Re: Screw Consumer Reports

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That is true for the vehicles rental cars lease because they do not own them, but not the one they buy and own. We serviced rentals owned by GMAC
or Ford Credit for rental companies. The rental car companies did not buy into our service for the ones owned, primary they were fluid topped only in their garages.. Enterprise is the only rental car company that keep all of the car they own in service for three or four years and services them well The only time we saw the ones owned by National Alamo Budget etall was for warranty work or recalls ;)
mike hunt

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What difference does it make who buys their vehicles? I owned a fleet service business up until a few years ago. We serviced thousands vehicle for large and small corporate fleets as well as government fleets, is six eastern states. EVERY manufacture offers specially equipped vehicles to corporate fleets at a discount, of around the same amount $400 to $600 if you buy five or more, and they all try to get more of the corporate fleet business. Few corporate fleets buy very many imports because contrary to what many believe, import can not compete with domestics in the total cost of ownership over the five years, or 300K, fleets generally keep their vehicles because of federal depreciation tax laws. Fleet vehicles get the finest of preventive maintance and are generally used harder than privately owned vehicles. Fleets look at the total cost of acquiring, insuring, maintaining, repairing (they ALL need to be repaired at some point) and replacing the vehicles which are just one more tool used in their business that must be replaced at some point. Ford motor company vehicles are generally the best in that regard, that is why the biggest majority of corporate fleet vehicles are Fords. GM is second. LOOK at the corporate light trucks you see daily, Ford trucks dominate. The only state I know of that buys import brands is Tennessee, they use Nissan trucks that are assembled there. The biggest problem with most imports is acquisition costs, that average 25% higher for the same type of vehicle, and down time because of parts availability. As well as the much higher price of the parts themselves.
On the bottom end of fleet car business, imports have a majority of business, however Primary Korean cars that are used as courier cars, others are Corollas, Civics, Neon's, VWs, Focus etc. Courier cars are run round the clock and rarely turned off except for maintenance. They easily accumulate 100K a year or more and are dumped sooner.
mike hunt
.

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yeah, yeah. We've heard it a bunch that you've owned a fleet business.
It *matters* who's buying the vehicles because, as is frequently reported, the fleet or rental business leaves little or NO profit in the cars the manufacturer is selling. Fleet sales can keep a factory busy or artifically boost a vehicles sales numbers, but they do little for the profitability of the company.
JP
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Actually I owed a business that SERVICED fleet vehicles. I guess you missed the part of the post that listed the average fleet discount offered to dealers, to sell to fleets, is only between $400 and $600 among all brands
Perhaps you might want to do a bit of research before you choose to comment on a subject of which you obviously have little or no knowledge. Manufactures can not sell directly to corporations or anybody else, that is a violation of franchise laws. Manufactures can only sell to their franchise dealers. The dealers sell the cars to fleets, generally based on bids. The guys that settler for the lower profits to get the fleet business are the dealers. ;)
mike hunt

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didn't much care. Owned a fleet biz. or owned a biz that services, you're still presenting yourself as a fleet expert. Semantics at this point relative to the discussion.

not at all, I just don't believe it. Besides, regardless of the narrow definition you'll choose to use, 'fleet' includes the rental agencies, and that is specifically what I was referring to. I'd be curious to know the relative sales through "fleet" as you define it and rental agencies... ie-what percentage of "fleet" sales in total is to rental agencies. Those are the sales that keep people working with no profit margin for the manufacturer.

