October 14, 2014


Editor's Analysis & Top Industry News

Check Out Our New Website!

Our new site at FleetManagementWeekly.com has been live for just over a week, and we’re still working away to tweak and perfect it. After all, we want it to be as informative and helpful for our fleet industry-leading readers as it can possibly be.

The newly revamped site is far more dynamic than what we had previously, and will feature more daily updates on fleet industry news and trends.

We strive to offer you far more than news, though, and the new site makes it easy for you to find engaging, informative content that’s geared to help you do your job better. That’s the kind of content that publishers like to call ‘evergreen,’ because it’s just as useful next month or next year as it is today.

Great examples of this engaging, evergreen content include the columnists we’ve been featuring for the past couple months — leading fleet industry experts sharing their personal knowledge and advice on key industry topics:

  • Ed Pierce on Fleet Marketing
  • Jeof Bean on The Fleet Customer Experience
  • Matt Betz on The Mobile Employee (also featured in this week’s newsletter, see below)
  • Randy Shadley on Fleet Safety

We’ve gotten a few comments and suggestions on the new site already, but would love to hear from you as well: just email me at ted@automotivedigest.com and let me know what you think.

Ted Roberts
COO and Chief Content Officer


VIDEO: Better Technology for Better Transport

PARS is a vehicle transport company that strongly values technology — they were the first to offer a fully capable website where customers could get quotes, place orders, and check status — and now they’re upping their game even more.

VIDEO: NAFA's IFA in Orlando
  Exciting Agenda for the International Fleet Academy

NAFA’s International Fleet Academy in Orlando has something to offer for anyone charged with managing a global fleet — including a bunch of helpful topics that are good for first-time attendees as well as returnees.

VIDEO: A Fleet 'Employer of Choice'
  Donlen Invests in Its People

Donlen recently went through a ‘growth pyramid’ exercise as a company, and it reinforced that their employees are one of their key foundations. Consequently, they are doing even more to make sure that they are an ‘employer of choice.’

The Fleet Spot

Mark Sinclair Tusker Wins Green Apple Award for Environmental Initiatives

Contract hire and salary sacrifice provider, Tusker, has won a Green Apple Environmental Award for its innovative Green Project, which includes carbon offsetting on all new cars and free advice on ultra-low emission vehicles.

The Green Apple Environment Awards were launched in 1994 by The Green Organization and have become established as one of the major environmental recognition schemes, both in the UK and internationally.


fleet-telematics -what every fleet needs to know What Every Business Needs To Know About Fleet Tracking

If there is one thing that is constant about fleet tracking technology - it's change. As new trends emerge, it is important for fleet professionals to stay current with new advancements and how they will affect their business. The 2014 Fleet Guide provides updates on current trends for the fleet industry and how using a tracking solution, like GPS Insight, can help solve challenges that real businesses face.

READ MORE and DOWNLOAD the 2014 Fleet Guide

Connected-Cars How Will Your Car Serve You?

Remember when phones were primarily devices used for phone conversations?  It seems quaint, now that smartphones have evolved to become mobile information hubs for our needs on the go.  Voice calling is so 2000.

Remember when we used to think of automobiles primarily as transportation devices to get us from point A to B?  Oh, wait.  That's how most of us still think of cars.  But not for long.

The transformation has begun and in a few years, the idea that a car's sole purpose is transportation -- will also seem quaint.


carjack How To Handle These Scary Automotive Situations

Most motorists don't heed advice about known hazards until they happen to them or someone they know. If you write about safety issues long enough, you've interviewed a lot of people with first hand experience. And few things stay with you longer than those first-person tales.

Consider the horror that befell Kids and Cars founder Janette Fennell and her family in 1995. She and her husband were carjacked, robbed and left in their trunk in an remote location. They escaped, but didn't know the fate of their infant son until they arrived back home to find him sitting in his baby seat unharmed in the driveway.

She went on to found the advocacy group Kids and Cars and successfully lobbied to get trunk releases required in all new vehicles.

READ MORE for advise on staying safe.

The Mobile Employee

"Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please." - Mark Twain

While I prefer to think that most drivers will do the right thing (assuming they know what that is), it's clear by talking to fleet managers around the country that there exists little trust that drivers are accurately reporting personal miles of company vehicles. Whether the discrepancy is due to lack of understanding of the difference between commute, personal and business miles - or willful distortion, it is potentially a very expensive aspect of dealing with the Modern Mobile Worker. With the IRS announcing that personal use of company vehicles will be a priority area for audits, the lack of accurate IRS-compliant mileage logs could become a large and costly risk.

READ MORE to learn what this means for your organization and how you can ensure that you are aligned with IRS regulations, company goals and objectives, and best practices.

Changing Times in the Auto Industry

These are exciting and historical times for the global auto industry. The automotive researchers and analysts at Morgan Stanley have come to the realization that the prosecution of their craft along traditional lines will fade to irrelevance, ultimately ending in extinction. They are writing all about technology because they believe that “the industry simply has no future unless it adapts to it.” They go on to claim that, “In the internet of things, the automobile is the ultimate ‘thing.’ Without embracing this change, we have no future as auto analysts.”

They truly believe what they are writing on the future of autos without human drivers, without individual/private ownership and with entirely new players competing for the growth in 10 trillion miles traveled annually.

READ MORE in Morgan Stanley’s eye-opening report.

