Maintenance and repair (M&R) is the top factor motivating fleet executives to acquire new trucks, say 40 percent of respondents to a recent Fleet Advantage survey of more than 1,000 fleet executives.
M&R costs have moved front and center in recent years, with more fleet personnel working with their finance departments, the survey finds.
Costs, however, are not the only concern fleets have regarding maintenance; 26.7 percent of respondents also say a safe, well-maintained truck is most beneficial to driver recruitment and retention—critical because the driver shortage remains a difficult issue for many transportation companies. Only compensation ranks higher (50 percent) as most beneficial in driver retention.
Fuel economy ranks second (36.7 percent) as a top motivator for truck replacement. This is especially important since 86 percent of fleet executive respondents say they’ve experienced a consistent increase in fuel economy in model years 2013 through 2018. The fact that the recent price of diesel has increased above what industry forecasts projected further underscores this perspective.
The survey also asked a handful of questions about electric and hydrogen fuel-cell trucks (see chart). The results:
- Only 4 percent of respondents say they are currently procuring these types of trucks
- 53 percent say they either do not see the value nor will they consider the technology for at least another 10 years.
- Nearly one-quarter of respondents (21 percent) also say they believe electric or hydrogen fuel-cell trucks will never be widely used for over-the-road operations.