Vehicle Manufacturer Cut-Off Dates – What You Need To Know

Every manufacturer has an order cut-off date. While they vary for each manufacturer, and the exact dates change annually, they are generally scheduled for sometime in the spring providing business owners and fleet managers with plenty of time to identify their vehicle needs and place their orders. But this year was different. Here’s all you need to know about cut-off dates, why they are there, and what is different about this year.

Why are we seeing Manufacturer Cut Off Dates in December 2020 or January 2021? 

COVID-19 has impacted many industries and the automotive industry is no different. In March 2020, many manufacturers closed their US factories not reopening until late April or May 2020. Many did not re-open to full capacity and have been scrambling to make up orders since. Manufacturers are now processing orders placed from September 2020 – February 2021. 

January 2021 provided another hurdle for car manufacturers to overcome. As New York Times Reported on January 13, 2021, “Strong demand for gaming systems, personal computers and other electronics by a world stuck indoors has sucked up supplies of semiconductors, forcing carmakers around the world to scramble for the chips that have become as essential to mobility as gasoline or steel.” So in 2021 manufacturers have had to shut production on some vehicles – yet again. 

Here is a current list of top manufacturers order cut-off dates: 

  • GM/Cheverette: The cut-off date for new pick-up truck orders was scheduled for January 21, 2021. “According to our GM representatives, it may consider reopening order banks in July 2021 which would make the timing for delivery of vehicles in the September or October timeframe.” Click Here for GM 2021 Build Out Schedule. 
  • Ford: Order bank for fleets closed as of January 21, 2021. “They have not provided further information as to the potential resumption of production later in this year.” Click Here for Ford 2021 Build Out Schedule. 
  • Chrysler/RAM: Currently, the order bank is open. “RAM representatives indicate that orders placed in January are likely to deliver sometime in May, which is subject to change at any time.”

You might be wondering – Why does this matter? 

The result of much of this is the manufacturers will prioritize retail (nicely equipped units) over fleet production. Order banks will fill quickly by large fleet orders for the 2022 model trucks when they open. Likely delivery on 2022 fleet orders for latecomers will be 6 + months after production starts. That could very likely mean late in this year or early next year before we see fleet inventories available in any real numbers

If you usually purchase your fleet vehicles from a dealership you might have never considered manufacturer cut-off dates before. You may be able to find a vehicle in a dealer lot, but it will likely be equipped more nicely, which will cost thousands more, than a fleet order.  Also, we expect from a supply and demand standpoint, dealerships won’t be motivated to sell those units below MSRP.

2021 might not be the year to purchase new vehicles – Here’s What You Can Do

The key to securing the best deal is by factory ordering a vehicle that is equipped to meet your needs. For this, 2021 might not be the year in which you order a slew of new trucks, but instead might be the year you organize your fleet strategy, prioritize the units that are the riskiest for remarketing, and optimize the operational expense of the fleet so that when order banks re-open, you’ll be ready to advance your strategy.

To begin advancing your strategy we suggest you:

  1. Put a plan in place to sell the oldest, most risky vehicles (where $1 spent on repairs will NOT increase the value at resale).  
  2. Identify the units you absolutely need in 2021 
  3. Search for wholesale opportunities – even from dealerships

The best way to start is with an Alliance Leasing Fleet Health Assessment. We can then take you through the steps of identifying needs, remarketing, and sourcing wholesale vehicles to meet your immediate needs. 

Signs it’s Time to Lease a Commercial Truck

Leasing a commercial truck gives you the right to use it as you wish, for the period the lease lasts. Naturally, there are also certain conditions. The person leasing you the vehicle is responsible for maintenance and repairs, but not if it was your neglect or misuse that caused the damage. You will be required to make monthly payments, same as if you were renting an apartment.

commercial truck leasing

If you need a commercial truck for your business, leasing is a very good option, especially if you cannot afford to pay a big sum of money upfront. Considering that you will not pay for the cost of the vehicle, the commercial truck leasing monthly payments may be even lower than a loan, which makes the lease affordable, especially if you compare it with the utility of the truck for your business.

