April 21, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Fleets Stay in Motion

We post our first Zoom video clip and we thank Sixt sales executive Stuart Donnelly for his willingness to lead us off in this medium. If you or someone on your team would like to talk with FMW’s readers, please reach out to us.

It is no surprise that reducing expenses is the number one goal for fleets; the trick, of course, is how to do it. Donlen shares their sage advice in our latest Fleet Spectator column.

Don’t miss Managing the Reimbursed Fleet. Jake Ernest, director of sales at Motus,expertly addresses some pain points fleets are experiencing and his company’s solutions to the problem of idle vehicles.

Congratulations to Brendan P. Keegan and the Merchant’s Fleet team on their great news today!

Stay safe & Be well.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Sixt Offers Cars for Key Workers During the Pandemic

The Cars for Key Workers program from Sixt is getting key workers like doctors and nurses where they need to be … all while sparing them the risks associated with taking public transportation during the pandemic.

VIDEO: Women in Fleet Management

 The Power of a Mentor

Do you have a mentor? Women in Fleet Management offers an incredible mentoring program, for both women and men.

WEBINAR: Smart Fleet Tracking

 Recorded Webinar: Disrupting Fleet Tracking with IoT Connectivity

In a crowded market, fleet companies are racing to differentiate with innovative features and services like driver safety monitoring and dash cams. One telematics software company, Telemax, took a different approach and leveraged cellular connectivity to create a new business model for the Australian and New Zealand markets.

In this webinar, Ash Phayer, Telemax General Manager, discusses the biggest connectivity challenges they faced and how they overcame them. He also shares how they leveraged Twilio’s IoT connectivity platform to become one of the only companies in the region to offer a complete end-to-end fleet solution.


The Fleet Spot

Merchants Fleet Secures $50 Million in Growth Financing from Bain Capital Credit

Infusion of Capital to Accelerate Merchants Goal of Bringing Disruptive Change to Commercial Vehicle Management

Merchants Fleet Release

April 21, 2020 — Merchants Fleet today announced the company has secured $50 million in growth financing from Bain Capital Credit. The financing will enable Merchants Fleet to further accelerate its growth trajectory and mission of bringing disruptive change to the fleet management industry, which impacts over 3.2 million commercial cars and trucks.

“The fourth industrial revolution is pushing forward, being driven by societal and consumer shifts, and the fleet industry will see both evolutionary and revolutionary change,” said Brendan P. Keegan, CEO of Merchants Fleet.


COVID-19 Response: Sixt Deploys Idle Vehicles to Support Safe Movement of Key Workers

By Mike Sheldrick, Senior Editor

With nearly 300,000 vehicles in its worldwide fleet, Sixt is one of the largest car rental companies in the world. Presently, thousands of those are idle because of COVID-19.

As part of a program to contribute to efforts to remediate the crisis, Sixt is providing rental cars, at cost, to support the safe movement of key workers to and from the workplace in the U.S. and Europe.

We recently spoke with Stuart Donnelly, Sixt’s Global Sales Director, about the company’s program:


Wholesale Prices See Historic Fall in First Half of April

Cox Automotive

Declines in Manheim Market Report (MMR) prices accelerated over the last four weeks, with the first two weeks of April seeing a decline of 4.8% in the Three-Year-Old Index.

Wholesale used vehicle prices (on a mix-, mileage-, and seasonally adjusted basis) decreased 11.8% comparing the first 15 days of April to the month of March.

The path forward depends on the status of the pandemic and the economic response, neither of which is certain. While the decline in wholesale used vehicle prices so far in April is historic, retail prices are holding steady. When the Manheim Index fell 10.5% over two months in the fall of 2008, the horizon looked bleak. Yet vehicle values fully recovered after just seven more months.

Read the article at Cox Automotive.

Wrench Brings Contactless Maintenance & Repair to Fleets

The mobile maintenance and repair company brings its contactless service consumers love to fleets.

What: Wrench, the mobile vehicle maintenance and repair solution that brings dealer-quality service directly to consumers across the U.S., announced it is offering its full contactless services to fleets to keep them clean and return them to the roads faster during these trying times.

“Many fleets are categorized as an essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic delivering vital items across the nation to people in need, and we’re honored to support their efforts to ensure they maximize uptime and continue operating,” said Ed Petersen, CEO of Wrench.


Managing the Reimbursed Fleet

By Jake Ernest, Director of Sales, Motus

Recessions are unforgiving. Decisions that took months of carefully planning and preparation have become pain points in a matter of weeks.

The clearest example of this? The company-provided vehicle. While some businesses cannot function without a fleet of specialty vehicles – utility and waste management companies, for example, top that list – the chances are all your fleet vehicles are not similarly essential to your business. This guide will walk you through the less obvious costs of idle vehicles and alternative methods to manage them.

Whether you’re leasing them or bought them outright, each vehicle in your fleet costs you money and those expenses are part of your bottom line. When they’re being used, they may be working against that expense. But in circumstances where a vehicle, or an entire fleet, isn’t being used? That’s costing you even more money without benefit.



Fleet Spectator

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

It should come as no surprise that reducing expenses is the number one goal for fleets.

At least that is what Donlen, one of the biggest fleet management companies in North America, found when it surveyed several hundred of its customers last year. Saving money was a goal of nearly 50 percent of them, more than double the next-most popular goal, which was managing cash flow.

