Automotive Fleet

OCT 2013

Magazine for the car and truck fleet and leasing industry

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Page 66 of 81

ber of government, U.S. Postal Service, and transit vehicles were damaged. For instance, the New Orleans Police Department alone lost several hundred vehicles. For those commercial feet vehicles that were damaged by Hurricane Katrina, many employees had to choose between saving their personal car or the company car. In these situations, the company vehicle was lef behind. In addition, there were an unknown number of feet vehicles at repair shops damaged by either the storm or food damage afer the levees broke in New Orleans. However, thousands of other company vehicles were saved because, for many employees, this was their sole transportation to evacuate the area. Also, some feets reported vehicles vandalized by looters in the chaos that followed. Dealers reported new vehicles stolen from their dealerships following the evacuation. Approximately 325,000 vehicles were destroyed or damaged, a staggering number for a single event, which had never before been seen in the history of auto- motive transportation. Although local, state, and federal governments have been criticized for being unprepared for Hurricane Katrina, this was not the case with most corporate feets. Most were well prepared. In fact, many national feets operating in the afected area reported no damaged vehicles. Te overwhelming majority of feet drivers lef the area before the storm made landfall. Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that the disaster recovery plans many feets had in place did indeed work. Almost universally, feet departments immediately initiated proactive eforts to determine the safety of drivers in the afected areas afer the storm subsided. Fleet management companies immediately set up 24/7 hotlines to assist in the disaster recovery, functioning as communications nerve centers for hundreds of companies. Tey expedited the new-vehicle delivery process and some even allowed their online ordering systems to be used by client employees to order replacement personal vehicles. Within 24 hours of the storm, many companies had determined exactly which vehicles and drivers were in the specifc disaster areas, although many of these employees and vehicles remained unaccounted for long periods of time due to the collapsed communications system. Many feets quickly redeployed vehicles in bailment pools and replacement units at dealerships in nearby cities to respond to the emergency situation in the Gulf Coast area. Other feets pulled vehicles out of the resale pipeline and put them back into feet service. For example, the GSA Fleet placed all auctions on hold so vehicles could be available to meet the needs of the federal government. In addition, surplus federal vehicles were donated by federal agencies to state agencies involved in emergency relief. Vehicles from the U.S. Marshals Service's seized-assets inventory were even put into service in the Gulf area. Tis allowed vehicles such as Hummers and Escalades to be utilized by the government's emergency operations in areas requiring four-wheel drive. AF congratulations Chevin Fleet Solutions congratulates our client Dick Malcom, feet administrator, State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co., on being recognized as the 2013 Professional Fleet Manager of the Year! We value our partnership as you continue to use technology to manage an innovative feet operation. OCTOBER 2013 I AUTOMOTIVE FLEET 61

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