April 20, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

We’ve Got Pittsburgh on Our Minds

We appreciate thoughtful interviews with our fleet industry leaders and were captivated this week by Ed Pierce’s interview with Steve Bender, president of 30-year-old Fleet Street Remarketing. At the conclusion of the interview Steve enthused, “I want to create a platform that blows the fleet industry out of the water in terms of meeting their needs and exceeding their expectations!”

Ed Smith, president of Agile Fleet, talks about the economic challenges facing fleets in the post-pandemic era and gives us his thoughts on some ways to save money in Vehicle Sharing: There’s No Better Time Than Now.

Registration is now open for the NAFA 2021 Institute & Expo taking place August 30-September 1, in person, in Pittsburgh! We cannot wait! The ensuing virtual program takes place September 13-15. Brilliant move on NAFA’s part.

Congratulations to the winners of the 100 Best Fleets: 2021, led by the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma!

Drive Safety,

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Business Mileage Activity Rebounding to 70% of Pre-Pandemic Levels

Business mileage activity is rebounding across the board, and has now reached a level of about 70 or 75% of pre-pandemic levels.

VIDEO: Affordable Vehicle Rentals

 Affordable Last-Minute Vehicle Rentals for Fleets

Just in case your business is scaling faster than your fleet can keep up, Kingbee – in partnership with CrewVanCo – provides affordable short-term vehicle rentals.

VIDEO: AFLA in San Antonio

 Emerging Stronger: AFLA in San Antonio

The AFLA conference is happening live and in-person in San Antonio this October, with safety protocols in place and with many functions happening outside. We cannot wait to see you there!

Early bird rates are still available: REGISTER NOW at AFLA.org

The Fleet Spot

Donlen Wins 2021 Excellence in Customer Service Award

Bannockburn, Ill., April 20, 2021 – Today Donlen announced it has been named a winner in the 2021 Excellence in Customer Service Award presented by Business Intelligence Group.

Donlen is a fleet management leader that develops innovative solutions for customers in various industries across the U.S. and Canada employing a proactive, hands-on approach to customer service.

Based on years of feedback from customers, Donlen uses a company-wide customer service methodology called AREPA which stands for availability, responsiveness, expertise, proactivity and accuracy. The AREPA process represents the key attributes necessary to provide best-in-class customer service to the various fleets Donlen manages. Donlen’s goal is to empower customers to focus on their core business capabilities while at the same time driving continuous improvement in their fleet’s operational and financial performance.


NAFA Webinar: EV Fleet — Postcard from the Future: Lessons from Down Under and Across the Pond on Building Out EV

Date: Wednesday, April 28, 2021 — Time: 12:00 – 1:00 PM EDT

EV fleet adoption has occurred at different rates across the globe due to varying levels of legislative pressure, financial considerations, and corporate focus. Europe and Australia/New Zealand are currently ahead of North America and can offer some lessons and insights into what makes a successful EV program and how to best prepare for an EV future.

This supplier webinar is presented by Element Fleet Management.


Polestar Signs 3-Year Deal with Ebbon-Dacs

Independent Swedish electric performance car manufacturer, Polestar, has signed a three-year deal with automotive technology provider, Ebbon-Dacs, to directly deploy its market-leading Leaselink e-procurement platform to process new car orders in two markets.

The arrangement will see a launch in the UK with a major international leasing company, which has now gone live, with a similar pilot scheme running in the Netherlands. The solution will then be rolled out to lease companies in both countries who are users of the Leaselink platform. Under the arrangement, lease companies will use a new innovative, order in/order out module within Leaselink to send orders directly to Polestar for fulfillment.

Polestar, which was founded by Volvo Cars and Geely Holding in 2017 and is headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, has a current model range of two cars, the electric performance hybrid, Polestar 1, and the high performance all-electric fastback, Polestar 2.


