June 29, 2021

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Artful Leadership

We have eagerly looked forward to talking with one of the most adroit and engaging leaders in fleet, Tom Callahan, CEO of Donlen. Previously owned by Hertz, the venerable fleet management company has a new parent, Athene, a leading A Rated insurer with $200 billion of assets.

In the wide-ranging interview, Callahan told Ed Pierce that the major questions he heard last year were, “Is Donlen going to be around?” and “Is Donlen going to be able to grow with us?” Today, his response is an unequivocal “Yes!”

We appreciate our industry organizations! AFLA president Laura Jozwiak writes a delightful column about the benefits of AFLA membership.

She says “…what I love most about AFLA is the networking with my peers…whether someone I serve or compete against.” I don’t know if our industry is unique or not, but it sure is nice the way we freely share knowledge with one another. We all grow as a result.

We already love NAFA I&E’s opening keynote: Creating a Complaint Free Environment! I hope that we see you in Pittsburgh!

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Athene Investing in Donlen’s People, Processes and Systems

Donlen’s recent acquisition by Athene means significant investment in people, processes and systems that will lead to considerable growth.

VIDEO: Comparing Transport Providers

  Issues Fleet Managers Face Comparing Fleet Transport Quotes from Different Transport Providers

When comparing fleet transport quotes from different transport providers it’s important to drill down to find the real cost, so that there aren’t any unexpected charges.

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.


NAFA I&E Opening Keynote: Will Bowen!

Monday, August 30, 2021 — Creating a Complaint Free Environment

Executives, employees, and staff deal with hundreds of complaints on a daily basis from both complaining customers and complaining coworkers. Silence the complaints by building a positive environment at work or at home with this fast-paced and humorous presentation by Will Bowen.

In a fast-paced and funny presentation you’ll learn:

  • What’s wrong with complaining?
  • What is (and isn’t) a complaint?
  • The five reasons people complain (as remembered by the acronym R.I.P.E.)
  • How to get other people (and ourselves) to stop complaining
  • Positive leadership in a negative world

You’ll leave this presentation inspired, mindful of your own complaints, and motivated to approach complainers with new, simple and effective strategies.


AFLA Corporate Fleet Conference 2021: Emerging Stronger

October 3-6 AFLA 2021 Annual Corporate Fleet Conference

What is going to be your biggest hurdle in fleet this year?

Emerge stronger in the coming year and join your peers at the . Don’t miss out on this 3-day education program filled with strategy-focused sessions such as Industry Forecast, Multimodal Strategies, and Safety, plus an entire day discussing EV – from Infrastructure to Assets.

La Cantera Resort & Spa
16641 La Cantera Pkwy
San Antonio, Texas

Check out the preliminary schedule of events!

2021’s Best & Worst States for Teen Drivers


Getting a driver’s license is considered a rite of passage in American culture. But this exciting coming-of-age has instead become a death sentence for thousands of teens each year. Motor-vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death among the population aged 16 to 19, which also happens to be the age group with the highest risk of crashes.

The financial implications are staggering, too. In 2018, motor vehicle crashes involving 15- to 19-year-olds resulted in $4.8 billion in costs from medical expenses and work loss. That’s not counting the costs of auto maintenance, insurance premiums, possible traffic citations and other vehicular incidents — expenses that can pile up over time.

To help parents ensure their teens’ safety while also safeguarding their finances, WalletHub analyzed the teen-driving environment in each of the 50 states using a collection of 23 key metrics. Our data set ranges from the number of teen driver fatalities to the average cost of car repairs to the presence of impaired-driving laws.

Read the article at WalletHub.

NTEA Executive Leadership Summit

October 12, 2021 Hilton Columbus Downtown, Columbus Ohio

NTEA’s Executive Leadership Summit brings perspective to economic and business trends influencing companies in the work truck industry.

From global implications to individual company strategies, content is geared toward furthering industry knowledge, growth and profitability.

Commercial vehicle professionals in any capacity and their teams can come together to collaborate and get targeted information from economists, thought leaders and strategists.

Learn more!

Interview with Tom Callahan

Powered by Athene’s Commitment to Long-Term Growth

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

After the questions raised in 2020 about Donlen’s future in the midst of the pandemic due solely to its parent company’s financial troubles, the outlook for 2021 and beyond looks exceedingly bright — for the company, its new owners, its employees, and its customers, says CEO Tom Callahan.

