ARI’s Chris Foster Highlights Emerging Operating Cost Trends

For many organizations, fleet is often among the largest budget line items, making it subject to virtually endless scrutiny. And with a myriad of factors influencing operating costs, even the slightest increase in one area can quickly create a ripple effect that is felt throughout your entire business.

Each year, Automotive Fleet offers an in-depth analysis of operating costs across the industry and for the first time in five years, the annual survey indicates overall fleet operating costs have increased during 2018. Among the more obvious cost drivers is the gradual increase to fuel prices throughout the year but as you look deeper, higher maintenance expenses are also impacting operating costs.

Among the contributors to this year’s survey is ARI’s Chris Foster who offered his perspective on three key areas that are influencing operating costs – fleet maintenance, tire prices, and warranty recovery. In regards to warranty recovery, Foster says there’s a noticeable trend of OEM’s becoming more stringent with warranty claims and explains why adhering to a preventative maintenance schedule is vital.

“Specifically, the OEMs are looking for additional documentation to support warranty claims in an effort to ensure the units were properly maintained prior to failure,” says Foster. “This really underscores the importance of PM compliance. Adhering to consistent preventative maintenance schedules to minimize PM variability is something the OEMs are stressing across the board. During the warranty claims process, PM variability is closely scrutinized.”

Foster also highlights some emerging trends that may impact fleet operations as the year comes to a close. He notes that the cost of tires is an area ARI is monitoring closely as we look towards 2019 and Foster also discusses why Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) are pushing repair costs higher.

Be sure to visit Automotive Fleet to read the annual operating cost survey and download our free whitepaper to learn more about effectively managing variable costs.