Wheels Attains SOC2® Type 2

Wheels Inc., has successfully completed a SOC 2 Type 2 examination, conducted by leading attestation and compliance auditing firm Schellman & Company, LLC.

System and Organization Controls (SOC) is a globally recognized audit of information systems designed by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA). To be deemed compliant, organizations must follow strict adherence to best practice security policies and procedures.

The SOC 2 Type 2 designation refers to the completion of randomized testing of client-facing systems to verify security procedures and controls are followed. Wheels’ examination affirmed it has implemented sufficient safeguards to protect clients’ information.


Vehicle Sharing

By Ed Smith, President, Agile Fleet

I have never been more confident than right now that vehicle-sharing is your best bet for running a cost-effective and safety-conscious fleet operation.

I get it – this runs counter to much of the present narrative being offered, but to be blunt about it, there are aspects of the present narrative I feel are incorrect. Here’s why.

Since the pandemic hit us one year ago, fleets are being tasked to save money more than ever. The good news is it might not be as hard as you think. You may need to overcome misconceptions and understand where the dollars are to be saved.

Organizations face mandatory cost reductions, and even rounds of layoffs to meet the economic challenges of the moment. The workload, however, has not changed and may have increased. That’s why running a safe, shared vehicle fleet makes sense.



Remarketing Innovation

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

Listening to Fleet Street President Steve Bender speak about his company’s passion for remarketing innovation in an industry with tried-and-true solutions seems to be unorthodox at first.

But his abiding respect for the industry and the lessons he learned from his predecessor, industry stalwart Kevin McGrath, balance his passion for lateral thinking with traditional remarketing tradition.

“Fleet Street has been doing corporate fleet vehicle remarketing for 30 plus years, and I had the opportunity to help design many of our original systems,” says Steve. “Having an IT background, I am hands-on and believe in taking a creative approach to problem-solving that emphasizes ideas that are not immediately obvious.”

His emphasis on lateral thinking allows Fleet Street to generate ideas that may not be obtainable using just traditional logic. In other words, the company looks to avoid familiar patterns and seek new, unexpected ones.



Here Comes BlueCruise

By Mike Sheldrick

Ford Motor Company has joined the ranks of automakers touting hands-free driving, with its announcement of “BlueCruise,” available later this year on the F-150.

Few are hiding their lights under a bushel these days and certainly not Ford, which said the system was released after a 500,000-mile testing program followed by the “mother of all road trips” to prove its mettle. Its hands-free mode is only possible on roughly 100,000 miles of allowed roadways.

Ford says its BlueCruise is similar to Tesla’s Autopilot, and GM’s Supercruise, but better. Autopilot requires a driver to keep his or her hands on the wheel, although this is often defeated by reckless show-offs — mostly recently in the Woodlands, TX, a tony suburb north of Houston, where two people died last week in a fiery Tesla crash.

As for GM, which also allows hands-free driving only on certain roads, Ford says that its system of driver notification of when to take control of the wheel is superior.


Fleet Trends & Issues

Safety Groups, Unions Urge US to Fix Recalled Gov’t Vehicles

The Detroit News

More than a dozen consumer groups and three federal employee unions are asking the U.S. government to stop using vehicles in its fleet with unrepaired safety recalls. Vehicles are being sold to the public without repairs being made including those with potentially dangerous Takata air bags and faulty General Motors ignition switches.

The U.S. government has more than 600,000 vehicles in its fleet across multiple agencies. The government’s own National Highway Traffic Safety Administration urges people to have the repairs done when they get recall notices. Auto companies have to make the fixes at no cost to owners.

Takata air bags have caused at least 27 deaths worldwide, including 18 in the U.S. About 400 people have been injured. General Motors recalled millions of cars with ignition switches and paid claims for 124 deaths and 275 injuries stemming from the problem.

Read the article at The Detroit News.

Walmart Invests in GM Cruise for Autonomous Deliveries


Self-drive automaker Cruise, backed by General Motors Co, raised $2.75 billion in its latest funding round with additional investment from Walmart Inc and others, taking the startup’s valuation over $30 billion.

