July 7, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Driving the ‘New Normal’

Last month, we had some cautious indicators that the US was gaining on COVID-19, but now it appears that we are a long way from containing the spread of this frightful virus. So, we adapt as best we can, and we learn how to cope with the “new normal.”

Fleet marketing guru Ed Pierce talks about how the customer journey map needs a serious makeover in the B2C world, and e-Driving founder and CEO Ed Dubens guides us on vital precautions fleets need to take to protect their drivers. Verizon offers an important webinar to discuss the role technology can play to help fleets prevent the spread of the virus and keep fleets afloat during the emergency. And, a sign of the times, AFLA, NAFA and NETS have all announced virtual conferences this fall.

We thank fleet industry pioneer Chuck Parker, founder of Automotive Information Network, for giving us his thoughts – via a Zoom interview — on the evolution of our industry. Chuck holds a special place in our hearts – Ted Roberts and I acquired Fleet Management Weekly from AIN over six happy years ago!

Drive Safety and Stay Well!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: NAFA I&E 2020 is Going Virtual!

NAFA’s big news is that I&E 2020 is going virtual! Given the continuing uncertainty about live events and travel restrictions, NAFA can now provide the essential tools and insights that I&E is so well known for directly to you on your screen of choice.

VIDEO: Total Transportation Management

 The Evolution of Fleet Into Total Transportation Management

The fleet industry is in the midst of an evolution to a whole new strategic model for the way people move about and gain delivery of their goods. You could call it a Total Transportation Management Strategy.

VIDEO: Vehicle Delivery for the Times

 PARS Offers Contactless Pickup for Vehicle Delivery

As a safety measure for the times, PARS is offering vehicle delivery with contactless pickup that’s enabled by their mobile app.

The Fleet Spot

NAFA Announces 2020 Institute & Expo Is Going Virtual

NAFA Fleet Management Association (NAFA) announces its 2020 Institute & Expo will be delivered as a premium interactive virtual experience, presented online from September 14-17.

“We believe that moving to a virtual event will enable attendees to take advantage of NAFA’s education and insights safely and securely,” says NAFA CEO Bill Schankel, CAE.

“Given the unique circumstances of the times, NAFA affirms our commitment to providing best practice focused instruction while staying mindful of the safety and wellbeing of our attendees, exhibitors and all participants from the coronavirus.”


Work Truck Solutions Partners with Members of NTEA

Body and Equipment Manufacturer and Distributor Members get free access to Work Truck Solutions tools for 2020

For the rest of 2020, body and equipment manufacturers and distributors that are active members of the NTEA can get free services from Work Truck Solutions to aid with expanding their digital footprint, bring more visibility to their companies and get advanced reporting tools.

NTEA members can expand reach and sophistication via their own websites with Work Truck Solutions Inventory Locator. “It allows upfitters, the businesses that manufacture or distribute truck equipment or ‘upfits,’ to track inventory movement and see what is in stock from what dealer. This is a powerful tool that upfitters can use to ensure dealers have the best bodies and equipment offered,” says Kathryn Schifferle, Founder and CEO of Work Truck Solutions.


Green Garage Webinar — How to Make Your Garage More Sustainable

Join 100 Best Fleets for a free webinar focused on the Green Garage — Wednesday, July 15, 2020 11:00 AM — 12:30 PM PDT

It will bring together the most progressive, environmentally friendly fleets to share best practices for eco-friendly fleet maintenance garages.

This webinar will be facilitated by the 2020 Fleet Manager of the Year, and the #1 winner of the Green Fleet Awards in 2019. Another manager of a #1 winner of The 100 Best Fleets will be discussing his top-to-bottom commitment to green maintenance. These are lessons you can learn and apply the next day.

Attendance is limited so REGISTER NOW!

Merchants Fleet Partners with YourMechanic

Merchants Fleet has announced their partnership with YourMechanic, a leading automotive mobile maintenance and repair services provider that brings vehicle care directly to customers’ homes, offices or lots.

“We are excited to add YourMechanic to our partnership network and extend the mobile maintenance offering to our clients,” said Adam Secore, Sr. Vice President, Operations at Merchants Fleet.

“With similar philosophies in client service, flexibility and total cost of ownership for clients, we knew we had the right partner to work with us and offer an important service at this time.”


Fleet Marketing

By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer

Customer journey mapping in the B2C world has certainly been turned upside down by the pandemic for B2C business owners.

Consumer needs, shopping, and decision-making all have been affected by roadblocks, detours, and searches for new ways to obtain goods and services.

For B2B companies, where there are already layers of decision makers involved in the buying experience, multiple channels to navigate, and complex steps that need to be taken before the sale ever happens, the COVID-19 era customer journey map now looks like a maze with a multitude of closings, alternate routes and dead ends. It is time for a makeover!



Crash-Free Culture

By Ed Dubens, CEO/Founder of eDriving

While some companies have had no interruption in service, others have been in complete shutdown over recent weeks.

Now, as the world moves towards a new normal, what additional precautions do businesses need to take to protect those driving for work?

For some industries, there has been no reduction in the number of people driving for work during the coronavirus pandemic; for others, employees have been entirely “off the road”. Now, for many of those industries that have been in shutdown, plans are starting to take place for a phased return to the workplace.

While specific advice exists for some industries (for example there is official guidance for people who work in a vehicle, such as delivery drivers), for others, there is likely to be confusion about exactly what steps they need to take to keep employees safe who need to drive for work at this time.



Emergency Preparedness

Since the global COVID-19 pandemic emerged, fleet-based businesses have faced a number of logistical, operational and monetary challenges.

