March 1, 2022

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Editor’s Analysis & Top Industry News

Where’s the Value?

If you serve in a fleet sales or marketing role or just want to know what’s going on in that world, don’t miss Ed Pierce’s monthly ‘A Call to Action’ column. This week, Ed tells us how to answer the question from the CEO: Where’s the value in digital marketing?

“The 3G shutdown will affect millions of vehicle models from 2010 to 2019 that had built-in 3G connectivity,” writes veteran journalist Kevin Dennehy. Don’t miss 3G Goes Away: Are Fleets Ready?

Update on NAFA I&E: Early bird rates have been extended; register by Friday, March 4, and save $200. Are you trying to decide whether or not to attend? Check out this impressive schedule. Covid halted FMW’s travel plans for two years. We are so excited about this conference!

FMW welcomes our newest associate editor, Dave Bean, to our team. Meet him in Columbus at I&E.

Janice Sutton
Editor in Chief

VIDEO: Why You Should Attend The Fleet Success Summit

The Fleet Success Summit is happening in the Phoenix area in April, and you should consider attending. Come hear some great speakers and learn about employee engagement, retaining technicians, fleet leadership and organizational health.

VIDEO: Fleet Safety

  How to Engage Drivers to Be Safer Behind the Wheel

Your fleet can improve safety by implementing a small rewards program – perhaps including games and/or incentives – and that will cost a lot less than paying for an accident.

Zoom 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.


Element Fleet Launches ‘Arc by Element’ to Simplify Clients’ Transition to EVs

In an effort to assist clients in navigating and simplifying the challenging transition from internal combustion engines (ICE) to Electric Vehicles (EVs), Element Fleet Management has introduced Arc by Element.

This new EV solution bolsters Element’s already robust roster of fleet management services.

“With the prerequisites for wide-scale EV adoption by commercial vehicle fleets looming on the horizon — the right vehicle types at the right price points, improved access to charging infrastructure — and with organizational ESG mandates increasingly targeting sustainability, we have seen a significant increase in client interest in moving their fleets “from grey to green” through EV adoption,” said Jay Forbes, President and CEO of Element.


Merchants Names Alex Coveney New Director of Strategic Partnerships

Merchants Fleet has announced the hire of Alex Coveney as Director of Strategic Partnerships for Enterprise level accounts in North America and Canada.

In this role, Coveney will oversee strategic OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and mobility partnership development, specializing in custom transportation solutions which includes building strategies and implementation of EV (electric vehicle) adoption, charging infrastructure and fleet integration.

As a successful former business owner, Coveney brings over 20 years of business leadership experience to the role. Prior to joining Merchants, Coveney also led numerous regional teams at Enterprise Holdings in addition to serving on the Enterprise Truck Rental Global Advisory Board.


Dave Bean Joins FMW as Associate Editor

Fleet Management Weekly is delighted to announce the appointment of Dave Bean as an Associate Editor of Fleet Management Weekly.

Dave will be responsible for a number of editorial responsibilities at FMW. “Dave is an excellent addition to our editorial team. As FMW continues growing, we are excited to bring onboard someone with Dave’s talents and experience,” said Janice Sutton, Editor in Chief.

Dave has managed various studies for J.D. Power and Associates, including APEAL and SSI. Prior to that he served as a data analyst for Morpace International, with a focus on Lincoln, Land Rover, Jaguar and Aston Martin.


AFLA Learning Safety Insights Webinar

Registration is open for the AFLA Learning session on Tuesday, March 22, 2022 at 2:00 PM CT. Join Art Liggio with Driver Dynamics for a webinar on Insights: AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Research.

Since 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety (“FAS”) has been conducting extensive research on a variety or risk factors that affect driver safety performance. Its published reports provide valuable insights on the ever-changing safety challenges drivers face along with potential solutions. This AFLA Learning session will look at recent research by FAS and its findings in the areas of Driver Behavior & Performance and Emerging Technologies.