Cruise’s relationship with Walmart includes a trial delivery service in Scottsdale, Arizona. Cruise said it planned to begin deploying a limited number of its Origin vehicles for ride-hail services in Dubai from 2023, its first overseas commercial service.

“We are focused on our path to commercialization right now but the IPOs happening in the space right now are a great indication of the strength of the industry and the opportunity self-driving presents,” a Cruise spokeswoman said

Read the article at MSN.

Forget Chips and Seat Foam, Now There’s a Shortage of Rental Cars

The Detroit Bureau

Airports are getting busier these days as more Americans take to the sky, despite another surge of COVID-19. But travelers who don’t carefully prepare before heading out could be in for a shock, especially if they try to book a last-minute car rental.

According to some reports, renters are finding rates running as high as $500, even $700, a day in some popular vacation resorts. The situation isn’t likely to ease up anytime soon.

Even before the latest crisis, many auto manufacturers were looking to cut back on rental sales. They’re simply not very profitable. So, that sets things up for a crisis in 2021 — and it’s all the worse because carmakers are themselves facing shortages of critical components and raw materials, including not only computer chips but things like seating foam.

Read the article at The Detroit Bureau.

Washington will be the First State to Ban Gas Cars


Washington has passed a bill banning the sale of new gas-powered cars in the state beginning in 2030.

That’s five years earlier than California and Massachusetts, meaning Washington’s ban will kick in the soonest of any state’s at the moment. It applies to the registration of any vehicle model year 2030 or newer, so importing a new gas -powered car sold in other states won’t be permitted, either.

However, Reuters says that the bill “isn’t a firm mandate,” and will depend on the state adopting a vehicle miles-traveled tax for 75 percent of its registered vehicles first.

Read the article at Jalopnik.

Mobility Trends

McKinsey & Company

Over the past year and a half, the mobility industry has significantly outperformed top-performing industries, such as semiconductors and big tech with increasing support in capital markets.

New Chinese automakers have tapped into advanced technologies to deliver a customer journey that is friendly and convenient. Your experience inside the car is in many ways just an extension of your experience outside the car – from advanced facial recognitions systems to charging and valet services.

Automakers and consumers will need to accelerate their adoption of electric vehicles if we hope to meaningfully limit climate change. The decade between 2025 and 2035 will determine whether the industry can keep cumulative CO2 emissions for passenger cars (through 2050) to under 45 gigatons, a “carbon budget” that would help hold global temperature increases to under 1.5°C

Read the article at McKinsey & Company.


Excellent Driver Behavior

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

A well-run fleet management program can dramatically reduce fleet costs by focusing on the vehicle throughout its life cycle. As a general rule of thumb, companies can expect a 15-20% reduction in fleet costs in the first full year.

However, fleet management companies have also found that companies that employ a comprehensive program to achieve excellence among their drivers can realize an additional 5-10% reduction.

Fleets must adopt and promote a broad definition of what constitutes satisfactory driving behavior. An exemplary driver is one who is highly skilled and crash-free.

The model driver knows the importance of proper vehicle maintenance, how to minimize fuel consumption, how to arrive to a destination on time through proper planning, how to drive defensively, and comply with the organization’s driver policy.



Distracted Driving

PR Newswire

Nearly nine in ten U.S. drivers (87%) have engaged in various distracted driving behaviors while operating a vehicle for personal reasons in the past 90 days, according to a new survey.

Distracted driving isn’t just occurring while adults are alone in vehicles—80% of drivers who are parents of children under 18 say they do not always drive distraction-free when their children are in the car with them.

The majority of drivers who have engaged in texting, reaching for something, or talking on a mobile device (not hands-free) while driving in the past 90 days have done so even though they consider these actions to be distracted driving (68%, 66%, 59%, respectively).

Read the article at PR Newswire.

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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