April 28, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

A ‘Bumpy Road’ Ahead

J.D. Power recently surveyed 8,500 people to get their views on self-driving and battery-electric vehicles and it does not presage well for the automakers. That survey was conducted in March, before most stay-at-home orders.

Further dispiriting news, The Drive predicts a bumpy road ahead for the autonomous car industry in the wake of the shrinking capital market caused by the virus.

The pandemic has also upended the way fleets do business, reports Maria Neve, a manager at Mercury Associates, and none more so than in in the public sector. In her impressive article: Pandemic Underscores the Need for an Optimal Government Fleet Vehicle Replacement Policy, Neve advises fleets to plan now for near-term opportunities.

Stay safe & Be well,

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Beyond Telematics – A Powerful Infrastructure

Geotab’s open platform and Marketplace have done quite a job when it comes to building great infrastructure for fleet management software and GPS vehicle tracking devices.

VIDEO: Fleet and Procurement

 You Can’t Just Turn Fleet into a Procurement Category

Fleet departments and Procurement departments are working more closely than ever these days, and it’s important to realize that they generally require different measurements for success.

Video Interview with YOU Here?!?

 Request for Zoom Video Interviews

We’re ramping up FMW’s video interviews via Zoom given the times, and are looking to speak with a variety industry experts (we know many of you are reading!). Please feel free to suggest yourself, or someone you know. Any and all timely industry topics will be considered, and we look forward to speaking with you!

Email Ted Roberts to learn more: ted@fleetmanagementweekly.com.

The Fleet Spot

Used Car Prices Taking a Hit During Pandemic

The Detroit Bureau

Used car values typically decline when the country enters tough economic uncertainty like we are experiencing with the coronavirus outbreak.

During the Great Recession, 3-year-old vehicles lost nearly 10% in value, whereas the year before they declined less than 5% in value.

Multiple factors will impact used vehicle values differently, and lower demand, unusually timed off-lease inventory and reduced auction prices are adding up to a decline in used car values. New car incentives from automakers in response to the coronavirus crisis only add to the problem for used car sellers because new car prices are suddenly appealing. This only further cuts prices of off-lease, near-new used vehicles

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

How Fleets Can Rack Up Savings on Their Four Biggest Spending Categories

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.


Your Company’s Idle Vehicle Problem and Potential Solutions

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.


DRIVE Software Solutions Announces Chairman, CEO and CCO

ODO SaaS Platform Enables Leasing Brokers and SMEs to Develop Digital Business

DRIVE Software Solutions (DRIVE) has attracted a top technology executive team into its C-Suite of senior managers to position itself as the de facto platform of choice in cloud-enabled fleet management.

Richard Parris, Chairman of Sabien Technology Group plc and Chief Executive Officer at Salt Cybersecurity Ltd, will become Chairman of the Board upon completion of a current assignment. Joining DRIVE as CEO is David King who has built and exited successful technology firms for 20-plus years. Robert Gorby, Chief Commercial Officer, brings 20 years of sales and marketing experience to DRIVE.


In the Public Interest

By Maria Neve, Manager, Mercury Associates

Everyone is saying it, and it’s true: we are living in unprecedented times. COVID-19 has upended how we do business and has shown that the existing playbooks are insufficient. The virus has also affirmed some long-held basics of fleet management.

First and foremost, a lifecycle management policy is a must. Every fleet—whether it be commercial or government—should have a plan in place to replace vehicles in a measured and timely fashion.

State and municipal governments find themselves in the unenviable position of being essential to the health and welfare of the population, and also at the mercy of incredible budgetary pressure that is only going to worsen over the short term. All government entities will be looking for ways to cover the shortfall caused by reduced tax revenue. Then there is the responsibility to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars. One can argue that a well-thought-out and data-driven fleet replacement policy does exactly that. Let’s take a look how:



Driver Retention

By Trent Dressen, Director of Sales, SuperVision

Finding great talent, especially in a driver shortage, is a hassle. It takes time and energy to post the job, interview, and hire the right person. Finding ways to retain drivers will minimize that hassle in the future.

1. Convey Your Culture

From the very first communication with a prospective employee, you are conveying your company culture. Think about what your culture says to the drivers you are trying to hire or retain.

Do drivers feel welcomed and valued? Are they included in team celebrations? Or are they cut off from the rest of the company by a “driver window”?



Better Telematics Management

To simplify and better manage your telematics, focus on these 4 key areas of data points

By Ted Lee, Head of Business Development and Product Innovation, Magellan GPS

It’s an iconic early scene from a famous Stephen Spielberg movie. When Indiana Jones steals a golden idol from a temple, he triggers a trap that starts a landslide inside a cave. To survive, the world’s most famous adventurer must first outrun an enormous boulder bearing down on him.