“The purchase of Donlen by Athene is a significant achievement for a number of reasons. First, Athene plans to invest in our company, its people, processes and systems. In fact, we recently raised over a billion dollars in growth capital with 60 investors, 30 of which were brand new to the platform and 30 were existing investors who are happy with our new parent.

“Now that the ownership has been solidified and we have the financial resources and long-term commitment to growth from Athene, all of our internal and external stakeholders are reassured. Athene wants to use Donlen as a long-term growth platform. They look at us as a high quality investment. That sits well with customers, employees, and investors, none of whom like instability or the perception that we could be sold at any minute,” notes Tom.



The Benefits of AFLA Membership

By Laura Jozwiak, Senior Vice President of Sales & Client Relations, Wheels, Inc.
President, Automotive Fleet and Leasing Association (AFLA)

Has anyone ever said to you, “Tell me a bit about AFLA”? What was your response?

“The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) is the advanced forum dedicated to improving communication between sellers, buyers, fleet managers, lending institutions, fleet management companies, used vehicle marketers, and allied automotive service companies.” – do you just spout off the mission?

Being an AFLA member is so much more than a mission statement – it is a connection that once experienced, can be challenging to put into words.

I recently had this very question posed to me when I got a call from someone new to the fleet industry. They were interested in learning about AFLA and how they may fit into the association. After learning about their company and what they are looking to achieve, I offered my perspective on why I am an advocate for AFLA. I shared with my new fleet friend that what I love most about AFLA is the networking with my peers…. whether someone I serve or compete against!




The future of fleet may be about applying groundbreaking tech solutions to an often-overlooked part of a vehicle

By Victor Darolfi, CEO of RoboTire

It’s not an understatement to say that fleet management is evolving almost daily, with industry decision makers tasked with evaluating, adopting and adapting to new trends and technologies.

The future of fleet has never been more intriguing, as the promise of new tech has industry players working hard to evaluate where and how to dedicate resources to deliver the most bang for the buck in terms of new operational efficiencies.

Understanding the contours of this shifting landscape begins with appreciating its most prominent features: the challenges fleet managers face, the opportunities that exist for impactful change, and the tech-driven solutions with the greatest potential to make that change a reality.

The single biggest operational priority for fleet-management professionals—and, not coincidentally, their single greatest challenge—is keeping their vehicles on the road. There is a direct connection between vehicle up-time and bottom-line financial results.



The Humble Tire Goes High-Tech for EVs

The Car Gossip

In the electric vehicle era, almost no part of the automobile will go unchanged — including tires. With more than 100 electric models scheduled for launch in the next few years, tire companies are under pressure as they wrestle with conflicting demands for a new generation of tires.

These new tires need to be stronger to handle increased vehicle weight and substantially greater torque created by electric motors. But the tires have to be made as light as possible to help EVs drive further between charges. They also will need to provide greater grip to keep the vehicle stable during hard acceleration. But the tread patterns will have to be quieter and generate less friction, or rolling resistance.

In addition to handling greater torque and higher loads from electric powertrains, tires on vehicles that will have some autonomous driving features are also going to be collecting and transmitting information.

Read the article at The Car Gossip.

Thieves Stealing Chevy Equinox and Chevy Malibu Steering Wheels

GM Authority

The Chevy Equinox crossover and Chevy Malibu sedan are the latest targets for thieves looking to steal steering wheels. The thieves will break into vehicles and disconnect the steering wheel with the intention of selling the airbag.

According to a recent report, thieves will break the rear passenger window of a target vehicle in order to avoid setting off the alarm. The thieves will then remove the steering wheel in order to sell the airbag located inside.

The trend started as a result of parts shortages stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, with thieves pocketing hundreds of dollars selling just one stolen airbag to a shop anxious for replacements.

“This is straight cash, you can take it to different shops that may be able to buy it,” said John Channell from Stan Yee Auto Repair. “And [they will] give you cash for that immediately. Then, they will just put it into a car where this already happened.”

Read the article at GM Authority.

Cracked Windshield Repair in the Age of High-Tech Cars: It’s Not so Simple


A windshield, for decades, had one job: shield drivers from the elements.  Repairs often meant replacing glass much like a broken window pane in your house. 

But, the times have changed in big ways.  Sensors, cameras and calibration can multiple the cost and difficulties of a replacement. 

First is the integration of cameras or other sensors in the windshield, looking out at the road with you.  “They’re becoming really common on a wide range of vehicles,” says Aaron Schulenburg, executive director of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists, the trade group for collision repair technicians.  “What were once really simple operations now require complex diagnostic and calibration work.”

