US Vice President of Fleet and Commercial Sales, General Motors
Ed, tell us what is the company’s focus right now.
Our focus at GM is really on all of the new products that we have coming to the marketplace. By the end of 2013,70 percent of our products will be either new or refreshed. For us that is so exciting. Launching these products is so important to our overall business and that is a huge focus for us right now.
Fleets are working hard to meet necessary emissions and fuel economy mandates for 2015 and out into 2025. And they’re exploring how they’re going to get their fleets to hit those marks. We recognize their need to meet these standards and we are working on products and technology that can help them meet the necessary milestones.
We believe in energy diversity. There is not one silver bullet when it comes to fuel solutions for fleets. For example, seven of the eleven million vehicles that are running in North America on flex-fuel are General Motors products. We have 21 vehicles in our lineup that have E85 capabilities. We see that as a really great solution to reduce our dependence on foreign oil and improve fuel economy. In addition to that, we see CNG getting bigger all the time. The price versus gasoline is very favorable right now. When fleets are looking at total costs of ownership, fuel costs are so important to them.
Three years ago, about 16 percent of our vehicles on the road got 30 miles per gallon or better, and today that number is 40 percent. We are making great strides, and I think we probably have the most diverse choice of fuel-saving technologies of any OEM out there and we like that position.
Let’s talk about the services that GM provides fleets after the sale.
We think it is critically important to take care of our customers. There are three pillars that we focus on at GM Fleet and Commercial. One is to provide great products. Two is to provide very innovative business solutions for the companies that work with us. Three is to provide the best ownership experience that a customer can have in the business. We have a Fleet Action Center that is not just a call center; they provide counsel and advice and answer questions for all of our customers. The Fleet Action Center has a 98- percent customer satisfaction rate. When you look at our order-to-delivery -time, as measured by Bobit, we have achieved the best on-time delivery of any OEM for four consecutive years, and we think it is probably going to be five. Time is money and getting those vehicles to the fleets and companies on time is very important. I think we have the most extensive group of service personnel out in the field meeting directly with customers to help them with all of their needs. We’reable to provide the best experience for companies in the marketplace today.
How do your residual values compare with your competitors?
If you look at Vincentric’s study for total cost of ownership, our large vans, the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savanna, have been awarded the best total cost of ownership in the marketplace, including the best residuals for large vans. We have had the best residuals ongoing for our pickup trucks, light duty market as well. And it continues with the new products that we are launching. On our new 2014 Impala, the residuals are the highest that we have seen on any passenger car that we have ever offered. Residuals are a big part of that total cost of ownership and we are proud of the residual performance, and the improvements that we have made the last several years. The great news is we are going to get even better going forward.
Let’s talk more about the Impala, and the 2014 fleet lineup.
The 2014 Impala, what a phenomenal vehicle! It is big, beautiful, and it is also very fuel efficient. There are three engine choices with the Impala this year including an eAssist engine model, which achieves 35 miles per gallon on the highway. With the trunk size that it has and the capacity, this is going to be an unbelievable fleet vehicle. In addition,new for 2014 is the Chevrolet Cruze with clean diesel technology. It gets an EPA-estimated 46 miles per gallon on the highway, which for non-hybrid models, is the most significant fuel economy of any vehicle in the marketplace today.
We also introduced the all-new 2014 Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. These trucks have outstanding fuel efficiency. The V8 5.3 liter engine in the Silverado and Sierra will have better fuel economy than the V6 EcoBoost engine that is in the Ford F150. To have all of that payload, power, torque, capacity and better fuel economy with a V8 versus the Ford V6 is a huge competitive advantage. We think fleet buyers and retail buyers both are going to absolutely love these new pickups; they are just outstanding. As you can see we are excited about the new Silverado and Sierra.
One last thing….
Residuals continue to be extremely important to them because it is all about total cost of ownership. We have to be able to provide that exceptional value with every vehicle that we sell to fleets. That is what our goal is. I think it all continues to center around cost of ownership, but there also is an intangible which is the customer service that we can provide. We have many companies tell us that our team does a magnificent job of getting the vehicles to them on time. If they have any issues, we jump on it right away and they get them serviced. If they have questions and call our team or call our fleet action center, we are very responsive. Those are the kinds of comments that we want to hear because they build the loyalty that is going to continue to take our business upwards and forwards going in the future.
Ed Peper is the US Vice President of Fleet and Commercial Sales for General Motors. Previously, he was General Manager, Fleet and Commercial Operations, has served as General Sales Manager for Cadillac, and has held several leadership positions at GM throughout his career.