October 1, 2019

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Trump’s Tariffs Pinch Fleet Budgets

Fleet Goes to Washington

NAFA’s annual meeting of its Government Affairs Committee took place last week in Washington, DC. One of the takeaways from guest presentations and conversations of members at the two-day conclave was the extent to which President Trump’s tariffs are negatively impacting fleets.

In Trump Tariffs Hurting Fleets, Jeopardizing Road Safety, we learn that tariffs on steel, aluminum and imported auto parts have resulted in significant hikes in replacement parts and upfitting.

In May, Trump proposed a 25% tariff on imported cars and parts which will either be implemented in November or postponed. The Center for Automotive Research estimates the proposed tariff could raise the average price of a car sold in the U.S. by as much as $4,400!

Speaking of government fleets, we love MSN’s article about NYPD deputy commissioner Robert Martinez and his decision to add the tiny Fortwo smart car to his unique fleet.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Technology Improvements Benefit PARS Customers

Market forces have driven some beneficial technology investments at PARS, and that translates to time and money savings for their customers.

VIDEO: A Variety of Fleet Solutions

 Bridgestone Increases Its Focus on Fleet

Bridgestone has been investing in multiple ways to increase its ability to provide effective solutions for fleet customers – to increase safety, to reduce downtime and to help reduce TCO.

VIDEO: Australia and New Zealand

 A Short Primer on the Fleet Industry in Australasia

Here’s a quick but helpful take on the fleet industry in Australia and New Zealand from the head of the Australasian Fleet Management Association.

The Fleet Spot

In the Know: The Smart Cars of the NYPD


By Scarlett Liriano Cepin, iGeneration Youth

The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is one of the largest police forces in the United States. But its Fortwo smart car is one of the smallest police cars on the road.

“When I first wanted to get smart cars, the quote was, ‘The vehicles look wimpy,’ but sometimes wimpy is good,” said Deputy Commissioner Robert Martinez of the New York Police Department’s Support Services Bureau. “They’re approachable, and they’re a friendly-looking vehicle.”

Read the article at MSN

Introducing Webfleet Solutions!

Following the acquisition of TomTom Telematics by Bridgestone on April 1, 2019, Bridgestone has announced that TomTom Telematics’ company name will become Webfleet Solutions as of October 1, 2019.

Commenting on this announcement was CEO and President of Bridgestone EMEA, Paolo Ferrari: “When we acquired Webfleet Solutions at the beginning of the year, we created a fleet solutions powerhouse. Together we have every capability to lead in what is an incredibly exciting, fast-growing, and innovative area of mobility.

“We have the ambition, the infrastructure and resources, the data and insights, and we have the people and their unrivalled knowledge. As the new worlds of connected and autonomous mobility rapidly become a reality, together Bridgestone and Webfleet Solutions will ensure that our customers can enjoy every benefit of this new era.”


Driver Retention: Good for the Bottom Line

By Shannon McNamara, Marketing Manager — Fleet, SuperVision

One of the best ways to combat the driver shortage is by working to retain drivers. While money is important, a fleet culture that values and respects drivers may be even more crucial.

One of the most important ways fleets can overcome the perennial driver shortage is to find ways to retain the drivers they have.

Fleets across the country are instituting a wide variety of programs to hang on to what has become its most precious commodity — drivers — including better pay.


Merchants Fleet Wins 2019 Impact Award from Innovation Leader Company

Innovation Leader, a fast-growing media and events company focused on helping the world’s largest companies build competitive advantage, recently awarded Merchants Fleet with a 2019 Impact Award.

The award recognized Merchants Fleet’s INNOV8 program, which offers training and resources to help employees innovate solutions by thinking and acting differently.

The Impact Awards honor companies that have achieved extraordinary outcomes related to their corporate innovation programs.

Read more.

Fleet Marketing

By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer

For many companies, the Fall signals the start of another budgeting process that comprises a two-part challenge:

1. Reviewing the success of this year’s marketing tactics and overall achievement of goals at both the tactical and strategic levels,

2. Developing next year’s plan and appropriate budget by gathering pertinent facts from inside and outside the company — forthcoming promotional opportunities, (e.g., new products, strategic messaging), and external forces (e.g., the economy, the competitive landscape, and changing user needs)

It’s All about ROI



Safety and Informality

By Ed Dubens, CEO / Founder of eDriving

Of course, the effective management of driver risk requires a “formal” structured approach, but there is also plenty of room for informality!

It is the “informal” elements that can make the difference between creating a sustainable crash-free culture® or something than fizzles very quickly!

Policies, standards, management systems, best practice guides, training, eLearning, license checking, telematics, benchmarking and analytics are all critical components to any successful driver risk management strategy, but how much more effective can you be if your plan is supported by regular, informal messaging to your drivers from across the organization?



Fleet Spectator

NAFA Lobbies for Rollbacks and Four Other Fleet-Related Issues

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

President Trump’s tariffs, launched last year to protect American industry and punish China for unfair trade practices, are now hurting fleets and jeopardizing road safety.

That was the word last week at NAFA’s DC Fly-By, its annual meeting of its Government Affairs Committee. Twelve members of the committee spent two days in the Washington D.C. area to hear presentations by executives from industry and auto industry trade associations, Congressional staffers, and a representative of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Vehicle Technologies.