Transition and Then Transform

We seldom miss a chance to talk with the bright and engaging Michele Cunningham, Senior Vice President, Strategic Development at Element Fleet Management, and enjoyed our interview with her at the recent AFLA Conference. We asked her to bring us up to date on the transition from PHH to Element Fleet Management.

Michele says, "We are taking the 'transition and then transform' approach because our customer success is the most critical factor. We are noting lots of exciting opportunities to extend products and services and take a best of the best approach in creating Element Fleet Management out of these composite companies and really bringing our customers something special."


Fleet Trends & Issues

Car Fuel Efficiency Hits Historic High with Mazda, Nissan Leading Way

Automakers raised the fuel efficiency of their new models last year to record levels, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. The Obama Administration has made it a priority to improve the efficiency of cars and light trucks as part of its plans to combat climate change and reduce the country's dependence on oil.

Vehicles averaged 24.1 mpg or a 0.5 mpg increase over the previous year, marking an improvement of nearly 5 mpg since 2004, according to data released Wednesday. Fuel economy for all vehicles has risen for eight of the past nine years while carbon dioxide emissions are at a record low.

"Today's announcement points to the greatness of American ingenuity and the strength of our auto industry," EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said in a statement. "Our report shows that today's vehicles are saving Americans money at the pump while emitting fewer greenhouse gasses.

READ MORE to get the details

2015 Ford F-150: Top 10 Innovative Features on Ford’s Best-Selling Truck

Having owned the title of "best-selling truck" for 37 years, as well as the title of "best-selling vehicle" for the past 32 years, the F-150′s sales volume, as a model, is higher than most automakers' total volume.

Last year Ford sold 645,000 F-150s, and with 557,000 sold as of September 30th Ford should hit a similar number this year. But the current truck is about to be replaced by an all-new 2015 Ford F-150. And the 2015 redesign is easily the most substantial of any F-series remake in the model's 67-year history.

The new truck goes on sale at the start of 2015, with high hopes and a sales-winning streak it's expected to maintain.

READ MORE for a look at the innovative features.

How Much Can In-Flight Wi-Fi Save U.S. Businesses?

Yes, gone are the days when you could take that company flight, knowing that you were burning through a work day by "working" in the loosest possible sense. Back in those pre-2006 days you'd spend your business flight with your tray table up, complimentary beverage in hand and good tunes on the earbuds, content in the fact that your boss considered you productive at that moment.

But now, with in-flight Wi-Fi being so commonplace, the cabin has become a mobile office. No matter how far workers fly, their emails can follow them through the cloud. And for U.S. businesses looking to clamp down on lost productivity due to travel, this is a very good thing.

For evidence, look no further than the following infographic, highlighting some crucial savings businesses enjoy when their employees can stay grounded at 40,000 feet.

Ticket magnets: The cars with the most violations

One in three drivers of the Subaru WRX has a recent traffic violation, according to a study by Insurance.com, the car insurance comparison-shopping website, putting the turbocharged, all-wheel-drive sport-compact atop its ranking of cars that get the most tickets.

"Cars don't get tickets, drivers do - but those drivers like the WRX," said Insurance.com Managing Editor Des Toups.  The top-20 list contains other sporty cars, such as the Scion FR-S and Mitsubishi 3000 GT, but also includes the hybrid Toyota Prius C, three sport-utility vehicles and the long-defunct Mercury Topaz.


Stop-Start Coming Standard

Gas-saving stop-start systems, which turn off the engine when the vehicle isn’t moving and restart it when the brake pedal is released, will be standard on more cars and trucks than ever before -- whether drivers like it or not.

Automotive industry analysts say the technology improves fuel economy an average of 3.5 percent -- and as much as 10-15 percent in cities and heavy stop-and-go traffic.

Detractors say the feature is annoying and makes them think their cars have stalled when the engine shuts off at a light or stop sign. Southfield-based forecasting firm IHS Automotive says 7 percent of vehicles sold today in the U.S. have stop-start, compared to 60-70 percent in Europe.

READ MORE about this technology

For Companies of All Sizes

Large organizations have used GPS-based fleet management to reduce costs for at least a decade. On the other hand, smaller companies have traditionally stayed outside the market, either because of cost concerns or low awareness of the products and services. These days, that’s all changed thanks to technological advances that have made GPS fleet management more cost-effective.


Driver Safety

Automakers are coming out with a multitude of hands-free systems, which are supposed make it safer for drivers to stay in touch with the world outside of the car and in command of the inside.

However, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety claims research shows hands-free systems like Apple's Siri, General Motors' MyLink and Ford's Sync that are designed to limit distracted driving may have the opposite effect.

"We already know that drivers can miss stop signs, pedestrians and other cars while using voice technologies because their minds are not fully focused on the road ahead," said Bob Darbelnet, chief executive officer of AAA.

READ MORE about the findings.

Fleet Management Resources 
Offering a nationwide vehicle delivery and relocation service; serving the corporate and commercial fleet industry.
LeasePlan is the world's leading high-touch service provider for vehicle leasing and fleet management.
Customizing global fleet management to achieve your goals.
Driven fleet professionals. Driving results.
NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location, or fleet composition.
The CEI Group Inc.
North America's largest accident management and fleet driver safety company.
GPS Insight
GPS Insight offers GPS tracking solutions to meet your organization's unique requirements and challenges.
PARS' mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.