June 19, 2018

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Editor's Analysis & Top Industry News

Dreaming While Driving

Know the experience of driving (drifting) along and all of a sudden you snap to and realize that you had checked out a few miles ago — lost in thought? How dangerous was that interlude, really?

Art Liggio answers that question in Driving Through Wonderland, focusing on daydreaming — the #1 driving distraction. Yes, even more than cell phone or texting! Fascinating article — read it and get some tips on how we can tame our wandering minds while we’re driving.

Is the sedan a soon-to-be relic? Mark Boada addresses that in The American Sedan is Dying. What Does That Mean for Fleets?

We love Tracy Mandelka’s article: A Lesson in Being Customer Driven from a Four-Legged Friend. Cali — check out her photo — is a very wise (and cute) dog.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

Thought Leadership

Customer Driven — Engage your organization to create customer loyalty, trust, and superior service

Fleet Asset Management – Best practices for work truck management

Fleet Marketing – Guiding principles for fleet providers to improve marketing and increase sales

Fleet Spectator A 360 view of the fleet industry

Globally Speaking — Perspectives on the multinational fleet

In the Public Interest — Successfully managing the government fleet

On Fleet Driver Management Solutions to improve your fleet’s accident rate and cut costs on collision repairs

Safety & Risk — Impactful driver safety and risk management tools and techniques

The Fleet CX Toolbox – Solid steps to implementing and improving fleet customer experience

Think, Execute, Win!Leadership tips from NBA Star and motivational speaker Walter Bond

VIDEO: One Foot in Today, One Foot in Tomorrow

ARI Fleet is simultaneously focusing on helping clients succeed today, and helping them to prepare for tomorrow.

VIDEO: Complete Care

 Firestone Complete Auto Care Focused on TCO for Fleets

Firestone Complete Auto care is keenly focused on reducing TCO for fleets and FMCs as they continue to provide excellent service.

VIDEO: Advice for New Fleet Managers

 Advice from a Relatively New Fleet Manager

This relatively new fleet manager now has four years of experience, and he says that NAFA has made a very positive difference in his career.

The Fleet Spot

LeasePlan USA and eDriving Announce Collaboration to Reduce Driver Road Risk

LeasePlan USA and eDriving are pleased to announce a partnership that will offer fleets a more holistic, integrated and data-driven approach to managing driver safety.

“Almost all collisions are avoidable if you understand the root causes and proactively manage these underlying reasons. It’s increasingly crucial that fleet and safety managers leverage cutting-edge technologies to identify high-risk drivers and take the steps to prevent crashes. That is why we are so excited about our new partnership with eDriving.” said LeasePlan USA President and CEO Jeff Schlesinger.


Wheels Wins Gold, Silver and Bronze Stevie® Awards in 2018 American Business Awards

Wheels, Inc. was named the winner of Stevie awards in four categories in the 16th Annual American Business Awards®.

Wheels’ Mobile Assistant app was awarded a Gold Stevie in the Business/Government category and Bronze in the New Product or Service of the Year, Software category. Additionally, the company’s Supply Management approach earned a Silver Stevie in the Most Innovative Company of the Year category, and the Integration Services team received a Bronze Stevie in the Customer Service Department of the Year category.


Recent Midsize SUV Crash Tests Show Need for Improvements

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Passenger-side crash tests of midsize SUVs by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety revealed a range of problems, including structural collapse, an airbag nondeployment, hard hits to the dummy’s head and an open door.

A small overlap crash occurs when just the front corner of the vehicle strikes another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole – 6 of the 8 vehicles managed to earn a good or acceptable rating for passenger-side small overlap front protection.

“Although some vehicles in this group offer very good protection, in other models, the airbags, safety belts and structure showed serious deficiencies,” says IIHS Chief Research Officer David Zuby. “In those SUVs, a front-seat passenger would be at risk of injuries to the head, hip or leg in a right-side small overlap front crash.”

Read the article at Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Supplements: How to Minimize Those Nasty Collision Repair Surprises

By John Wolford, Vice President, Business Process, Quality, and Sourcing, The CEI Group, Inc.

Supplements are additions to original estimates that can knock you for a loop.

