Internet offers fleet managers new options
Fleet managers do not have an easy life. Overseeing the maintenance and upkeep of hundreds of cars and other vehicles on a day-to-day basis is a huge task. In addition, it takes an enormous amount of time to identify the vehicles that should be added to a fleet, determine the configuration of each vehicle and the costs associated with maintaining them over time, and find where to get it at the lowest price.
Now, however, the Internet is allowing more and more consumers (and fleet managers) quick access to vehicle data and shopping services to efficiently handle vehicle transactions. A number of auto-buying sites are available on the Net, but a fleet manager should carefully evaluate those services to ensure they are in line with business practices and goals.
For instance, many popular car-buying sites, like Autobytel and CarPoint are simply lead farmers that pass a fleet manager’s vehicle request and contact information on to a handful of dealers or, in some cases, a single dealer. But fleet managers need a system that limits the amount of contact necessary between themselves and dealers, while providing a means to get best price quotes from a number of dealers. They also need a system that is capable of business-to-business functions, such as reporting capabilities to provide an audit trail and completely accurate vehicle and pricing information to eliminate “data-disconnects” between fleet managers and dealers.
A new web site, Chrome.com, is useful to fleet managers because it allows them to fulfill volume orders or single vehicle requests on any vehicle make and model sold in the United States. A product of Chrome Data, Oregon City, Ore., the web site provides accurate data and vehicle configuration technology.
The site leverages the networked aspect of the Internet to allow fleet managers to request price quotes on vehicles from as many dealers as desired, track dealer responses, and close deals – all without leaving the office or, in many cases, without picking up a phone or sending a fax. The solution can be framed into a government web site to provide capabilities to offices statewide with a single web interface.
The popularity of the Internet as a car dealer owes much to the fact that it saves time and money. It allows fleet managers to gain process efficiencies that improve their bottom lines using a near plug-and-play web application and a connection to the largest automotive e-commerce market.