To fleet managers, it can seem as if Big Data is their big boulder. Yes, there’s gold for the taking in that mountain of telematics data your company collects, but there’s also risk.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Here’s The Latest On When Some Automakers Might Resume Production


Here’s where some automakers stand on restarting factories that have been closed for at least a month due to fears of spreading the coronavirus.

Mercedes plans to reopen in Alabama on Monday, April 27. Toyota says its restart will begin gradually the week of May 4 in the U.S. and Canada. The company is still waiting for word from the Mexican government on when it can restart there.

Volkswagen announced it will restart its Tennessee plant May 3. Fiat Chrysler has a May 4 restart date, with Ford and General Motors expected around the same time. Though all three are negotiating with the United Auto Workers union. Detroit automakers employ about 150,000 factory workers in the U.S., while international manufacturers have about 85,000.

Read the article at MSN.

Nuro Driverless Vehicles Become Robot Pack Mules For California COVID-19 Medical Centers


The coronavirus pandemic hit before self-driving vehicle technology was ready to play a significant role helping to keep goods and people moving safely amid stay-at-home rules.

But Silicon Valley startup Nuro is deploying some of its small robotic delivery vehicles to haul critical supplies for medical staff and patients at two temporary California facilities.

Before the COVID-19 crisis, the Mountain View, California-based company focused on using its low-speed, self-driving vehicles to deliver groceries, food and household merchandise to customers mainly in residential and suburban neighborhoods

Read the article at Forbes.

Cruise Becomes First Self-Driving Company to Power Vehicles With 100% Renewable Energy


While electric vehicles produce vastly fewer emissions than internal combustion engines over the course of their lifetimes, the fossil fuels burned to produce electricity still emit harmful greenhouse gases.

Cruise is the only self-driving company to operate an entire fleet of all-electric vehicles and has taken this commitment a step further by running their San Francisco fleet of autonomous vehicles (AVs) on 100% renewable energy.

The Cruise Origin, a recently unveiled self-driven, all-electric, and shared transportation vehicle is complete with the world’s first million mile battery.

Read the article at Medium.com.

Is Top-Down Convertible Driving Wise During Social Distancing?


A couple of months into social distancing, physicians, scientists, and other experts are beginning to warn that the six-foot rule is not always the six-foot rule.

This COVID-19 coronavirus spreads way too easily and convertible car corona, as a result, is worth serious consideration before you lower the roof. Convertible car corona, it seems, isn’t something to take lightly.

“That six feet is in still air, and no motion,” says Dr. Matthew Sims, director of infectious-disease research for Beaumont Health, Michigan’s largest hospital system. “I think it’s safer, in general, if you’re going to use your car, consider it an enclosure.”

Read the article at MSN.

The Mobility Revolution

J.D. Power Study

J.D. Power’s latest survey shows that U.S. and Canadian consumers are cooling toward both self-driving and battery-electric vehicles for the first time since the survey began. The survey of 8,500 people was conducted in March, before most people were advised to stay at home to protect against the Coronavirus 19 pandemic.

Key findings include that a large majority of respondents are worried that self-driving technology is unreliable; only around 30 percent are thinking about buying an electric vehicle; many who have purchased them are dissatisfied with their performance and wouldn’t buy them again; and widespread concern about the environmental effects of disposing of used batteries. It also found persistent consumer concerns about the lack of charging stations, limited range and high prices for fully-electric vehicles.

“’Frankly, we’re concerned for automakers,’ said Kristin Kolodge, executive director of driver interaction & human machine interface research at J.D. Power. ‘They’re pushing forward with technology that consumers seem to have little interest in. Nor are they making the strides needed to change people’s minds.”

Read the J.D. Power Release


Autonomous Vehicles and Capital Markets

The Drive

The coronavirus pandemic is drying up the capital markets, and that’s extremely bad news in the world of autonomous vehicles.

Development of that technology is costly for both legacy automakers and new startups. Adding semi-autonomous features to your next vehicle, creating fully robotic cars, and making money while doing so, is another thing.

For regulatory reasons, automakers largely have no choice but to keep investing big bucks into electric vehicles and batteries. Self-driving car tech may be a luxury in this economy. Ride-hailing and car share services could also see big changes. Automakers and tech companies banked the future on these.

Read the article at The Drive.


Clean Power

Clean Technica

General Motors has been busy pivoting into the medical supply area over the past several weeks during the coronavirus pandemic, but GM has also been connecting the dots between electric vehicle ownership and rising demand for renewable energy.

GM has kicked its commitment to EV technology into high gear, inking a joint EV agreement with Honda, under which the two companies will develop two new electric vehicles for Honda that deploy GM’s proprietary new Ultium EV batteries.

Read the article at Clean Technica.

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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