After a series of presentations, organized by Pat O’Connor, NAFA’s U.S. legislative counsel, and NAFA Board member Maria Neve, the committee peeled off on Friday to lobby the offices of 15 key of members of Congress on five fleet-related issues on which NAFA has taken an official position. These include:


Fleet Trends & Issues

Rock ‘n’ Roll Makes You Drive Like a Bat Out Of Hell, Study Finds

The Sunday Times Driving

Law-abiding motorists intent on sticking to the speed limit may want to consider switching to Smooth FM when behind the wheel, as a new study suggests you’re more likely to drive dangerously while listening to fast-paced tunes.

Research carried out by scientists at the South China University of Technology indicates an uptempo playlist could substantially increase the chances of drivers exceeding the speed limit.

According to the findings, the car users who listened to music playing at 120 beats per minute (bpm) or faster were clocked at speeds between 5mph and 10mph higher than the drivers who had sub-80bpm light music playing at 80bpm, or no music at all.

Read the article at The Sunday Times Driving.

Bollinger Reveals First Battery-Pickup, SUV Models

The Detroit Bureau

Start-up Bollinger has rolled out two new battery-electric trucks, the B1 SUV and B2 pickup.

There are plans to get the two new trucks into production in late 2020 at a factory in the Detroit suburb of Ferndale.

Robert Bollinger’s new entries adopt a military-style appearance designed to handle serious work, not just making owners look cool and environmentally hip.

These are the first electric models expected to get Class 3, heavy-duty ratings. That translates into a payload of 5,000 pounds and towing capacity of 7,500 pounds, and topping 10,000 pounds gross weight.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

Americans Need to Drive Less Just a Little Bit Less

City Lab

If Americans drive their electric cars anywhere near as much as they do with their current gas-guzzlers, it would cancel out the carbon reduction brought on by electrification.

At current rates, it would take about 15 years for the current 263 million vehicle fleet to turn over.

Of the 1.8 billion tons of greenhouse gases produced by transportation in the United States in 2017, 59 percent of it came from passenger cars and light-duty trucks.

“The easiest and cheapest thing to do is drive just a little bit less,” Scott Goldstein, the policy director of Transportation For America (T4A) says. “We could do that today. We could build our communities, suburbs, and cities to be safer, more convenient for people to get around without having to drive. ”

Read the article at City Lab.

GM and Amazon Partner to Bring Alexa to 2018 and Newer GM Vehicles

Car and Driver

Owners of 2018 and newer General Motors cars will be able to use Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant in their cars starting in the first half of 2020.

Amazon connectivity will be available via over-the-air update to the owners of vehicles with compatible infotainment systems and will rely on GM’s 4G LTE connectivity to work. GM says that many car owners would prefer to use the same digital assistant in their home and in their cars.

Drivers who use Alexa in their GM car won’t be limited to using the device as a navigation tool. They’ll also be able to use Alexa to select music or podcasts, control certain connected home features like lights and thermostat, and add items to a shopping list.

Read the article at Car and Driver

Smart Cities


Three megatrends – mass urbanization, aging populations and the climate crisis – are poised to change the nature and purpose of urban life in the next 30 years. All three are accelerating.

These challenges require more and different housing and public infrastructure combined with mass transportation, shared mobility services and electric bikes and scooters.

Solar, wind, energy storage, carbon capture, green hydrogen, fusion energy and other new technologies will spare us the worst of the looming climate crisis.

Read the article at Forbes.


Electric Vehicles


Affordable electric cars are everywhere, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. If you’re thinking of making your business greener, stick around.

Despite having existed since the middle of the 19th century, electric cars have always played a distant second to their petrol and diesel-engined counterparts. Even as the world welcomed the 20th century, electric vehicles didn’t have the range or performance of combustion engine models. If you wanted to travel more than 50 or 60 miles in an electric car, you were out of luck. In 2019, however, things are different.

Eco-friendly cars are, undeniably, a great way to reduce your business’ carbon footprint, and almost every major car manufacturer has committed to electric and hybrid cars. With demand riding high – electric car sales are hitting double-digit growth rates, often above 50% year on year – we’re in the middle of an electric vehicle revolution.

Read the article at Discover


In the Public Interest

By Adlore Chaudier Ph.D., CFFM, Associate Vice President, Federal Fleet Consulting Services, Mercury Associates

Last year, the Trump administration reversed a decades-old trend toward the centralization of federal agency fleet administration, a move that may prove to be problematic because of a lack of strategic expertise at the agency level to improve fleet operational efficiency and which flies in the face of proof that centralized fleet management is a better approach.

The clear trend in the industry has been and remains toward more rather than less consolidation. And to varying degrees, most public sector organizations have developed a centralized fleet management program.


Fleet Management Resources


Offering a nationwide vehicle delivery and relocation service; serving the corporate and commercial fleet industry.

eDriving partners with its clients to engage with drivers and their managers to create a culture that supports lasting behavioral change to reduce collisions, injuries, license violations as well as a fleet’s total cost of ownership.

SuperVision is a fleet driver management solution for MVR & license monitoring, fleet management, fleet safety oversight and driver performance and retention.

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.

WEX fuel cards and fleet management solutions give you powerful tools to reduce spending — for any business, any fleet, any size.

Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.

PARS’ mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.

Wheels, Inc.
First in fleet for 79 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.

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