June 9, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Celebrating Government Fleets’ Finest

Early last month we published a very popular article about Robert Gordon, deputy director of fleet management for DeKalb County, Georgia: Georgia Fleet Manager Risks Pandemic Exposure to Protect the Public and His Employees. Significantly, in 2018, Gordon earned NAFA’s Fleet Excellence (FLEXY) award for Outstanding Achievement in Public Fleet Management and placed #1 in The 100 Best Fleets.

In this week’s issue, we are proud to feature Rocky Buoy, fleet manager for San Luis Obispo County, California, in How This Year’s Number One Government Fleet Got There. In 2020, Buoy’s fleet was tied with Palm Beach County, Florida’s Sheriff’s Office for the #1 spot in The 100 Best Fleets.

Mark your calendars for Thursday, June 25th, at 2:00 PM Eastern. In a free webinar moderated by Robert Gordon, a panel of award-winning fleet managers, past and present — including three #1 winners of The 100 Best Fleets Program — will present how they’ve adapted to the COVID-19 challenges and are finding solutions to the pressing issues facing fleets today. More information to follow!

Drive Safety & Keep Well!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: How Driver Training Has Adapted to Meet the Challenges of the Pandemic

UPDATE: Crashes are on the rise since the COVID-19 outbreak. Driving Dynamics’ advanced driver safety training now incorporates CDC prescribed safety protocols for physical distancing, including virtual classes and non-contact driving exercises to deliver high-quality results in a safe environment.

Learn more about the program modifications.

VIDEO: Adapting and Changing

 Donlen Changes and Adapts in the Wake of the Pandemic

In the wake of COVID-19, Donlen was quick to make changes and adaptations – some of which will have lasting implications.

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 (and we know that 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

AFLA NextGen Goes Virtual

The AFLA 2020 Corporate Fleet Conference is transitioning to a truly “NextGen” conference this fall as they shift to a virtual format.

The Conference Task Force is currently working to outline this dynamic educational and networking format while enhancing the unique AFLA experience which brings us together each year. Please watch for more information on AFLA NextGen, including speaker announcements, updated registration rates, full program schedule, exciting new sponsorship opportunities and more in the coming weeks at afla.org.

AFLA looks forward to connecting with you virtually this October 5-7th.

Learn more.

LeasePlan & YourMechanic Launch Mobile Car Repair Services

Alpharetta, Ga. (June 3, 2020) – LeasePlan USA, a global leader in fleet management and driver mobility services, today launched a partnership with leading automotive mobile maintenance and repair services provider, YourMechanic.

In alliance with YourMechanic’s network of over 700 certified technicians across over 2,500 cities nationwide, LeasePlan now provides contact-free vehicle maintenance services for cars and light-duty vehicles.

In adding a mobile option to their maintenance and repair management offering, LeasePlan provides customers the opportunity to schedule contact-free service on-site at the driver’s home or office location. Using LeasePlan’s new solution, powered by YourMechanic, customers can tap into more than 600 automotive repair services for a safe and convenient experience.


Save the Date for NETS Virtual Strength in Numbers Fleet Safety Benchmark Conference

The health and wellness of conference attendees is of utmost priority. Therefore, given the current pandemic situation, NETS annual conference this year will be a virtual event during the week of October 12th.

Stay tuned for more information coming soon regarding exact dates, conference registration, speaker line-up, virtual Sponsor exhibits, and more!

NETS annual STRENGTH IN NUMBERS® Benchmark Conference convenes each year to bring together Global, Corporate, Government, and Non-profit employers. Conference participants include NETS member companies from diverse industries, representing a collective global fleet of more than half-a-million vehicles, ~80% passenger vehicles, that travel nearly 11 billion miles annually.
Fleet Sales Continue to Get Pummeled, Rental Units Drop 91.3% in May

Cox Automotive

Year-over-year fleet sales continued its remarkable decline compared to the prior year as the combined rental, commercial and government purchases of new vehicles were down 83.2% in May.

