It’s that time of year again, the auto shows are kicking off around the country and new products with new technology and features are being launched in the media. With all this attention on 2018 models you may feel pressured to start your MY2018 planning. But wait a minute, you still have 2017 orders to place and Order Cut-off dates are fast approaching. Where should your focus be? The short answer is “both.”
Model year 2017 Spring orders
If you have a volume of orders left to place, its good practice to keep the manufacturers informed. This way they can anticipate the orders and help secure fleet allocation. We can leverage our relationships with the manufacturers to secure allocation for your orders or provide solutions when you run into complications.
Manufacturers consistently tell us it’s important that you place Spring orders as early as possible to avoid early order cut-offs.
- With new car sales (SAAR) expected to remain flat or potentially increase for 2017 automotive plants continue to run at near capacity to keep up with demand for new cars, trucks and SUVs. As a result, order cut-off dates for MY17 vehicles may come earlier and with little notice.
- A new administration with strong views on American Manufacturing is putting pressure on the manufacturers to shuffle their production plans. These changes may force early cut-offs or limited availability of certain options, engines or trims.
- Lengthy downtimes have been announced this spring and summer to allow for re-tooling of equipment for new products or updates.
Model year 2018 planning
It’s not too early to start planning for model year 2018 and your fall selector to evaluate where changes are needed. Here are some things to consider to determine if your current vehicles truly fit the needs of the job.
- Autonomous Safety equipment – A growing list of features includes collision avoidance systems, lane departure warnings, cross traffic alerts and more. When evaluating whether to add safety features it’s important to understand how they operate and their effectiveness for your fleet. You also need to evaluate availability and consider the most cost-effective way to add them to your selector – via additional trim packages vs. moving up or choosing another model. And finally, return on investment – will new safety features be worth the cost? We can help you with these decisions as we have the expertise to understand how these technologies function and can forecast the effects on your fleet.
- Vehicle Selection – One prevalent trend with consumers is the shift from sedans into SUVs and Crossovers. Although fuel costs remain low, fuel continues to be one of your largest expenses. You may feel pressure from drivers to move into larger or less efficient vehicles, but this decision could affect costs. We can run an analysis to help you make the best decisions for your fleet selector.
- Delivery Timing – As you begin preparing your selector and replacement lists, be aware of the order-to-delivery timing of each model you offer. A good practice is to pick your ideal delivery timing in order to take advantage of the Spring resale. Back in the order-to-delivery timing and make sure to leave time for any upfitting. Add additional time to allow your drivers to complete their orders and pick them up from the dealer.
- Expenses – You should also be looking at your expenses and identifying opportunities to make positive changes through more efficient vehicle selection. Monthly fleet expenses are as low as they were over 10 years ago and at some point in the future expenses can only go up. Interest rates have increased and the cost of vehicles is expected to rise as new technology and features are added.
I am in regular contact with the manufacturers to stay informed of their new products, model revisions, process changes and production schedules. It’s my job to make sure our Account Teams stay well-informed and can assist you with effective planning and drive results. I’m confident that together we can make the best vehicle decisions for your and your fleet.
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