Perhaps you should be less beligerent and a jerk. You're here defending american auto manufacturers and their sagging market share against all logic, reason, and fact presented to you. You won't even acknowledge the other viewpoints, and you weaken your own points along the way.
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Actually I'm not defending anyone but I am as expert as anybody in the business. I've worked in vehicle design for three manufactures, in top management of retail group for ten years and in fleet service for ten since I graduated from college in 1949.
You are free to believe whatever you wish. I am merely point out the facts available to anybody willing to do the search. GM still is the number one selling manufacture in the US, period. In the fast growing market in the US GM, Ford and Chrysler still sell more than ALL of the twenty or so import manufactures that offer vehicle for sale in the US, combined. Those are facts not opinion. Who chooses to buy their vehicles is immaterial. Rental fleets are simply not the same as corporate fleets in how they use and service the vehicles they own or lease and that too is a fact, whether you happen to agree or not. Call any dealership of you choose and ask for the fleet Sales Manger, or the person that sell to fleets for the dealership. Ask him what is the amount of the fleet discount, pretty simple stuff. Manufactures can not sell to anybody but dealerships and that is a fact as well Seems you are the one being a jerk because you do not like that what you believe is being challenged.
mike hunt

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Hi Mike,
My father in law is the fleet sales manager for one of the Ford dealerships here and you are right in every respect. The fleets simply do not get pricing that is lower than what the dealership pays the factory for, that is nonsense. Dealerships simply do not sell cars for less than what they paid, period. And the factory does not gave a damn about selling directly to the fleets at some special price. The factories know that the fleets are going to buy a lot of cars from them no matter what dealership the fleets use, and they don't sell at below their cost, either, or at least try not to. Since the factories price varies by volume that is how you get GM loosing billions, because they screwed up their forecasts of how many cars they were going to sell - so they sell fewer cars and their price to make the smaller volume is not as low as they thought. This is the only area that fleet sales are helpful to the manufacturer, because it increases volume which generally means lower prices to build that model, and if that model has a lot of rebadged versions, it can help. But, fleets are fickle too and the auto manufacturer has no way of knowing in advance what is going to be the popular fleet models for that year, save for a few specialized ones (like the crown vics which the cops use)
Fleet sales are desirable from a dealership perspective because it boosts the delaership sales volume and the vehicle manufacturers all have incentive programs that give bigger discounts to dealerships that sell more. In all truth of it, the entire thing is rediculous, because what it ends up doing is making it more cost effective for super-dealerships and corporations that own chains of dealerships to come into existence. You really do not want to buy a car from a corporate dealership if you can help it, since the people your buying it for don't really give a damn if you have a good experience or not. By contrast with the small dealerships the owner of the dealership is usually working right in the dealership every day and if a customer wants to see him, half the time he's walking around the sales floor.
Ted
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That is not quite correct, ALL dealers buy from the manufacture at the same prices regardless of volume. Anything different is a violation of franchise law. ANY discount or incentive offer applies to all dealerships. Bigger dealerships would like buyers to THING they buy for less, but they do not. They do not get lower prices or greater incentive, than smaller dealerships, because of their volume. There are indeed incentives based on sales figure that smaller dealerships may not be able to meet, but the smaller dealership get a larger incentive on a fewer number of vehicles if he chooses. If a manufacture offers a special discount to a dealership to attain a large order of like vehicles to a particular fleet, every dealership become entitled to sell, or 'piggyback' that same price to any other fleet buyer. In any event nobody, not the manufacture and not the dealership, is selling at a loss. They are simply accepting a lower profit on more vehicles. contrary to what many believe imports try all the time to get fleet sales as well. They are just not as successful doing so, for a number of reasons.
mike hunt
mike hunt

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Wrong...read my previous post. Selling Fleet is the best form of advertising especially in the hands of rental fleets. It is and has always been one of the best ways to get a buyer interested in your product. You rent him one and if you have a good product chances are he will like it and consider one as his next purchase.
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smitty wrote:

True. My folks ended up renting Chrysler 5th Avenue on vacation in Canada many years ago. When it was time to buy a new car that is what they bought. But it only works if the car is good the the rental company maintained the car well. I myself have been turned off many cars because of rental car experience. Some was the manufacturers fault (Dodge Lancer-horrible seats) and Chevy Chevette (no explanation required.
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And, conversely, if he rents something and discovers it's a POS, he'll know to look elsewhere to replace his current car.
Which is exactly what happened to a buddy of mine recently when he rented an Equinox.
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All manufacturers want to sell fleet because it is the best form of advertising. Several years ago I rented a Grand Am GT for about a week, and enjoyed the car quite a bit, if I had been looking for a new car that would have been one to consider since I had just driven one for a week and liked it.