Leasing is good because it allows you to avoid debt and, once the lease agreement comes to an end, you can choose to upgrade to a better vehicle. On the other hand, you also have the option to purchase the truck at the end of the lease, for its residual value (which is determined in the original leasing contract).

Loaning a commercial truck is not so great, mainly because it is not an investment; you are just using someone else`s vehicle. There will be higher monthly payments and you will likely be required to purchase extra insurance.

Where Can You Find the Most Reliable Truck Fleet Drivers?

A fleet of trucks is not easy to manage. While you might have gotten a great deal for your trucks through specialized fleet management companies, but organizing everything so you can use them efficiently to bring you profit for your business is entirely different.

fleet management companies

Hiring the right truck drivers is one of the most important and difficult tasks you’ll have to focus on as soon as you got your new truck fleet. While you might find a lot of good candidates simply by coming up with a good ad to put in the newspaper or online, the screening process is also very important.

Experience is one of the most essential aspect of hiring a truck driver. Driving trucks for long periods throughout the city and out of town can be taxing, and you need to make sure that you hire an experienced team of truck drivers who can complete their work without making mistakes or falling asleep at the steering wheel.

You also have to make sure you hire drivers who can take the initiative and handle lesser known routes or route changes, especially if your business is new. You might need to reorganize your drivers and send some trucks on different routes from time to time, so you also have to make sure your drivers can easily adapt to such changes.

Tips for Keeping Leased Commercial Vehicles and Heavy Equipment Safe and Free of Damage

Leasing commercial vehicles and heavy equipment can come with great responsibility, especially if you’re investing a lot of money into those vehicles, and your profits are still somewhat shy to show themselves. As a result, making sure to avoid the need for any repairs and keep your commercial vehicles and heavy equipment safe should be one of your main concerns during the beginning stages of running a large delivery or transportation service.

The first thing you have to focus on is to make sure that all your drivers are properly screened and selected among the best commercial drivers that you can find in your area. Make sure that they are not only familiar with safe driving practices, but that they also know how to drive preventively, so that they can avoid accidents and make sure that the vehicles they are entrusted with remain in prime condition for as long as possible.

heavy equipment leasing

Frequent maintenance is also very important. If you have a maintenance related agreement associated with your heavy equipment leasing contract, make sure to review it and discuss the points that are not satisfactory enough with your leasing company.

Finally, if you notice any technical problem with any heavy equipment or vehicles, make sure the leasing company is made aware of the problem and that they replace your vehicle as soon as possible. Failure to do so might result in the need for expensive repairs, and the company might end up blaming the issue on you, since you haven’t notified them in time.

Understanding Fleet Vehicle Downtime, Who Is Responsible for It and What You Can Do

fleet management Colorado

Fleet vehicle downtime can be a real problem if you pay for your fleet vehicles on a regular basis. A fleet management Colorado leasing contract will provide you with many potential advantages, but it will also have you losing a lot of profit when you don’t use your vehicles. Since you’re paying for having them for just a limited time, it’s important to plan ahead and know exactly how to deal with it.

Fleet vehicle downtime has to do with situations when your fleet vehicles aren’t being used. This can happen for a number of reasons:

• Your business might be stagnating.
• One or more of your vehicles might be grounded for maintenance or repairs.
• You could be forced to avoid using your vehicles for a certain job due to safety issues.
• You might have to wait for permission to use your fleet vehicles for a new type of delivery that you don’t yet have authorization for.

Regardless of why the downtime is happening, it’s important to try to identify who is responsible for it and what has to be done to relaunch your vehicles as soon as possible. Your response time in this case is extremely essential, as is being able to foresee possible downtime periods, account for them, and compensate for the losses through methods such as coming up with better marketing strategies or increasing your delivery costs temporarily.