Click HERE for Learning Objectives and Registration

Fleet Marketing

By Ed Pierce, President of ITA Communications. Fleet.

As a marketing manager for a provider of B2B products or services, you know that the first question your executives will ask is “Where’s the value?” of each of your marketing tactics.

Even though we are in the digital age, you can’t justify marketing value based on Facebook “likes,” Twitter “follows,” and LinkedIn connections.

As it was unlikely that management would appreciate the value of traditional print advertising measures like cost-per-thousand, impressions, awareness and perceptions, the digital metrics provided by internet metrics can be found wanting.

Still, digital marketing offers value, as evidenced by its growing share of the overall marketing budget. The key to showing value is to do the additional hard work to translate and extend superficial facts with meaningful business results.



The 3G Shutdown

By Kevin Dennehy

Millions of passenger cars, as well as trucks and buses, lost emergency, convenience, and navigation features last week as AT&T became the first telecommunications company to shut down its 3G network. Both T-Mobile and Verizon will sunset their 3G service later this year.

3G-connected vehicles will lose their automatic crash notification and other features. By some accounts, more than 10 percent of public-school buses could lose GPS and other communications. For fleets, it means loss of vehicle connection and driving data for companies that have not upgraded their telematics services.

The 3G shutdown will affect millions of vehicle models from 2010 to 2019 that had built-in 3G connectivity. Explained Kenny Hawk, CEO of Mojio, a connected car supplier: “It’s a big problem. Any features that depended on that 3G wireless connection will no longer work, including life-saving crash detection and eCall,” he said. “Some automakers are ripping and replacing the 3G embedded telematics control unit, antenna, etc., and leaving their customers with no solution and trying to shift the blame to mobile operators.”



Personal Dash Cams

By Grant Feek

With a smartphone in almost every pocket, it seems that virtually nothing goes unrecorded anymore. And to capture things that happen on the road, while we’re driving, dash cams are becoming increasingly commonplace.

They can be especially useful in certain situations… but do you need one? And if you decide to get one, what features should you be looking for?

One of the primary areas where dash cams can be helpful is in typical fender-benders and other minor collisions, where there’s not likely to be a police investigation to recreate the accident. There’s often disagreement about what happened in these types of incidents, and video footage can provide evidence to establish who’s at fault.

In a car vs. pedestrian or cyclist scenario, it can also be helpful to show what was happening prior to the incident. Likewise, in road rage incidents, the footage might help take a dangerous person off the road or justify evasive or self-defense actions taken by a victimized party.



Geneva Motor Show: Kia EV6 Awarded 2022 Car of the Year

February 28, 2022The Kia EV6 is « The Car of the Year » 2022. The award ceremony took place in Geneva on Monday 28 February 2022, and was broadcast live on the Geneva International Motor Show website, whose team organized the ceremony for the eleventh time in a row.

With the trophy for « The Car of the Year », the Kia EV6 wins the most prestigious and coveted award in the automotive world, presented since 1964.

Jason Jeong, President at Kia Europe, commented: “It’s a great honor to have won the 2022 European Car of the Year with the EV6, the first ever Kia to win this prestigious award. The EV6 is truly a landmark development that’s been designed from the outset to make electric mobility fun, convenient and accessible by combining a highly impressive real-world driving range, ultra-fast charging capabilities, a spacious high-tech interior and a truly rewarding driving experience.”

How Russia’s War with Ukraine Will Impact the Auto Industry

February 25, 2022 The Russian incursion into Ukraine this week has thrown European and global markets into a frenzy, as automakers work to determine how big an impact the war, and any economic sanctions against aggressor Russia, will have on supply lines, production, and workforces who could now be in direct danger.

Europe’s home automakers will be hit the hardest, as supply lines from Ukraine and Russia freeze up while bombs get dropped. Hyundai and Kia’s massive manufacturing presence in Russia now presents a huge headache for the Korean group.

