WALTHAM, MA – When new vehicles with the potential for solid fuel-economy gains come around, fleet managers are always interested in getting the right one onto a selector. Waltham, Mass.-based Thermo Fisher Scientific’s Global Sr. Category Leader for Fleet & Indirect Services, Rick Odell, C.P.M., told Automotive Fleet that his company will be evaluating new SUVs and sedans for use in the company’s fleet for Q3, 2012. In addition, he explained that in 2011 his group selected the Ford Edge for the selector used for a segment of the company’s fleet. Downsizing from mid-size, six-cylinder SUVS to smaller, four-cylinder SUVS began in 2009, according to Odell.

Odell said Thermo Fisher’s fleet currently has approximately 2,200 vehicles. He said 50 percent of the fleet consists of SUVs, 30 percent consists of sedans, and 20 percent consists of minivans. Out of that group of vehicles, Odell and his group were able to put a number of Edge models, specifically 2.0L Ecoboost-equipped versions, into the company’s fleet mix in 2011, thereby realizing both a drop in C02 emissions and fuel savings. That said, winter weather conditions in the northern part of the U.S. prevented Odell from replacing all the SUVs used in the fleet with the Edge.

“We weren’t able to put the FWD versions into the fleet across all regions of the country, in all states, and the 2.0L Ecoboost version is not available in AWD,” Odell said. “We were limited to just 100 vehicles.”

Odell expects to evaluate new small SUVs and mid-size sedans in the second quarter of 2012, and he said his group is planning to look at vehicles from Ford, Chrysler, and Subaru.

“We’re already in the middle of processing our spring orders, so we will evaluate the vehicles during Q2 and make our decision for Q3,” Odell said.

In the second quarter, Thermo Fisher’s drivers will first test-drive the vehicles, and then Odell will do a total-cost-of-ownership and business requirements analysis to determine the right sedan and SUV. He said the company will then choose vehicles from a single OEM for the two selectors.

By Greg Basich