The trick, of course, is how to do it. For Donlen, fleets can realize the richest savings by focusing on their four largest expense categories. In descending order, Donlen identifies them as depreciation, fuel, maintenance and accidents. Together, they accounted for 89 percent of the surveyed fleets’ spending in 2019, with depreciation at 36 percent and fuel at 28 percent taking the lion’s share of those, followed by maintenance (14 percent) and accidents (11 percent).



Cameras and Data

Consumer Reports

The same cameras and sensors used for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) might also be sending information over a cellular connection you might not know your car had to a company you’ve probably never heard of.

How that data is used will depend on who gets their hands on it, and could lead to massive profits. Analysts say that data collected from cars could turn into a $750 billion industry over the next decade.

Privacy and data collection experts believe that insurers could use harvested data to raise rates for drivers, landlords could choose to raise rents in neighborhoods with lots of luxury cars, credit reporting firms could make inferences about people who live on streets with less lighting or more potholes, and law enforcement agencies could target pedestrians, homeless encampments, or public gatherings.

Read the article at Consumer Reports.

Fleet Trends & Issues

Some New Car Driver Assist Features Are Shown To Prevent Crashes, Others Not So Much


The Highway Loss Data Institute analysts compared claims data regarding four BMW driver-assist system packages that included two or more of the following: forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, front cross-traffic alert, and lane centering.

The Institute determined that a combination of frontal crash prevention and adaptive cruise control proved to reduce the frequency of property damage liability and bodily injury liability claims considerably.

However, adding lane centering, included with BMW’s semi-autonomous Driving Assistance Plus package, had little effect on claims. Having forward collision and lane departure warning systems without an automatic emergency braking function, actually increased claims slightly.

Read the article at Forbes.

In-Car Touchscreens Much Worse For Driver Distraction

International Fleet World

A test carried out by UK automotive publication What Car? of 20 infotainment and air-con systems found that it took twice as long to adjust heating controls on some cars with touchscreen controls rather than physical dials.

With figures indicating that distracted driving is a contributing factor in 15% of all road accidents, the tests – covering six tasks frequently carried out by drivers on the move – also found a sophisticated voice control system is the least distracting way of doing many tasks.

The research also highlighted the benefits of having a range of different ways of doing a task, so the driver can choose the most convenient for each situation. The best systems let you use physical buttons, the touchscreen or voice control to do a wide range of commands.

Read the article in International Fleet World.

Ford Tests Buzzing Wristbands to Keep Six-Foot Distance Between Factory Workers


A number of Ford workers are reportedly experimenting with a “wearable social-distancing device” in the form of a small wristband that monitors how close workers are to one another and will vibrate if they come within six feet to remind them of proper social distancing procedure.

Workers are being thermally scanned to detect a fever when entering a facility. They are provided with masks and, in some circumstances, face shields. They will reportedly also be required to complete a daily online survey on their health and record who they come in contact with.

Read the article at MSN.

Former VW CEO: Widespread Car-Sharing and Fully Self-Driving Cars Unlikely to Begin until the 2030s


The “mobility revolution” away from traditional car ownership and toward fully autonomous vehicles will proceed slowly until at least the 2030s.

So says Hinrich J. Woebcken, the former CEO and President of Volkswagen and 30-year veteran of the automotive industry.

“The new mobility landscape is still in its infancy. All of today’s mobility on-demand models, including taxi, ridehailing and sharing combined, only count for less than one percent of the total mobility miles,” according to Woebcken.


Mobility Now?


COVID-19 will likely have as big an impact on our society and behavior as 9/11. We will change the way we travel, interact, recreate, and think about making discretionary purchases.

Automakers should not rely on one-time vanity purchases, they should continuously offer mobility services to consumers. The future is in mobility services: grocery and parcel delivery, germ-free rides, and any other errand or service that would avoid having to take trips.

COVID-19 exposed a major weakness in how we obtain basic products and services. Had autonomous mobility services been available, supply chains for critical equipment may not have been as constrained, basic sanitation and safety products may not have become scarce, and less healthcare workers would have been at risk moving patients to hospitals.

Read the article at Forbes.


Motor Pools

By Ed Smith, President and CEO, Agile Fleet

Are you thinking about starting a car sharing initiative within your fleet organization?

There are lots of good reasons to share vehicles: reduced costs, improved service, unburdening staff, unstaffed dispatching. You probably already know that your organization can save tens of thousands – even hundreds of thousands of dollars — by sharing vehicles, reducing underused vehicles, and automating fleet management processes.

But if you’ve put it off, here are some signs you may want to do it sooner than later.



Telematics and Liability

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

More and more fleets are turning to telematics for the host of benefits they provide, from reducing fuel costs to improving driver productivity and safety.

But telematics also has a potential downside: greater vulnerability to accident liability when the data proves a fleet driver is at fault.

It says here, however, that the benefits of using telematics generally far outweigh the risks. But the question remains: is there any way for fleets to protect themselves in these cases? Well, it turns out there is.

That’s the point that emerged from a recent NAFA webinar on the topic, “The Use of Telematics Data in Motor Vehicle Accident Litigation.” The presenters were Clifford Mendelsohn and Ryan Winkler, two attorneys from the Cleveland law firm of Tucker Ellis, LLP with extensive experience defending fleets in accident lawsuits.


Fleet Management Resources


The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. Advancing corporate fleet worldwide.

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 80 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.

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