November 10, 2020

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Disruption Comes with Opportunity

Where do we go from here? Now that we have the US presidential election behind us (well, behind most of us), we have only seven weeks until we usher out 2020.

So, eager to look ahead, we were delighted when Anthony Sasso, president at TD Bank Equipment Finance, offered to share his thoughts on the promising signs he is seeing for 2021 in How Fleets Can Finance for Uncertainty. He says, “Though there is a lot of uncertainty ahead, there are also good reasons to be hopeful. Disruption comes with opportunity…”

We happily note the number of young companies we’re seeing thrive during the times of COVID, and CrewVanCo. is a perfect example. Phil Sansotta, co-founder and managing partner of CrewVanCo., gave us a superb interview which centers on their unique solutions: Cargo Van Crew Cab Conversions: How Work Truck Fleets Can Save Big Bucks.

And proving that disruption does come with opportunity, FMW congratulates Donlen president Tom Callahan and his hard-working team for being recognized as a 2020 Company of the Year by the Business Intelligence Group!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Lasting Changes to ISU’s Transportation Department?

Fewer trips. More caution. More car sharing. Changes to fleet and transportation at Iowa State University may be here to stay in the wake of COVID-19.

VIDEO: Mobile Services

 Trends Toward Mobile Services Accelerate During the Pandemic

During the pandemic, trends toward mobile services – like mobile fueling and mobile maintenance – have only accelerated. These services offer more efficiency, so that your fleet can recapture some time to better serve customers.

VIDEO: Zoom 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:

The Fleet Spot

Donlen Named a 2020 Company of the Year by Business Intelligence Group

Donlen announced today it received the Business Intelligence Group’s BIG Award for Business and was named a 2020 Company of the Year.

The BIG Award for Business program offers companies, their products, their people, and their tactics a chance to be globally recognized by panels of business veterans and leaders.

“Our employees are working extremely hard in these dynamic times,” said Donlen President Tom Callahan. “Getting external recognition like this for their creativity, teamwork, tenacity, and engagement validates what we’ve always known – we have the best employees in the industry. On behalf of Donlen, we are humbled to be named a 2020 Company of the Year award winner.”


Uber, Gig Economy Companies See California Win as National Model


Gig economy companies want to turn California voters’ decision to make ride-service drivers contractors into a model for the nation, as several states consider requiring drivers from Uber, Lyft and rival services be treated as employees with higher compensation.

The ballot measure, known as Proposition 22, carves an exception for ride and delivery companies in a controversial state labor law and offers gig workers some healthcare, minimum pay and other benefits. The state had said gig workers would have to be treated as employees under the law.

Trend-setting California passed the first state law requiring companies that control how workers do their jobs to classify those workers as employees, and others have followed.

Read the article at Reuters.

Reducing Risk. Getting Customers Paid Fast!

By Bill Bishop, Vice President, FLD

November 2020

As 2020 inches to conclusion, no one would argue that this has been perhaps the most challenging year not just for our industry, but for our existence.

At a time like this, people in all walks of life – and business – are looking for ways to mitigate risks to ensure their ability to survive in a world of unknowns.

In fleet, perhaps no function is riskier than vehicle remarketing, a service with many moving parts. Executed flawlessly, it can add meaningful value, helping improve total cost of ownership while fulfilling the promise of vehicle leasing. Mishandled, it not only costs money, but wastes valuable time and company resources as well.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of third-party providers and preferred channel partners make the remarketing process not only cumbersome, but risky for sellers.


The Importance of ‘The Big Picture’ for Fleet Managers

How do you effectively use aggregated driver risk insights to reduce your exposure to crashes/incidents/injuries and possible business-ending events?

By Jim Noble, Senior Vice President of Risk Engineering, eDriving

November 2020

Driver risk management is a complex picture of dozens of interconnected influences that, layered together, create a total picture of risk.

Using just one element of that picture, even an important element like today’s in-vehicle intelligence provided by telematics or cameras, is like viewing the old console tube-type television picture.

It just doesn’t provide the high definition picture you get with the TVs of today which can process massive amount of data to give that “I can see the individual grains of sand” picture clarity.

If you want a high definition overview, you need the “bigger picture”.