Focusing on preventing the spread of the virus and keeping employees safe while at the same time trying to stay profitable, or even just afloat, is a real challenge for fleets.

How do you manage a fleet business during pressure situations? How do you keep a fleet business afloat during an emergency? Are your workers, equipment and vehicles truly safe?

CLICK to REGISTER for this insightful webinar to learn how technology can help build a resilient fleet that can steer you through any emergency situation now or in the future.

Fleet Trends & Issues

FLD Buying, Selling and Harnessing Strong Remarketing Sentiment

Giving Customers an Offer in Hours. Paying them in a day. Leaving Them Free To Move On.

By Bill Bishop, Senior Vice President, FLD

Earlier this year, many of us who follow the wholesale used truck market were cautiously optimistic that 2020 would finally be the breakout year the industry has been looking for. In fact, I said as much – with a caveat for Covid – in FLD’s first quarter White Metal Market Report, a comprehensive market update we send to clients.

My how quickly things have changed.

In a few short months, the world has turned upside down, and companies everywhere are scrambling to survive in a challenging new world.


BMW Is Going All-In On In-Car Microtransactions

The Verge

BMW has detailed an overhaul to the digital systems that power its luxury vehicles, including a new map and navigation system, a revamped digital assistant, a “digital key”  and wireless Android Auto.

All cars equipped with its newest “Operating System 7” software will soon receive an update that makes it possible for the company to tinker with all sorts of functions in the car, like access to heated seats and driving assist features like automatic high beams or adaptive cruise control.

The most interesting thing BMW shared about the changes is that the company is going all-in on in-car microtransactions. The company unsurprisingly plans to use this ability to make money. An owner can, at some point, pay to access certain features that they didn’t initially buy with the car.

Read the article at The Verge.

Robot Trucks To Roam 1,100-Mile Phoenix-Houston Corridor


TuSimple, a self-driving startup with operations in the U.S. and China, is opening what it calls the world’s first “Autonomous Freight Network,” a highway corridor stretching over 1,100 miles from Phoenix to Houston for its robot trucks to haul loads in a technology partnership with UPS, U.S. Xpress, Penske Truck Leasing and Berkshire Hathaway BRK.B-backed McLane.

The project involves the San Diego-based company’s fleet of 40 self-driving semis (with human safety drivers in the cab), new proprietary software for TuSimple and its customers to monitor their on-road performance and location data, high-definition digital route maps and freight terminals at strategic locations.

If all goes as planned, TuSimple will expand the network from Los Angeles to Jacksonville, Florida, along U.S. Interstate-10 by 2022 and then start operating Level-4 self-driving truck services across the U.S. by 2023.

Read the article at Forbes.

GM EV Program Charging Ahead Despite Pandemic

The Detroit Bureau

The auto industry has taken a hard hit from the coronavirus pandemic, sales plunging to recession levels, production disrupted and as many as a third of the products originally scheduled to debut this year pushed back, some into 2021.

Despite the disruption, General Motors intends to stay on track with an aggressive program scheduled to bring 20 battery-electric vehicles to market by 2023, including not only the Cadillac Lyriq but also the GMC Hummer pickup and a broad range of SUVs.

“The company has made this program a key priority,” said GM’s battery chief Tim Grewe. “We have put safety procedures in place so we don’t experience delays” in the actual launch of upcoming BEVs. “I don’t see any reason why they should” fall behind schedule.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

In the Public Interest

An Indiana Police Chief sees big savings fast

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

Last week, I reported that a California consulting company claims that some 38 percent of the fleet vehicles across the U.S. that it has studied would be cheaper to own and operate if they were fully electric or, to use the right nomenclature, Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs).

More specifically, Yann Kulp, one of the founders of eiQ Mobility, said that if a fleet had a BEV in operation instead of a fossil-fueled sedan, it could enjoy a savings of a little more than $12,000 in total cost of ownership (TCO) over 10 years. He made that claim only days after a study by the U.S. Department of Energy said that consumers could save around $14,500 in fuel costs by driving a BEV for 15 years.

The problem as I see it is that fleets generally don’t hold vehicles that long, and that the cost of fuel is only one variable in TCO calculations. To eiQ Mobility’s credit, however, the figures Kulp cited did include every TCO factor, from eligible subsidies to acquisition, fuel and maintenance costs and residual value. But that still left the matter of the extra-long vehicle holding period unaddressed.



New Leadership at The CEI Group

I learned more in the first few days than most leaders learn in the first few weeks or months. Specifically, I saw the high quality and dedication of CEI leaders, managers and employees while under tremendously intense circumstances.

By Janice Sutton, Editor in Chief

Editor’s Note: Terry Winslow was installed as president of CEI, which provides fleet collision management and safety services, just in time to be faced with the deepest health and economic crises to grip the U.S. and the world in many decades.

In this edited recent interview, the long-term veteran of the automotive industry and former president of store operations and customer experience for the Icahn Automotive Group, talks about how he and his new company have adapted and managed to keep customer service levels high.



Careers and the Pandemic


As people assess how COVID-19 has impacted their career, community, and local economy, they should ask “What are the things I always wanted to do and am good at? What opportunities are there for someone with my background?”

Changes in the nature of work and the working world that are accelerated by technology and demographics will affect four specific groups of people at different stages in their careers: the young – just leaving college, midcareer workers, those who are close to retirement age and those who were always struggling to get by and whose job prospects now are slimmer than ever will be facing

People in all four groups can create better outcomes for themselves by making the most of the help that government may provide to encourage and enable reskilling and upskilling.

Read the article at strategy+business.

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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