How to Maximize the Profitability of Your Fleet Vehicles – Alex Fraser, Cox Automotive Mobility

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Organizations that rely on fleet vehicles are constantly looking for ways to control costs, reduce risks, and maximize the profitability of the vehicles in their possession. From detailing, to fueling, to maintenance, and other logistics, our next guest is here to provide some fleet service solutions. Joining Jim today is Alex Fraser, general manager of Atlanta Market Fleet Services for Cox Automotive Mobility, to discuss the latest in fleet management.

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT: 

Jim Fitzpatrick: Welcome to the show, Alex.

Alex Fraser: Thanks for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. So, let’s kind of, for the people that are watching you right now, talk to us about what Pivet is. I know that that’s a brand that you guys have, and that’s something we’re gonna be talking about today. But, for the average person that’s out there, tell us a little bit more about Pivet.fleet

Alex Fraser: Yeah, Pivet is Cox Automotive’s newest brand, and we’re really excited about it. It is an all-encompassing fleet services brand to help light-duty fleets for their end-to-end fleet servicing needs.

So, that has, in some cases, a very physical need, which we obviously have through some of our auctions. But, there’s also a mobile component to that, where we can do a lot of fleet servicing at the vehicle.

So, Pivet encompasses all of that. So, if you have a fleet of cars, we can help you take care of them.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Very good. Very good. So, what would the average application be? Like, some of these Uber fleets and Lyfts, and-

Alex Fraser: So, those are absolutely some of our customers we’re talking to, is rideshare and car share companies, as well as more traditional fleets as well.  And, the applications are everything you might think of. It’s oil changes, it’s tires, it’s cleaning.

But, what’s interesting in today’s world, is how much more of that we’re able to do at the car, which is really an add for the fleet owner and fleet manager because it gives more up-time.

And so, that’s what we’re really excited about with launching Pivet, is that it doesn’t always mean coming to the shop anymore. Sometimes, the shop comes to you.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, that’s really cool. So, it keeps that individual that’s on the payroll, and maybe you’re running around town doing the company’s business. It maybe just takes them out for an hour or so, to take care of some of these things, right?

Alex Fraser: Yeah, and we’re even … have had early conversations with customers that, perhaps while their car is at their customer’s place of business or whatever, we could also meet there and do the fleet servicing, so that-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Very cool. So, if I’m an air conditioning company, and I’m on the roof of somebody’s house, fixing their air conditioner, you guys are down in the driveway fixing the car.

Alex Fraser: Theoretically, yeah. And, with the idea that when that vehicle has downtime, that fleet owner is generating no revenue from that vehicle. And so, we wanna help them keep that vehicle up all the time.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Plus, I would imagine, it’s just one less thing that a business owner that’s got a fleet or managing fleet’s gotta worry about, right? It’s just-

Alex Fraser: That’s exactly it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: … set it and forget it with Pivet, and let you guys do your thing.

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Alex Fraser: That’s exactly what we’re going for. You know, through Manheim, we recondition millions of cars a year, and so this is a skill set that we already have, and in a lot of our markets we’re already doing it on a one-off basis, so this is really just kind of putting a brander on a lot of work that we’re already doing, and we’re really excited about it.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, you guys do it with your eyes closed, right? Hopefully not, but-

Alex Fraser: Yeah. Not usually.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. What kind of services will be offered at Manheim Metro Atlanta, and other physical hub locations?

Alex Fraser: Yeah, so we’ve taken Manheim Metro Atlanta, and we’ve done something we’ve never done with one of our auctions before, and that’s take the auction blocks out. Which is kind of a unique application, just because this is really our first Pivet hub location.

We really see this as an “and” for a lot of our auctions, not an “or.” So, Metro Atlanta is really an exception in that case. But, we have the full suite of fleet services down there, so a fully functioning body shop, mechanic shop.

In addition to that, we have some really cool partnerships that we’re doing testing down there, around electronic or EV batteries, battery testing, battery life cycle stuff. We’re also doing a lot of stuff with advanced driver assistance systems. So, some calibration opportunities down there. And, we’re also even piloting some LiDAR technologies down there, which is what powers all the autonomous vehicles. So, it’s really neat-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah. You guys are getting ready for the future, right?

Alex Fraser: Ultimately, yeah. That is a big part of what this is about, is helping ease our customers’ worries, as they move into the future. Who’s gonna be there to walk with them, and since we have that trusted relationship with so many of the dealers and the commercial providers of vehicles, whether that’s OEMs, or banks, or lenders, or fleets, that we’ll be there to continue to serve them in the future.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure, sure. And, just the Cox Automotive Brand, you know, there’s just a sense of security when doing business with Cox, right?

