Ford and Argo AI continue development of an autonomous ride-hailing business. Developments of...

Ford and Argo AI continue development of an autonomous ride-hailing business. Developments of autonomous vehicles will be limited to small tests in local markets for the foreseeable future.

Photo courtesy of Ford.

Change is coming fast and furious to the fleet market. Staying on top of all the new trends and technology is a full time job for most fleet managers.

So with that in mind, we thought it might be helpful to come up with a list of things that are not going to change this year. You have plenty to worry about this year but you can put these things on the back burner for now.

  1. Fuel prices. They aren’t going up any time soon. We have plenty of oil. OPEC is a mess and no longer has the power to control global supply. So we can quietly sit back and enjoy the guilty pleasure of low fuel prices for at least another year or two.
  2. Autonomous vehicles. They are coming someday, but not someday soon. We can’t even get a regulatory framework in place for federal legislation on testing. Without serious national leadership in this area, developments will be limited to small tests in local markets for the foreseeable future.    
  3. Electric work trucks. The OEMs are jumping with both feet into electrification despite the fact that there doesn’t seem to be any demand for it. The economics of developing a useful work truck or van with enough battery capacity to be functional are not there. And they won’t be for a while. We’ll see some nice test vehicles and there may be small opportunities for fleets that can take advantage of federal, state, local, and commercial incentives. But we are long way from going mainstream.
  4. Safety will continue to be front and center with your management. Risk management will be even more important as everyone tries to find new efficiencies in fleet. Finding the right training and technology for your drivers is going to be even more important in 2019.
  5. Telematics isn’t going away. If you are part of the ever shrinking minority of fleets that don’t believe in the ROI associated with a telematics program, you will have an ever growing target on your back in 2019.   
  6. Trucks, CUVs, and vans will continue to increase in popularity and cars will continue to decline. See prediction No. 1 above for the reason. Until fuel prices rise, consumers will continue to opt for size over economy.   
  7. The amount of data related to your fleet operation will continue to increase. That firehose isn’t getting any smaller. Succeeding in fleet is going to depend on your ability to find the important data points while being able to filter out the noise that might just be a distraction.
  8. Distracted driving will be still a threat for your drivers. If you haven’t made it a priority yet, it’s time to make sure your drivers understand that in-cab distractions are a very real threat. Recent data suggests that it’s worse than drunk driving. It’s no joke and legislators across the country are taking note.  
  9. Large urban markets will still be unfriendly to increasing vehicle populations. See Europe for what we are facing in the near term. Congestion, greenhouse gas emissions, and safety concerns are all driving the public sentiment toward more mobility solutions and away from traditional transportation solutions. We can only hope that the lawmakers and the public realize there is a difference between commercial and privately-owned vehicles.
  10. Your bosses will tell you to cut your fleet budget again this year. All indications are that the economy is in solid shape but that doesn’t mean senior management isn’t still looking for more efficiencies, reasonable or not. Everyone sees a recession around the corner and they want to be ready for it.

Related: Things Change

Originally posted on Automotive Fleet

About the author
Sherb Brown

Sherb Brown


Sherb Brown is the former president of Bobit Business Media. Sherb has covered the auto industry for more than 20 years in various positions with the world's largest fleet publisher.

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