Automobile Redesigns That Raise Concerns For Car Rental Companies
When it comes to fleet additions, these models have red flags
As automakers continue to come to terms with changes in the economy and consumer tastes, it’s been pretty common for car rental companies to save their manufacturing peers. Quarterly statements have shown that the big rent-a-car players have stepped in to boost the bottom lines of vehicle producers by purchasing the latest models to upgrade their fleets.
When it comes to buying a new car, the latest and greatest may not be the most dependable. That was most obvious back in April when financials issued by the likes of GM, Ford and the rest of the majors reported that sales to fleet owners including the car rental industry was the highest since 2016. At a time when sales to individuals and families are dropping, the fleet revenue stream has been a godsend.
Unfortunately, companies who purchase the latest models aren’t exactly getting vehicles that make the grade. According to Consumer Reports, the latest redesigns rolling out of factories might have all the amenities of a glitzy infotainment system and upgrades to safety and fuel efficiency, but a lot of them have more than just a few bugs lurking beneath those shiny bodies.
At the bottom of the reliability heap was General Motors’ Cadillac on a list it shared with the likes of Acura, Jeep, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Volkswagen, all of which had made certain upgrades in their 2019 models. Faring far better than in previous years were models by Chrysler, Dodge and Infiniti, companies that reported making only minimal designs to their vehicles.
However, Japanese companies like Lexus, Mazda and Toyota led the field when it came to overall reliability. According to car rental lists made available on Vroom Vroom Vroom, many of these models were also on the fleet list of major car rental companies like Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Enterprise, Hertz and National.
Consumer Report filed the report after an exhaustive survey among more than 400,000 vehicle-owning subscribers. One finding revealed that roughly 45 percent of new or redesigned vehicles rated less than average when it came to reliability.
The magazine traced the reduction in reliability to the speed at which upgrades are being made, which greatly increases the potential for errors to make their way into designs. This was especially evident in such as a widely-reported problem with the Ford F-150’s jerky transmission, at a time when automakers long accustomed to four-speed gearboxes have started creating transmissions boasting up to 10 speeds on higher- end models. As vehicles become even more sophisticated and fleet management becomes more and more taxing, the appropriate vehicle management software will be required to keep up. For fleet managers, they’ll have to ensure their vehicles are not only appealing to customers, but can be relied upon for the long haul.