Crew Cab Conversions

CrewVanCo. brings an insurable, proven concept to North America

By Mark Boada, Executive Editor

If you run a fleet with cargo vans and want to send a crew of four to six to a work site, you may well have run across this problem: you can’t fit them all in the same vehicle.

With the first occupied by the driver and one passenger, and with the tools and parts in the back, one solution is to run the extra crew members in a second vehicle – but that means double the fuel and insurance costs, not to mention the double exposure to potential accident liability and an extra vehicle in your fleet you might not otherwise have to acquire or could use on another assignment.

Alternatively, you may get the whole crew where they need to go in a single crew cab pickup truck, which you may have upfitted with a service body. The problem there is three-fold: the pickup typically burns more fuel than a cargo van, the upfit could cost you north of $20,000 over and above the cost of the vehicle, and the upfit itself runs the risk of greater exposure to chassis corrosion, a shorter lifespan for the vehicle and a lower residual value when it comes to time to remarket it.

Fortunately, there’s a new company out there that can solve this problem and save you big money. READ MORE


Equipment Finance Now

By Anthony Sasso, President, TD Bank Equipment Finance Inc.

As we look down the road at 2021, there are some hopeful signs on the horizon.

While consumer spending is still down, the Cass Freight Index shows that shipping volumes are up from August and is now only 1.8% behind year over year—up 27.5% from April lows. FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index rose to 8.31, showing increased optimism for the industry thanks to the favorable rate environment. The sale of Class 8 trucks continues to recover, and spot rates are also going the right direction, which could be a sign of a rebounding economy.

Even with these hopeful signs, there are still more questions than answers for the year ahead. The biggest question—how the pandemic will play out in the months ahead—will impact everything else. Still, fleets can prepare for the uncertain environment to ensure they are set up for success. Here are a few ways they can make sure they are ready for the unknown.



Climate Change


Almost as soon as a winner was declared, the world began lining up to work with the incoming US president on climate change. Joe Biden won the election running on the most ambitious climate agenda in US history.

In the UK, Boris Johnson sent well wishes to president-elect Joe Biden and running mate Kamala Harris, offering to work closely together on “our shared priorities from climate change to trade and security.” In Fiji, which in danger of drowning under rising seas, the prime minister tweeted his congratulations to Biden: “Together, we have a planet to save from a #ClimateEmergency.”

He has promised that the US will get on track to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions from the electricity sector by 2035, reimpose strict fuel mileage standards, restrict oil and gas extraction on public lands, supercharge renewable development, and rejoin the international Paris Agreement, with the aim of keeping the average global temperature from rising more than 1.5° C above pre-industrial levels.

The Environmental Protection Agency will be led by environmentalists, not lobbyists. There’s also talk of appointing a climate body to coordinate federal action, on par with the powerful National Security Council.

Read the article at Quartz.

Fleet Trends & Issues

J.D. Power Announces Best Resale Value Awards for Mass Market and Luxury Vehicle Models

J.D. Power

The J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Resale Value Awards, recognizing the best resale value across 25 model-level vehicle segments following three years of ownership, were announced today. This is the third year J.D. Power has given these awards, which are based transaction data using customer insights. 

“Our transaction database shows which models have the lowest depreciation costs, hence providing consumers with a key component in the total cost of ownership of the vehicle they plan to purchase or sell,” said Jonathan Banks, vice president & general manager of vehicle valuations at J.D. Power. “Currently, wholesale prices remain strong and we expect prices will be greater than pre-virus levels by year’s end. However, given the volatility of the market, it’s more important for consumers to factor this information into their purchase decision.”

Honda and Toyota receive the most model-level awards, each with five. They are followed by Lexus(four model-level awards) and Chevrolet and Dodge, each with two model-level awards. The GMC Sierra 3500 has the best resale value in the industry.

Read article at J.D. Power.

GM Plans to Hire 3,000 Workers to Spur Electric Car Development

General Motors Co. is going on a hiring binge to accelerate its development of electric vehicles.

The Detroit automaker said Monday it plans to hire 3,000 new employees across engineering, design and information technology to spur efforts to develop more EVs and the software that runs them. That’s about as many workers as GM employs at its engine and vehicle-assembly plant in Spring Hill, Tennessee. The new hires will be added by the end of the first quarter of 2021, the automaker said.