The Korean automotive sector is hugely reliant on Ukrainian-provided rare gases like neon, krypton, xenon, and more, everything from EV battery cells to superconductors are now on an even tighter supply line, and prices will go up.

via Motor Trend

2022 Jeep Grand Cherokee Hit with Stop-Sale After Owners Stranded by Faulty Electronics

Some Grand Cherokee L owners have experienced problems with their new Jeeps. In short, the car’s key fob loses connection with the SUV, and any attempts to unlock it with a physical key are mistaken by the vehicle as attempted theft. It’s then rendered effectively inoperable. 

Stellantis’ FCA wing sent notice to dealers that a stop sale of the vehicles has been issued due to faulty electronics installed on the Jeeps. The document alleges a “Radio Frequency Hub Module” can cause communication issues between the car and the key fob.

As far as a fix goes, these faulty RFHMs must be replaced. For some owners that could mean more than a month without the new SUVs they just bought. For unsold trucks still at the dealership, they can’t go anywhere until they’re fixed.

via The Drive

GM Plans 50 New Digital Features, Services by 2026

February 24, 2022General Motors aims to turbocharge its non-vehicle revenue by introducing dozens of new fee-based digital features by 2026, including one enabling a car to predict when it will need maintenance.

“We have 50-some value-added products and services that we’ll be rolling out over the next 36 to 48 months,” Steve Carlisle, president of GM North America, said at an investor conference. GM’s OnStar unit, which now offers insurance in addition to concierge services to drivers, generates about $32 a month per customer, and its enhanced Super Cruise driver assist feature will further bolster that.

The new digital products, including in-vehicle subscriptions, will be supported by GM’s Ultifi software and connectivity platform. Ultifi also will enable over-the-air software updates and help drivers and passengers with tasks such as online shopping.

via Reuters

EV Home Charging

Owners of electric vehicles give high marks to “next level” home chargers, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Home Charging Study, with Tesla taking home top honors for the second consecutive year.

The study evaluates EV owner satisfaction in three segments, including Level 1 portable, Level 2 portable and Level 2 permanently mounted charging stations. However, only Level 2 permanently mounted charging station owners are award eligible. Satisfaction is measured across eight key elements: fairness of retail price, cord length, size of charger, ease of winding & storing cable, charging cost, charging speed, ease of use and reliability.

All combined, these elements present a concise picture of owner experience, as well as charger performance.



The Invasion and the Chip Supply

February 24, 2022Russia’s invasion of Ukraine could further strain supplies of semiconductor chips amid a shortage that has already caused global production disruptions for tech companies and automakers for more than a year. Russia and Ukraine are critical sources of neon gas and palladium that are used to produce semiconductor chips.

Russia produces neon, a gas that’s a byproduct of steel manufacturing, which is then sourced and purified by a specialized Ukrainian company. The price of neon shot up 600% the last time Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014. Russia also is a key palladium supplier. For the automotive industry, palladium also is a key metal used for catalytic converters. Palladium prices jumped by more than 7% on Thursday as part of a larger surge in precious metals.

The U.S. neon supply, which is used for lithography processes for chip production, comes almost entirely from Ukraine and Russia, according to Techcet, a California-based market research firm that specializes in critical supply chain materials and components.

via CNBC


Helping Fleets Thrive

By Steve Bender

Conventional wisdom.

It’s been an important part of the human condition since people first appeared on earth. And while it differs from culture to culture, conventional wisdom is usually about one generation or group passing along universally accepted knowledge to the next.

And while many of the “tried and true” practices we all seem to adhere to have value, the tumultuous nature of the last few years suggests that rather than follow in lockstep, it might make sense to slow down. Take a deep breath. And then carefully consider what makes the most sense rather than what satisfies tradition.

After all, not only has the pandemic turned accepted norms on their collective heads, but so many of the things fleets have taken for granted are not what they once seemed. From an inability to purchase new vehicles, to the shuttering of auto plants due to chip shortages. To the challenge of employing a “business as usual” mentality when the supply chain is in tatters, people have left or been cut from their jobs, and so much has changed about our industry.


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