Deciding when to replace a truck can be a challenge that involves balancing many factors. Fleet Consultant Dale Mottram discussed the trend in owned truck fleets to run assets longer and how leased programs can help reduce the financial burden of replacing vehicles.
The automotive industry is in the midst of undergoing changes that will greatly impact the future of fleet management as we know it. Automotive Fleet reached out to Merchants Fleet to help create a sense of what some aspects of the future of fleet will look like in the coming decade.
Preventive maintenance (PM) expenses were slightly higher in 2018 because of the increased cost of crude oil, but this was offset by improvements in engine design, onboard oil monitoring technology, and improved oil quality, allowing fleets to extend oil drain intervals. Oil drain intervals will continue to lengthen as older vehicles are retired from fleet service. Go to the Article
“There was additional consumption driven by Hurricane Florence that caused catastrophic damage in the Carolinas in September 2018. Fleets going to aid in recovery efforts consumed more fuel than was anticipated for the month of September. With many vehicles that fueled early prior to the storm, demand in the Southeast has been low compared to other regions and is only now starting to return to normal,” said George Albright, assistant director of maintenance for Merchants Fleet.
“Many fleets are working with their consultants to evaluate their fleet’s performance and are looking for additional engine efficiencies. Engine efficiency and advanced engine technology will continue to be an effective way to counteract higher gasoline prices,” said George Albright, assistant director of maintenance for Merchants Fleet Management.
While requests for proposals (RFPs) remain a nearly mandatory process for government agencies in the purchasing process, they have been less prevalent in corporate procurement, especially outside of the Fortune 500. Rob Daziel, Director of Supply Chain Management for Merchants Fleet, discussed what a request for information (RFI) can contribute to a company’s search for a fleet provider.
Michigan became the first Midwest state and the tenth in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational use during Nov. 6 voting. Tom Coffey, senior vice president of sales of Merchants Fleet, weighed in on what this could mean for fleet productivity and driver safety.
Warranty recovery can help a fleet manage its maintenance costs, especially with extended powertrain warranties, which cover most components during the service life of a vehicle. However, warranty recovery tightened in 2018 due to greater OEM scrutiny, resulting in a slight decrease in recovery dollars. George Albright, assistant director of maintenance for Merchants Fleet, commented on these changes in a conversation with Automotive Fleet.
Replacement tire prices are experiencing upward pricing pressures due to higher prices for the commodities used to manufacture tires. In the past, price increases in replacement tires impacted retail consumers more so than fleets, which tend to buy from national account vendors based on pre-negotiated prices.
“Despite general cost stability in 2016, we have seen a continuation this year of the pricing uptick which was observed in 2017. Manufacturers have attributed the pricing increases to rising commodity costs, brand value strength, and the strengthening of the dollar,” said George Albright, assistant director of maintenance for Merchants Fleet.
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