By Generation Next Governor at Large Cody Bunyard
Published in the September 2015 issue of Generation Next
Annually, vehicle manufacturers update
their products for the upcoming model year – and timing depends on the
manufacturer. Oftentimes they’ll add new options or update existing packages,
which may inadvertently change a fleet’s preferred specifications. Therefore,
it’s important for fleet users, purchasers and modifiers to stay up-to-date on
model year changes. These updates can also lead to significant benefits for the
purchaser and simplify the work load for a vehicle upfitter.
Keep an eye on the following types of changes:
New vehicle safety
items. Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must adhere
to evolving government safety regulations for motor vehicles. A good example is
the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) mandate that all
light duty vehicles come equipped with back-up cameras by May 2018. Every year,
an increasing number of new vehicles have back-up cameras, conforming to the
regulation early. New options to order factory-installed back-up cameras reduces
the need for fleets to install them on an aftermarket basis.
New drive train
options. Every OEM is moving toward more fuel efficient
vehicles due to the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFÉ) regulations, resulting
in lower operating costs for today’s vehicles. Operating cost expectations may
change a fleet’s replacement criteria. Many factors contribute to total cost of
ownership, including vehicle type, purchase price and miles driven per year.
Replacement timing differs for each fleet but should be evaluated on a regular
basis to optimize the total cost of vehicle ownership.
options. It’s important to know what packages are available.
For example, a fleet may need black rims instead of standard steel rims, or
additional keys. These options may be available with the model year change –
work with your OEM and stay current on special order options.
Also, consider lack of data. New drive trains, bodies and other
components go through rigorous testing before they’re available in a vehicle,
but there’s no real life performance history. The longevity, repair or
replacement cost of new components is always a question until historical data is
available, which should always be considered during vehicle
It’s important to stay on top of yearly changeovers. Work with your OEM
representatives and research the models you typically purchase, as well as
competing models. Ensure you purchase the best vehicles for your fleet and
optimize their life cycle spans by staying current on specifications and
updates. It’s also important to understand the vehicle’s evolution and future
One resource for obtaining this information – directly from the OEMs –
is the Truck Product Conference hosted by NTEA each fall. The 2015 Conference
was held Sept. 15-17 in Dearborn, Michigan. Visit NTEA.com for onsite coverage, our
Twitter feed for snippets gleaned from
each presentation, or our photo album.
Learn about Generation Next.