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Why does everyone think 'rental cars' when the discussion turns to fleets? Rental company take only a relative small percentage of the vehicle sold or leased to fleets. The biggest majority of fleet vehicle in the US are cooperate fleets that use truck, light trucks and SUVS Cars account for only about 1/3 of the fleet vehicles sold annually in the US.
itt.com> wrote in message

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wrote:

Well, it doesn't help Toyota break into the domestic dominated fleet biz when they (according to : http://fleet.toyota.com/html/whatsnew.asp). (Quoting from the article)
"MY06 PRIUS FLEET AVAILABILITY Due to Toyotas exceptionally low retail dealer days supply position and an anticipated increase in future retail Prius demand stimulated by the recent passage of the Federal Highway Bill (retail tax credits & HOV lane eligibility), Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. is not in a position to accept MY06 Prius fleet production orders specific to government & rental fleets. This regrettable but necessary action is being taken as a result of the companys need to address the extreme shortage of Prius availability at the dealer retail level. Toyota Dealers are advised to suspend all MY06 Prius fleet sales solicitation and cancel all existing order agreements until further notice. Toyota Motor Sales, USA Inc. will restore Prius fleet availability to government & rental fleets once production volumes are sufficient to meet both retail and fleet order demand.
With respect to all Commercial fleet sales, availability will remain very limited with longer than normal order-to-delivery timing (possibly in excess of 6 months). Commercial fleet orders will most likely need to be spread out over several order/delivery months as we manage customer demand against our established monthly production guides. It is advisable to consult with your respective TMS Fleet Field Manager and/or PD Fleet Manager specific to our ability to support a Commercial customer on Prius. (end quoted portion).
So, when the fleet owner sends out his RFB (requests for bids) no wonder Toyota doesn't even send a thank-you note back.
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But, consider also that the Prius is full of special parts that are not widely used in all other Toyota models, and consider that the Prius has as much value as a lure to get customers into the dealerships, as an actual sale. People who are curious about hybrids in general will go to the Toyota dealership to look at the car, then Toyota is hoping to interest them in their other vehicles.
Toyota only needs to make enough Priuses to make the model profitable and no more than that. If they make too many of them then too many people have a Prius and the mysique of owning one is gone, and people lose interest. If they make too many of them then they cannibalize their other model sales. Look at what happened to the VW 'new beetle" VW ramped up production of bugs too fast and when too many of them got out there people decided they were just a gimmick and lost interest.
Ted
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Go read the interview with the guy who runs Toyota USA in the April Motor Trend and you will see why it is not at all hard to believe...and true. They really are VERY different from the domestics.
By the way, the Honda Passport is on the CR "shit list". Come to think of it, wasn't that an Isuzu, anyway?

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GRL wrote:

Yes, it was a rebadged Isuzu since Honda at the time had no SUVs
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Let's see. Page 80 of the April, 2006 issue. Recommended used cars include:
Chevy Prism, Ford Escort, Ranger and Mustang, Mercury Tracer, Saturn SL, Buick Regal, Ford Crown Vic and F-150, Mercury Grand Marquis, Buick Century and Regal, Lincoln Continental and Town Car, Chevy Silverado, PT Cruiser, GMC Sierra, Chevy Impala, Chevy Monte Carlo, Pontiac Vibe, Pontiac Grand Prix, Saturn Ion...
OK, I'm getting tired of writing names. Point is, you have no clue what you are talking about.
The avoid list has no Toyotas, but it does have the Honda Passport. Also a whole bunch of Nissans and lots and lots of domestic and European models...including Mercs and Porsches.

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