“We’re going through a transition that started at the tail end of 2018,” Ken Morris, the company’s vice president of electric- and autonomous-vehicle development, said in a statement. “We’re accelerating toward our EV future. This will help us move faster.

Read the article at Bloomberg

Massachusetts Voters Pass Right-To-Repair Expansion Opening Up Car Data


One election night issue that appears to have an answer already is the passage of Question 1 in Massachusetts, which asked voters to strengthen laws guaranteeing people are able to repair things they own.

In this case, it focused on cars, preventing manufactures from locking third party repair shops and car owners out of advanced telematics data that’s increasingly being collected by vehicles via driver assistance tools.

Automakers spent millions opposing the proposal, claiming that third parties wanted to scoop up information, violate privacy and possibly enable criminal acts. From this information, a third party, such as a sexual predator, could stalk and/or harm victims by exploiting insecure transmissions of vehicle information.”

Read the article at Autoblog.

Illuminated Seat Belt Buckles Are Finally a Thing Thanks to Skoda

The Drive

Historic Czech carmaker and Volkswagen Group fan favorite Škoda has just introduced illuminated seat belt buckles, claiming they will put an end to the hassle and faff of trying to belt up at night. Perfect or not, we have no idea why this took the industry six decades to accomplish.

Škoda’s new smart buckles feature a clear transparent button in place of the traditional red eject button. This new button features a pair of multicolour RGB LEDs that operate in two modes. With nobody in the seat, the LEDs glow white to show the passenger where the buckle is located at night.

Škoda does think of the children. When somebody is sitting in the seat, a weight sensor switches the LED to red, indicating that the occupant should put their seat belt on. This way, parents can immediately see if their children have either forgotten to fasten or have not engaged the buckle correctly. Once that’s corrected, the LED changes to green to confirm, and then back to white.

Read the article at The Drive.

Autonomous Vehicles

 ABC News

Well, it’s been a few years and autonomous vehicles are, alas, still in the future. Right now, there is no car on sale that can drive itself without requiring the driver to pay attention to the road and be prepared to take control of the vehicle. In fact, some automakers have slowed down their timelines.

Here are three reasons why you can’t buy a self-driving car today: How do we determine when a vehicle is safe enough? Expecting individual autonomous vehicles to operate independently is a recipe for disaster. As long as self-driving features require the driver to be ready to take control, the driver will remain liable for any accidents.

EDMUNDS SAYS: You probably won’t be able to buy an autonomous car any time soon. But expect autonomous fleet services to begin expanding in the near future.

Read the article at ABC News.


Fleet Marketing

A shift in the buying cycle means the sales representative is no longer an exclusive expert and the marketer is no longer the exclusive promoter. How are fleet service providers adapting to today’s buying cycle?

Ed Pierce, ITA Communications. Fleet

November 2020

The generally-accepted B2B sales cycle – discovery of user needs, building customer trust, developing a compelling case to win through a strong use case, and closing the deal — has evolved. The modern sales cycle is driven by an ever-more- informed sourcing team.

A shift in the buying cycle means the sales representative is no longer an exclusive expert. It means that the marketer is no longer the exclusive promoter. Sales reps will always be the lynchpin between a B2Bservice provider and a customer. And, marketing’s role will continue to be finding opportunities.

But, both sales and marketing need to be prepared to fill the roles of Storytellers, Substantiators, and Derailleurs. These three roles frame the future of marketing and sales for any B2B organization or brand.



Being More Decisive

Fast Company

Do you find yourself regularly agonizing over decisions, caught in analysis paralysis, unable to just decide? We’ve all been there, spending 15 minutes combing over a restaurant menu, or 20 minutes debating what to watch on Netflix.

When it comes to bigger decisions like what job to take or where to go to school or what house to buy, those minutes can become weeks or months of agony, caught in endless loops debating the pros and cons of different options.

For those of us who struggle with decision gridlock, here are three simple tools for becoming more confident and decisive: The Happiness Test, The Only-Option Test and Quit-To-Itivness.

Read the article at Fast Company.

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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