• Well, Chrysler, Ford and General Motors sold some vehicles this month. The Big Three received a substantial order on June 1 from one big spending customer — the United States Federal Government.

    GSA’s official press release stated that The U.S. General Services Administration purchased $210 million of new fuel efficient vehicles, with the goal that each new vehicle will replace an older, less efficient one in the federal fleet.

    The agency ordered 14,105 fuel efficient vehicles with $210 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), bringing the total number of fuel efficient vehicles ordered by GSA using ARRA funds to 17,205 at a cost of $287 million. The breakdown includes:

    2,933 Chrysler vehicles for $53 million

    7,924 Ford vehicles for $129 million

    6,348 General Motors vehicles for $105 million

    By September 30, 2009, another $15 million will be spent on advanced technology federal buses and electric vehicles.

    “GSA is committed to spending Recovery dollars quickly and wisely,” said Commissioner James A. Williams of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service. “Simultaneously, we are focused on acquiring vehicles that will provide long-term environmental benefits and savings by increasing the fuel efficiency of the Federal fleet.”

    Photo courtesy of futureatlas.com under the Creative Commons License

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  • Drivers recently passing through a road construction zone near Raleigh likely found themselves slowing down more than usual, thanks to a menacing-looking orange beast made from construction barrels.

    The towering statue was the latest creation of 21-year-old North Carolina State University student Joseph Carnevale, who was arrested and charged with misdemeanor larceny for stealing and artfully repurposing the materials into what he calls the “Barrel Monster,” according to autoblog.com.

    Raleigh police were evidently familiar with Mr. Carnevale’s work. He’s made barrel art before (see gallery here), but none as monstrous as his latest creation.

    The Smoking Gun
    reports that damage has been estimated at $360 and his court case is slated for July 21st.

    If you or your fleet drivers encounter something unusual on the road, let us know.
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  • Their affordability and utility are not just for moms

    Sales within the used-vehicle market flattened out through May with car values depreciating 0.8 percent overall. Just five of Kelley Blue Book’s 20 segments continued to appreciate. Among them, minivans were the biggest gainer at 2 percent appreciation, according to Vehicleremarket.com.

    It was reported that Kelley Blue Book expects sales on hybrid vehicles, subcompacts, and compact crossovers to peak or depreciate in coming months.

    Strong mid-size and full-size Fords such as the Fusion and Five-Hundred contributed to a 0.1 percent segment gain.

    Full-size Fords performed well, however, the Chrysler 300 dropped 4.5 percent and the Pontiac G8 sank 4.0 percent, slightly dragging the category down 1.0 percent.

    Truck segments appeared stable with pickup trucks sales flat, crossovers down 0.8 percent, SUVs increased 0.6 percent, and vans up 0.9 percent.

    The mid- and full-size SUV segment was up .4 and 1.7 percent in May, respectively.

    Crossover values dropped 0.8 percent because of declines in its compact, luxury, and hybrid lines.

    Minivans improved 2 percent, which was more than any other segment during May. The article summed up the sales lift by saying “The relative affordability and utility offered by minivans are the main drivers providing lift in this segment…and it is difficult to beat the value offered by minivans, especially when cross shopping against more expensive crossovers and SUVs.”


    Top minivans performers were the Dodge Caravan, Chevrolet Uplander, and Nissan Quest.

    Check out the value of your fleet vehicles at Kelley Blue Book

    Photo copyright of lincoln-log under the Creative Commons License

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  • In the wake of filing for bankruptcy, GM’s Fleet and Commercial Operations General Manager Jim Campbell posted a statement on the company’s website assuring fleet owners and operators that they will be protected as the company is restructured.

    In the letter, Campbell assures that GM “intends to honor 2009 fleet agreements for ordered and out of stock purchases, including applicable statements”, “honor warranty commitments given at the time of purchase to owners” and that “service for all brands will continue to be available through authorized GM service facilities, with genuine GM parts”.

    The letter also states that GM plans to continue with vehicle production and that GM is “fully committed to to the fleet and commercial business.

    On a separate posting, GM answers some FAQ’s concerning the filing, the automaker announced that their could be some delays on current vehicle and supply orders, but the their Fleet Operations Center (1 800 FLEET OPS) will continue to operate without interruption.

    The FAQ section also goes into great detail on parts and services concerns and fleet customer incentive programs.

    If you own or operate a fleet you purchased from GM, the site does a pretty good job at addressing concerns.

    Read the letter from Jim Campbell and the FAQ here
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  • If you shop for fleet vehicles online, you might want to do it well away from your toddlers.

    A New Zealand mom was bidding on some online toys for her daughter before bed. It seems 3-year-old Pipi awoke early the next morning, hopped on to the still open TradeMe auction account and bought the biggest toy they had, a $12,300 Kobelco earth-moving digger.

    “I saw an email from TradeMe saying I had won an auction and another email from the seller…something like ‘I think you’ll love this digger’,” TheBrisbaneTimes.com.au quoted mom Sarah Quinlan as saying. She had some Lego play kits on her watch-list and just assumed she’d won a digger toy-set.

