of the Wharton CFM program. While the CFM program is no longer offered by the NAFA Foundation or Wharton, those who graduated from the program retain their CFM status. The CFM program was brought in-house by NAFA as the CAFM program in 1989 primarily due to its prohibitive cost when offered by Wharton. There are more than 300 active CFM or CAFM graduates.
Starting in 2009, NAFA began offering fleet certification in two tiers: the higher CAFM tier, covering all eight disciplines, and a lower Certified Automotive Fleet Specialist (CAFS) tier. The CAFS is a subset of the CAFM program rather than separate from it. One pre-approved set of four disciplines must be completed to attain the CAFS.
46 - Creation of Fleet Advisory Boards: The first fleet advisory board was created in July 1984 by D&K Financial Services. (D&K Financial was acquired by GE Capital in 1987.) Ultimately, most OEMs, fleet management companies, and fleet service providers followed suit with the creation of their own advisory boards.
47 - OTD Status Alerts by OEMs: In the 1980s-1990s, OEMs set out to improve order-to-delivery (OTD) times for fleet vehicles. One development was the creation of OTD status alerts by OEMs using Web-based tools to track vehicle ordering. These tools were also used to optimize production scheduling and allocation. In 1999, AF inaugurated its annual OTD survey for popular fleet vehicles. Another report provided by Bobit Business Media to OEMs is a confidential fleet sales report that documents monthly fleet sales by manufacturer, broken out by commercial, government, and daily rental fleet segments.
48 - First Global Fleet Deal: A handful of large multinational companies began negotiating major global fleet acquisition agreements in the early 1990s. Also, pan-European fleet buys became more prevalent during this time frame. Corporations such as Pfizer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Honeywell, Johnson Controls, Xerox, Exxon, Federal Express, Phillip Morris, Coca-Cola, along with others, expressed interest in global fleet management in the early ’90s to present. Much of the interest in pan-European fleet deals occurred as a result of the creation of the European Union.
49 - Creation of AF’s Fleet Manager of the Year Award and the Fleet Hall of Fame: Automotive Fleet magazine began its Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award in 1985, and Jack Lamb of Exxon was the first fleet manager honored. The award recognizes experienced and proficient fleet managers who demonstrate special business acumen in developing and executing key management policies in all areas. The Professional Fleet Manager of the Year award has become a sought-after prestigious industry award. In 2011, it enters its 27th year.
The Fleet Hall of Fame was instituted in 2008 by AF with the Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) as the exclusive sponsor, to recognize fleet industry leaders and pioneers who have contributed significantly to the commercial fleet management profession with fleet careers spanning 10 or more years. Established with 20 founding members, nominations for each year’s inductees are submitted by fleet professionals for voting by industry peers using an online ballot. Currently, there are 47 inductees in the Fleet Hall of Fame.
50 - International Accounting Standards: Efforts to develop global leasing standards were started in 1973 by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). In 1976, the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) enacted Rule 13, effective in 1977, requiring all obligations under finance leases (capital leases) to be shown on lessee balance sheets as liabilities. FASB is the U.S. counterpart to IASB, and FASB 13 is the accounting standard that governs fleet leasing in the U.S.
In July 2006, the FASB and IASB added the project to rewrite the lease accounting rules on their agendas. In October 2009, the IASB and FASB held joint meetings to review the project, which will ultimately result in a convergence of FASB and IASB standards.