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Fleet Advantage Releases Results of Latest Industry Benchmark Survey

February 09, 2023, 07:15 AM
Filed Under: Trucking

Fleet Advantage announced the results of its latest industry benchmarking survey where the company took the pulse of industry leaders on topics ranging from the use of alternate-fuel trucks; equipment finance trends; and strategies for environment, social and governance (ESG).  

More Interest in Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs)

Among the many important topics discussed, the majority of respondents (40 percent) said they plan to deploy alternate fuel trucks within the next 1-2 years. This is a stark comparison to just a year ago when the majority (54 percent) said they plan to deploy alternate-fuel trucks within 5-10 years. Sixty-five percent of respondents this year said they are looking to deploy battery electric trucks, compared to the previous benchmark survey in 2021 when only 3 percent of executives said they were procuring electric trucks. Fleet Advantage recently announced plans to place orders for 200 – EV Class 8 tractors for deliveries commencing in calendar year 2023. The company is committed to assisting its customers’ transition to alternative energies toward a zero-emissions goal using off balance sheet lease financing with little or no residual risk.  

Nearly Half of Respondents Are Now Leasing Their Trucks

The survey also addressed trends in equipment financing, with nearly half of respondents (42 percent) saying they are leasing their trucks, compared with 58 percent in a cash or finance situation. This is a significant jump in leasing compared with last year, when 31 percent said they were in a lease structure and up from just 14 percent two years ago. However, flexibility is a growing trend as 33 percent said they are locked into their current financing situation and have little negotiating room. This underscores the importance of data analytics such as a lease vs. purchase or unbundled vs. full-service lease comparisons in the planning and procurement of truck acquisition, where unbundled lease structures offer companies the highest level of flexibility, especially when market conditions, fuel and interest rates experience volatility.

As a way to more closely understand financial flexibility, organizations need to monitor additional key financial metrics to analyze their Total Cost of Ownership including: 

  • Sales Tax analysis
  • Comparative Cost Analysis to determine the optimal time to upgrade equipment, etc.
  • Per unit P&L
  • OEM Equipment Cost Tracking
  • SWAP Rates
  • Residual Values
  • Predictive Life Cycle Modeling   

Maintenance and repair (M&R) trends continue to be top-of-mind for fleet executives in this year’s survey. Seventy-four percent of respondents said they are conducting maintenance in-house, an increase from 63 percent from a year earlier.  
Greater Focus on ESG Results in Shorter Truck Life Cycles

The majority of respondents (59 percent) also indicated they are operating their trucks five years or less before replacement, which coincides with today’s greater corporate focus on ESG. This number is up from 45 percent in the previous benchmarking survey. This trend is a testament to today’s corporate focus on protecting the environment, with roughly 60 percent of fleets shortening their truck life cycle even during the current difficult economic and truck procurement climate.   

“The current economic climate continues to present many challenges for fleets all over the country, which is why flexibility is a necessary business and financial strategy to meet corporate and ESG goals in the years ahead,” said Hadley Benton, Executive Vice President of Business Development for Fleet Advantage. “Our latest benchmarking study illustrates not only the staunch need for this flexibility, but it also reiterates how companies are changing their philosophies, and now have a growing desire to work with asset management partners who offer the right programs that benefit all aspects of their organization to meet short- and long-term goals.”  

Fleet Advantage fleet services experts will be discussing the latest transportation trends and providing complimentary fleet DC audits at the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology, Feb. 27-March 2, in Orlando, FL.

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