Alex Fraser: We hope so. And, we’ve been around for a little while.

Jim Fitzpatrick: That’s for sure.

Alex Fraser: And, we’re really proud of the partnerships we’ve built.

Jim Fitzpatrick: What have … How did you decide on Atlanta versus another mobility-centric market?

Alex Fraser: That’s a great question. So, just in Atlanta, you may be surprised to know, there’s about 15 or 20,000 rideshare drivers, just in Atlanta.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Are you serious?

Alex Fraser: Yeah.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Wow.

Alex: … We consider those 15 or 20,000 one-car fleets, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right. Yeah, yeah.

Alex Fraser: ‘Cause, those guys are-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Never thought of it that way, but you’re right.

Alex Fraser: … using that as a commercial vehicle in a lot of applications, and so there is a big mobility market here in Atlanta, and the nice thing about Manheim Metro Atlanta, is it is literally, almost to the foot, halfway between downtown Atlanta and the airport. And so, that’s where there’s obviously a tremendous amount of rideshare activity, is in those two centers.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Oh yeah, yeah. Makes sense.

Alex Fraser: So, we’re there near where our one-car fleet customers may need us, and it’s also a great location for other fleet owners because it’s right on the interstate, it’s easy to get to. So, yeah, that’s kinda why we started there.

fleetJim Fitzpatrick: So, can you tell me a little bit more about RideKleen?

Alex Fraser: Yeah, we’re really excited about RideKleen. So, as we talk about the mobile service application, that will all be done through the RideKleen brand, which is part of the Pivet family of companies.

And so, RideKleen is a mobile servicing company. They’re already operational in, I think, at least 10 markets, maybe more announced soon. So, Philly, New York, D.C., Boston, Chicago, San Francisco. They’re all over. And so, they are a company that goes to the car. So, in all of their markets, they do not have an office, per se, where cars come to them. They do the cleaning, they do the servicing, at the vehicle.

So, a lot of these shared fleets, car sharing, subscription providers, they, again, they want that vehicle uptime maximized. Some of these shared cars can be rented up to 20, 25 times a day.

Which, is obviously very different from a traditional rental car, but these are very brief rentals, right?

Jim Fitzpatrick: Right, right.

Alex Fraser: So, that uptime is critical.

So, RideKleen’s a company that can do that, not just at the vehicle, but non-traditional hours as well.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Okay, so where do you see the company … Where do you see Pivet five years from now? How big is it? Is it in every market? I mean, is this … Are we gonna conquer the world, or what’s the goal?

Alex Fraser: Well, that’s the idea. You know, we generally don’t do small things. But, we’re thankful. We have a footprint that kind of gives us easy access into a lot of markets. And so, I think for us, it’s really about following our customer and where our customer needs us to be.

So, we’re here in Atlanta. We’re building this fleet muscle. We’re gonna start to learn and grow. And then, as our customer says, “I need you here,” or, “I need you there,” and what they may need over here is different from over there … And, that’s the nice thing about Pivet is, you come to Pivet, and you just say, “I need help,” and we figure out, you know, you need a little of A, a little of B, oh, no D here, but E over there. That’s what Pivet’s gonna be, is whatever you need off of that hub is what we’ll provide, but we’ll follow our customers where they need to be, and thankfully we have a nice, established footprint through other Cox Automobile entities that give us access to a lot of markets.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Sure. Very flexible, it sounds like.

Alex Fraser: That’s the point, is-

Jim Fitzpatrick: Hence the name Pivet?

Alex Fraser: Yeah, so you know, Pivet does have a couple dual meanings, but the way we look at it is really that center point, right? That Pivet point where everything comes off of that. And so, we see it as a place where our fleet customers will come, and we’ll figure out everything else out of there.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, pretty cool. Alex Fraser, I want to thank you so much for joining us on CBT News. We appreciate it. Hopefully, we can have you back and see how the roll out’s going.

Alex Fraser: I’d love to come back. Or, if you guys wanna take this on the road, we’d love to have you down at Manheim Metro Atlanta.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Yeah, we love field trips here at CBT News, so that’s great. We’re gonna take you up on that.

Alex Fraser: Thank you so much for having me.

Jim Fitzpatrick: Thank you. Appreciate it.

CBT Automotive Network. The number one most watched network in retail automotive. CBT is a part of the JBF Business Media family.

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