Total fleet volume in May was 52,203, down significantly from 311,202 in May 2019. Rental units led the drop with a 91.3% decrease year over year in May. The dismal May result follows drops in both March (down 34%) and April (down 77%).

It’s not all bad news for the industry, though. As Michelle Krebs, executive analyst for Cox Automotive notes, “Reduced fleet business is not necessarily an awful trend, as automakers need to be replenishing dealer lots to help deliver more profitable retail business. If there is ever a good time for bad fleet, it’s now.”

Read the article at Cox Automotive.

In the Public Interest

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

Rocky Buoy shies away from taking personal credit. Maybe that’s one of the reasons that San Luis Obispo County, California’s 1,080-unit fleet — the one he’s been managing for the last 11 years — tied for first place in this year’s 100 Best Fleets award program.

“I champion for my customers and my employees, but don’t say I am a champion, please don’t use that word,” he instructed me in a one-hour telephone interview. But what he is comfortable saying is that he believes that his team-oriented leadership style has made a difference.

“No one takes a job and says to himself, ‘I want to fail.’ No, he wants to succeed and wants to do a better job. So, if someone in my department is underperforming, it’s my fault or the supervisor’s fault, we’re not doing something right. Either we’re not letting him know that his mistakes are expensive, or he doesn’t have the right training or we’re not recognizing that something else is wrong. But he wants to do a better job. Never forget that your guys want to do their job.”



Managing the Reimbursed Fleet

By Jeremy Young, Director of Sales at Motus

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the day-to-day lives of the mobile workforce, as shelter in place orders have forced mobile workers to stay home.

As a result, companies utilizing fleet programs are finding themselves left with a high volume of fixed-cost assets that are currently sitting idle. Employers are searching for ways to curb overall spending while these company-provided vehicles go unused and continue to accumulate monthly corporate expenses regardless of usage.

While a fleet program may have best suited a business less than three months ago, decision makers are now looking for alternative programs to help them navigate this time of uncertainty in a way that’s best for the organization and its team.



Routing Technology

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

The fleet trucking industry is at the crossroads of a dilemma.

Professional truck drivers from the baby boomer generation are retiring, leaving the fleet industry to face a severe shortage of qualified drivers. As many as 25 percent of today’s drivers will retire over the next three-to-five years.

But it’s not just their behind-the-wheel experience the industry will be losing; it will also be at risk of losing their route-knowledge, key information that often goes unrecorded, such as knowing which roads are hazardous and how to get around unexpected obstacles.

It’s a brain drain the industry can ill afford, especially as it hopes to recruit new drivers to meet rising demand.


Fleet Trends & Issues

The Automotive Market Is About To Be Disrupted: Where Will It Leave You?


The automotive market is about to be seriously disrupted whether you’re in the market for a car or you sell or repair them.

The clean air we have been enjoying during lockdown seems to have aroused consumer interest in electric vehicles, which are no longer available only to the rich. GM is launching a new electric delivery van and plans to introduce at least 20 all-electric models in all categories by 2023. Amazon is working to add 100,000 Rivian all-electric vans to its delivery fleet.

One thing is already clear: with much longer lifetimes and significantly cheaper maintenance costs, electric vehicles are changing the economic parameters of driving.

Read the article at Forbes.

GM Starts Electric Van Program Said To Aim To ‘Beat Tesla To The Segment’


General Motors Co. is developing an electric van aimed at business users, joining a growing list of carmakers planning EVs for the same segment which includes customers such as Amazon.com Inc and United Parcel Service Inc.

The Detroit automakers, which count trucks and commercial vehicles among their most profitable businesses, ‘don’t want to leave the door open for Tesla’ as they did in consumer passenger cars.

The GM electric van is code-named BV1, and it is due to start production in late 2021 at GM’s Detroit-Hamtramck factory. It will be built using GM’s new Ultium battery platform, which will support a series of new electric vehicles coming in the next few years.

Read the article at Electrek.