Ideally, you want your first estimates to be reliable before you authorize repairs. But how can you accomplish that? There’s a cure that sharp accident management service providers take advantage of, but before revealing it, let’s define terms.


Safety & Risk

By Art Liggio, President and CEO, Driving Dynamics

“Two more days and I’m free, free, free! A whole week sitting on the beach in Aruba. Hmmm, should I start with a Pina Colada or maybe a Rum Runner when I get there? Decisions, decisions. Jeez, I forgot to notify the post office to hold the mail. Better not forget to get that done. Yep, a whole week in Aruba, and no boss to looking over my shoulder. Can’t wait. Oh heck, I forgot to give her my monthly territory report. I better get that done tonight when I get home, or I’ll be persona non grata! Hey, look at this, I’m already here at my next stop. Wow, that’s funny. Can’t even remember the drive over. Oh well, better get this service call started. Hope the next stop is as easy to get to.”

Be honest. Just admit it. We all daydream from time to time; maybe a bit more than we realize. Can be kind of fun, sometimes relaxing, perhaps good for our mental health but the truth be told, it can also be a deadly activity when we operate a vehicle.



Customer Driven

By Tracy Mandelka, Assistant Vice President, Business Development, Wheels Inc.

One of the most fulfilling parts of my day is walking through my front door and being greeted by my dog, Cali. This may conjure up an image of a perfectly trained and poised dog, sitting at attention, faithfully waiting for me at the front door. Let me assure you that image is not reality!

Instead, I have a 75-pound mutt (I use this term affectionately) jumping on my couch, with two paws on the armrest the other two on the couch cushions, waiting impatiently for me to open up the door. I’ve often wondered why, when I know it’s coming and that she is breaking many house rules, this simple act puts me instantly at ease. And then one day it hit me – Cali’s ritual is purely customer driven. She anticipates my needs and customizes her actions accordingly.

Cali, like the best customer-driven businesses, has mastered the science and art of customer service – know your customer, build and leverage efficient processes but customize as appropriate to support their unique needs.



Fleet Spectator

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

It’s time for fleet managers in North America to face facts: we are witnessing the death of the American sedan.

In April, Ford rocked the automotive world when it announced that after this model year it’s no longer going to make any sedans in its U.S. factories. That lightning bolt came just a few months after FCA let on that it’s taking the axe to its two mid-market sedans, the Dodge Dart and Chrysler 200. While at the time FCA said nothing about the luxury Chrysler 300, it appears to be headed for a similar fate: CEO Sergio Marchionne told analysts this month that starting next year the company’s factories here will be exclusively devoted to Jeeps, the Pacifica minivan and pickup trucks.

Which leaves GM as the only traditional car-maker in the U.S., with sedans a-plenty from its Chevrolet, Buick and Cadillac divisions. But are they long for this world? With a possible exception of a few, the answer here is no, for a couple of reasons.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Off-Lease Cars Flood Market Raising Used Car Prices

USA Today

Defying past predictions, the average price of a used car has hit a 13-year high, up 17.6 percent compared to the same period five years ago.

With an average price of $22,685, the average three-year-old used car only spent 41 days on the market. That’s tied with last year, a number that has fallen from 55 days in 2005.

“Off-lease cars are flooding in the market,” said Ivan Drury, senior analyst at Edmunds website. But with more motorists ready to rid themselves of their jalopies in a strong economy, “the market is doing a good job of absorbing the large quantity.”

Read the article at USA Today.

Ford Targeted by Environmental Groups Over MPG Rules

The Detroit News

The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, Safe Climate Campaign and Public Citizen have taken out full page ads accusing Ford of working behind the scenes in Washington to convince the Trump administration to roll back the mileage rules, which would require automakers to produce fleets that average over 50 miles per gallon.

The CAFE rules were finalized by the Obama administration ahead of schedule in the months after Trump’s 2016 win, angering automakers who argued they were promised a mid-term review in 2018.

Andrew Linhardt, the deputy director of the Sierra Club’s Clean Transportation for All campaign, said, “Ford claimed to be a green company, repeatedly telling us they wanted to put climate action in the fast lane with the clean car standards. But ever since Trump was elected, they’ve stomped on the brakes, seeking to put climate action in reverse by working to undo these very same standards.”