    After being informed by her husband of what she’d purchased, Sarah immediately called TradeMe and the seller to report the mix-up and reimburse the seller’s costs for listing.
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  • GM’s bankruptcy means Lee Iacocca has to return company vehicle

    Lee Iacocca, the former CEO, chairman and pitchman for Chrysler in the 1980s, will apparently lose what was supposed to be a guaranteed life-long company car as a result of GM’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

    Yahoo News
    posted a Reuters press release reporting that Chrysler CEO Robert Nardelli told a bankruptcy court last Thursday that Chrysler also wouldn’t have to pay Iacocca’s pension if GM received bankruptcy protection, which it did on Monday.

    GM reached out to former executives with similar statements. It seems other senior executives with company vehicles are being asked to return their cars or pay for them as well. “The New Chrysler does not expect to reinstate the car program,” the company said.

    We recommend that GM read our blog post about reclaiming company cars from former employees.

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  • New Ford Technology Allows You to Sync Your Ride

    We’ve been talking a lot lately about how the auto industry’s is going green, but getting lost in that is how high-tech your next fleet vehicle might be as well.

    You may be aware of Ford’s SYNC system, that allows you to play music and make phone calls with the touch of a button or through voice command, but like most great tech gadgets, new applications just keep coming.

    The system works with most media players and with Bluetooth enabled phones and now has applications that you can download which will call local 911 in the event of an accident and will speak to the operator if the driver is unable to speak.

    SYNC,
    which was launched in 2008, will be factory installed with updated features into all Ford, Lincoln and Mercury vehicles, beginning with recent 2010 models.

    The updated system is also offering personalized traffic reports featuring text-message traffic alerts, turn-by-turn driving directions and voice activated searches for the latest business information, news, sports and weather up dates.

    Perhaps the most useful feature to fleet managers is the VHR report that allows you to monitor diagnostic system’s statuses and alerts owners of any dealer recalls.

    If you have Ford vehicles in your Fleet that feature SYNC, but don’t have 911 Assist or Vehicle Health Reports, your dealer can provide software installation.

    For more information on this technology go to syncmyride.com.

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  • It’s that time of the week to pop in a Willie Nelson 8-track and roll through the next set of letters in our CB dictionary. By now, fleet managers from sea to shining sea should be able to talk the talk when they’re putting the pedal to the medal, but we can’t stop until we get to the end of the road, so without further adieu here’s you lingo for the through weeks featuring the letters S-T:

    S

    Sailboat fuel – Running on empty

    Salt mines – Place of employment

    Scrub brush – Street cleaning truck

    Shot an eyeball on it – Saw it

    Shovelling coal – Accelerating

    Show-off lane – Passing lane

    Skates – Tires

    Smile and comb your hair – Radar trap up ahead

    Smokey Bear – State Police

    Smokey with a camera – Cop with radar

    Someone spilled honey on the road – State troopers ahead everywhere

    Stop to get groceries – Stop and eat

    Straight Shot – Road is clear of police and other obstructions

    Sunbeam – A CB’er who livens the channel with witticisms

    T

    Tearjerker – A CB’er who always cries the blues

    Tooled-up – A souped up rig

    Trading Stamps – Money

    Turkey – Dumb

    Turn Twenty – Location of exit or turn

    Two miles of ditches for every mile of road – Drive safely, keep in the middle

    Check back with us next week for a run down of the letters U-V-W, or you can get a dictionary full of terms from the book, Woody’s World of CB.

    10-4 from Hotlanta

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  • New reality show rewards recklessness with…a new car (to be read in game show voice)

    In case you don’t see enough bad drivers on the job, reports are coming in of a new Travel Channel reality show called “America’s Worst Drivers” and it’s being billed as  “a competition-based elimination series set out to determine what city really boasts America’s worst driver.”

    The show is set to careen into your living rooms in late 2009 or early 2010.

    Casting calls are going up everywhere from Craigslist to RealityWanted.com seeking the highway’s absolute worst from Chicago, Miami, Boston, New Jersey, New York and Dallas to name a few, with questions like “Do others consider you a great driver? A bad driver?” And more obtuse statements like “We are really looking for teams that are iconic of their city and will do well representing their hometown. Unique team relationships (bowling league teammates, co-workers, in-laws, etc. are always great, but are not make or break).”

    Here’s the run-down:

    Every week, five certifiably bad drivers will compete in a series of road tests geared at identifying that city’s worst driver. The winners from 10 U.S. cities will come to Los Angeles for a two-hour crash course finale. Nine will graduate out of the finale until America’s Worst Driver is crowned and awarded a brand new car, which they will most certainly promptly destroy.

    Photo copyright of SFist under the Creative Commons license
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  • This convention is created for Fleet managers who are looking for affordable solutions that will allow them to truly go green.We wouldn’t be worth the digital space we write in unless we told you about opportunities to learn about fleet management firsthand, so its with great excitement that we inform you about The Green Fleet Conference 2009, October 19-20, 2009, in Chicago.

    As listed on the website at http://www.greenfleetconference.com the two day event will help you:

    • Discover what’s new in alternative fuels and hybrid vehicles
    • Find out the most cost-effective ways to improve efficiency and reduce emissions
    • Experts will help you to select the right fuel, vehicle and technology strategies to help your company reduce fleet emissions
    • Get the latest product information
    • Learn what manufacturers have planned for the future of fuel technology
    • Network with fleet managers from all over the country

    Prices are pretty reasonable at $495 per person if you sign up before September 25th.

    The convention is also open to exhibitors to help them reach buyers and suppliers.

    Last years convention drew an impressive list of government and corporate attendees, so this good cause could also be a pretty good career move to.

    October will be here before you know it, so register today.

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