Read the article at CNET.

Here Are All the Promises Automakers Have Made about Electric Cars

Car and Driver

When carmakers talk about electrified vehicles, they’re counting hybrids, plug-in hybrids, EVs, and in some cases hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the mix.

And when a single model has several different electrified variants (for example, the Prius’s hybrid and plug-in models), carmakers will count each of those separately towards their electrification goals.

GM released the all-new 2022 Chevrolet Bolt EUV and revised Bolt EV on Feb. 14. GMC Hummer EV production starts this fall. Sometime this year BMW will show the first all-electric M badge car, perhaps an M-sport version of the electric i4 sedan. Stellantis plans to launch 10 hybrid or electric models across its brands by the end of the year. Jaguar Land Rover says it will begin testing a hydrogen fuel-cell prototype sometime in 2021 or early 2022.

Mercedes plans to introduce 10 new EVs through its EQ brand by the end of the year, including the 2022 EQS. Ford intends to start production of the F-150 Lightning, an electric version of America’s bestselling vehicle, by the spring of 2022. A Honda EV built in partnership with GM, reportedly a crossover, is expected to enter production.

Read the article at Car and Driver.


Charged EVs

The compromise bill fashioned by President Biden and Senate Republicans is diminished in size and faces an uncertain future, but the betting is that a bill will eventually emerge, and EVs will still benefit handsomely.

Key features outlined by the White House are a national network of 500,000 chargers built along highways, and in rural and disadvantaged communities; also, thousands of schools and transit buses will be electrified. Proposed spending on each of these proposals will be $7.5 billion. Other notable EV components of the bill are that a proposed Republican surcharge is gone, as is a plan for a gasoline tax increase to contribute to the funding of infrastructure.

Bob Preciasepe, president of the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, quoted in The New York Times, commented, “We find ourselves a unique moment here where most American business and many states are looking toward a decarbonized future, but recognize that there’s a big lift on the infrastructure side. This investment… will be a huge boost”

Read the article in Charged EVs


Safety & Risk

By Ed Pierce, Contributing Editor

For over 30 years, Driving Dynamics’ classroom driver training and behind-the-wheel exercises, e-learning, and simulation training have been a model for the fleet industry in effectiveness and innovation.

According to Debbie Lodge-Balestra, Vice President of Client Relations, 2020 required a whole new level of adaptation for the company, its customers, and their drivers.

“We had to adapt our programs quickly when the pandemic hit because in-person classes were scheduled for all 2020,” she remembers, “we needed a plan to train drivers while keeping them safe.

“In the beginning, we had a lot of students that were having trouble adjusting to the change. Some even had to have their children show them how to log onto the Zoom classes! Fortunately, that issue was short-lived, and today, we’re hearing from many students that they actually prefer the online classroom training over the in-person method.”



Lowering TCO

By Richard Mallek, Director of Business Development, FLD Remarketing

Earlier this year I wrote an article for Fleet Management Weekly titled There May Never Be a Better Time to Remarket Vehicles and Equipment.” And despite the fact that the fleet industry continues to experience a variety of challenges, that may be even more true today than it was just 4 short months ago for several reasons, including:

  • Historically high resale prices caused by new vehicle and driver shortages
  • The need for fleets to right size at a time when business models and missions are changing
  • A desire for liquidity and flexibility
  • Risk avoidance
  • Higher ROI

But of all the reasons there may never be a better time to sell used vehicles and equipment, the truth is that one stands head and shoulders above the rest.


Fleet Management Resources


The Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association. Advancing corporate fleet worldwide.

The fast, easy way to remarket without risk. Get an offer in hours, paid in a few days. Improve TCO. Save time, money and resources.

PARS’ mission is to provide you with high-quality service at competitive prices for all of your transportation needs.

Driving Dynamics
Driving Dynamics was established to help corporate fleet drivers develop expert, safe driving skills using proven, advanced driving techniques.

Fleet Street
Fleet Street has 30+ years of experience and knowledge using a spectrum of wholesale and retail channels to simplify your involvement in the remarketing process.

SuperVision is a fleet driver management solution for MVR & license monitoring, fleet management, fleet safety oversight and driver performance and retention.

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.

NAFA Fleet Management Association
NAFA is the association for the diverse vehicle fleet management profession regardless of organizational type, geographic location, or fleet composition.

Wheels, Inc.
First in fleet for 80 years. Wheels helps you build tomorrow’s fleet today.

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