Read the article at The Detroit News.

Start-up Company RideOS Tells Cars Where to Go


Started by two former Uber Technologies Inc. employees, RideOS has raised $9 million led by venture firm Sequoia Capital and has reached a partnership agreement with Autonomic, a division of Ford Motor Co.

Autonomic and RideOS plan to sell software that gives routes and other dispatching instructions to fleets of autonomous cars.

RideOS isn’t set on selling just to self-driving fleets, either. Blumenberg, its technical chief, noted how the electric scooters that have flooded San Francisco need routing services as well. These scooters advise riders not to take large hills, but have no way to enforce that for now, making them potential RideOS customers.

Read the article at Bloomberg.

Mandatory RFID Chips Will Soon Be Tracking Cars in China

The Verge

The Chinese government is readying a program that will make it possible to track citizens’ cars using RFID chips on July 1st. The program will be mandatory for new vehicle starting in 2019.

China already recognizes and tracks license plates with security checkpoint cameras in some regions. Facial recognition is common and the government has been rolling out a so-called “social credit” system, where citizens are rated by their finances, criminal behavior, and other factors.

“The Chinese government has gone all out to create a real surveillance state. [There’s] social credit, and facial recognition, and internet and telecom monitoring,” James Andrew Lewis, a senior vice president at the Center for Strategic and International Studies said.

Read the article at The Verge.

False Impressions of Autonomy

The Guardian

Terms such as “full self-driving capability” and being “capable of driving autonomously” are giving the false impression of a level of autonomy not yet available.

Current systems are capable of what is termed level 2 autonomy, meaning that the driver has to pay attention to the road at all times and may have to suddenly take over.

“We are starting to see real-life examples of the hazardous situations that occur when motorists expect the car to drive and function on its own,” said Matthew Avery, the head of research at Thatcham Research. “Specifically, where the technology is taking ownership of more and more of the driving task, but the motorist may not be sufficiently aware that they are still required to take back control in problematic circumstances.”

Read the article at The Guardian.


The Mobility Revolution

While mobility as a service – known in the fleet world as “MaaS” – is gaining traction among fleets in Europe, it’s widely believed that in the U.S. many are talking about it but only a few are doing much about it. FMW recently caught up with John Korte, vice president of Donlen’s mobility business development team, to ask him what his company is doing about it, both in the U.S. and overseas. Here’s a transcript of our interview with him, edited for clarity and economy.

– Mark Boada, Executive Editor.

What kinds of products and services is Donlen offering to providers of mobility as a service that could also be used by traditional fleets?

At Donlen, over the last 12 to 18 months we’ve come up with several new products and services that are being utilized by ride-hailing and ride-sharing companies, three of which we could ultimately offer to our traditional corporate fleet clients.



Globally Speaking

By John Challen, Editor, International Fleet World

As automakers continue to innovate and incorporate new technologies into cars for the ultimate driving experience, new safety and cybersecurity challenges are emerging.

Connected and autonomous vehicles will be dictated by software, so it is critical that this software is safe and secure over the lifetime of the car. Consumer safety, costly recalls and brand reputation are at stake when a vehicle is compromised. For fleets, security is essential to ensuring that uptime and efficiency levels are as high as possible, and drivers must be confident that they are safe – in every sense – behind the wheel.

In response to this, BlackBerry has set out a seven-pillar recommendation for OEMs and the fleet industry to follow to try to ensure that cars can be made as safe and secure as possible.


Fleet Management Resources
AFLA – Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association
Providing the advanced forum for corporate fleet professionals to network with industry leaders.
The CEI Group Inc.
CEI is North America’s largest provider of fully integrated fleet accident management, driver safety and risk management services.
NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location, or fleet composition.
Offering a nationwide vehicle delivery and relocation service; serving the corporate and commercial fleet industry.
Since 1965, Donlen has been the fleet management industry’s leading provider of comprehensive, integrated financing and asset management solutions — and that spirit of innovation continues today.
PARS' mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.
Driven fleet professionals. Driving results.
Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.
Wheels, Inc.
First in fleet for 79 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.

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