Self-Driving Vehicles Could Struggle To Eliminate Most Crashes


According to a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, autonomous vehicles might prevent only around a third of all crashes if automated systems drive too much like people.

To estimate how many crashes might continue to occur if self-driving cars are designed to make the same decisions about risk that humans do, IIHS researchers examined more than 5,000 police-reported crashes from the National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey.

Crashes due to only sensing and perceiving errors accounted for 24 percent of the total, and incapacitation accounted for 10 percent. The remaining two-thirds might still occur unless autonomous vehicles are also specifically programmed to avoid other types of predicting, decision-making and performance errors.

Read the article at IIHS.

Ford Faces Huge Challenge As It Launches 4 Key Models At Frantic Pace

Detroit Free Press

Getting quality and performance right from the first car out of the factory is never easy, but Ford faces added challenges after the two-month-plus COVID-19 shutdown of assembly plants.

In September, Ford’s scheduled big production launches are: F-150 at the Rouge Complex in Dearborn in September, Mustang Mach-E in Cuauttilan, Mexico, and Bronco Sport in Louisville. The Bronco will be produced in Wayne, Michigan, February 2021.

This year, “we had to adjust schedules to a degree due to COVID-19,” Ford North America Chief Operating Officer Lisa Drake said. The lost time when people would have been physically in the plants installing new manufacturing equipment will delay when production of some vehicles begins slightly, but engineers unexpectedly got a couple of extra months to live with the new vehicles, time to spot issues and refine performance.

Read the article at Detroit Free Press.

Climate Change and COVID-19


The shutdowns resulting from COVID-19 are not just temporary and as the economy is relaunched, it is vital that companies seek to build back better and, in doing so, help society overcome the existential threats of climate change and nature loss.

These include remote teleworking and socializing, near-shoring, and a new mantra of “make where you sell,” which places a new value on localized supply chains and includes a rise in 3D printing and automated manufacturing.

COVID-19 has added a new meaning to the term track and trace, a concept that could be applied to what we produce and consume, which might provide a better road map for conservation and sustainable supply chains. The technology exists; it could be used to increase transparency and efficiency, but we will need to be on the front foot to manage social consequences.

Read the article at strategy+business.


Consultative Aid

Fleets driving less, extending leases, delaying orders

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

In this exclusive interview with Fleet Management Weekly, Matt Dyer, CEO of LeasePlan USA – one of the largest fleet management companies in North America – discusses his clients’ reactions to the pandemic and how the company is helping them find solutions to the challenges they’re facing.

How much less driving are fleets doing because of COVID-19? Does it vary by the type of fleet or the nature of the drivers’ job?

Although it felt like everything stopped immediately, that’s not entirely true for the majority of our clients. In fact, we only saw a 36.5% mileage decrease from our client fleets in the first two months of the pandemic. Many of our customers fall into the essential business category, so they have continued to operate their fleets albeit under new health and safety guidelines from the CDC.



Crash-Free Culture

By Paul Atchley, PhD, eDriving’s Brain Scientist Advisor

For Mother’s Day this year, my spouse and I drove 800 miles from Florida to see my mother who lives by herself in rural Virginia.

The twelve-hour journey reminded me of how the current crisis has affected the traffic on our roadways. Traffic was relatively light both directions and I started to wonder how these times would be reflected in crash statistics.

But on the return journey, I was reminded that there is never a good time for complacency. In South Carolina, on a daytime freeway with light traffic and sunny weather, we passed a horrific single tractor-trailer crash. In the median, full of pine trees, sat a tractor-trailer that had left the freeway, and hit a stand of pines. The cab was crushed and open to the elements. The numerous patrol vehicles and officers that surrounded the cab told a story of an investigation in progress. There was no sign of a driver or medical responders.

In that brief glance it was impossible to tell the circumstances of the crash. But I was left wondering why a tractor-trailer would end up off road on a clear freeway, light with traffic in the middle of the day. My thoughts turned to distraction and how we must remain constantly vigilant, even now.


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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