Fleet Management Update – JANUARY 2018

Commercial Leasing & Fleet Management Since 1955

JANUARY 2018  -  We hope you will find our monthly Fleet Management Updates useful. Please feel free to call us or leave a comment below regarding any questions you may have about the newsletter or subjects you would like us to include in future months. We invite you to sign up at the bottom of this newsletter page for future Fleet Management Updates to be sent directly to your email.   

SCOTT SMITH President  

GT Leasing | 904-398-5000  | 2810 St Augustine Rd | Jacksonville | FL | 32207



It appears that we are going to have a pretty cold winter even in Florida. We have taken milder winters for granted, but it appears that this cold snap may be longer lived than usual.

In talking to our clients over the past few weeks we have noticed more cold weather vehicle issues than what we have seen in the past.

With that in mind, here are a few reminders, which may ring a bell before an issue spoils your day and your wallet.

BATTERY -TEST BATTERY STRENGTH & IGNITION SYSTEM Failures occur due to cold if you have a battery on the older side of the typical 3 year lifecycle. Extreme cold pulls voltage from a battery and this can be compounded by older spark plugs and plug wires that inefficiently use the weakened voltage.

FLUIDS – CHECK LEVELS OF OIL ANTIFREEZE POWER STEERING, BRAKE AND TRANSMISSION When it gets cold, fluids thicken and that will make it harder for your car to get the fluids it need to run properly. Transmission is a big one. That fluid in particular needs to flow quickly, and your car won’t function if it flows at a slow pace,

HOSES  – CHECK FOR CRACKS OR SEAPAGE IF OLD REPLACE During the winter, your hoses go from being very cold to the operating temperature of the engine very quickly. The reverse is also true. When you turn off the engine, the hoses cool down faster, and to a lower temperature. This expansion contraction extremes caused more failures, especially on older weaker hoses.

TIRES  – CHECK CONDITION AND PRESSURE Most tires lose 1 pound per square inch (psi) for every 10 F of temperature drop. So, checking inflation as the air gets colder is critical. For example, a fully inflated tire at 70 F is five psi under-inflated at 20 F. Under-inflated tires do not perform well and are subject to damage or failure

Our objective in these newsletters is to keep you informed on fleet issues and new products so that you can keep your transportation costs in line. We hope you enjoy the information below and will call us with any questions or needs that you might have regarding your next vehicle.

CALL US AT 904-398-5000


GT Leasing | 904-398-5000  | 2810 St Augustine Rd | Jacksonville | FL | 32207

The redesign and re-engineering for the next generation Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra is on the receiving end of a $3 Billion investment by GM

Texas Speedway was the sight of the semi-unveiling of the 2019 Silverado LT Trailboss. The pickup segment is so dominant for the Big 3 that even a few weeks of pre-debut teaser in Dallas can help forstall orders with rivals Ford and FCA.

Mixed materials are prevalent throughout the new Silverado. The automaker did not offer many details about the truck’s construction, but the new Silverado features a higher-grade steel alloy in its bed floor, which is lighter than conventional steel, The steel alloy indicates that GM is not following Ford, which uses aluminum to build truck beds. GM is expected to eventually offer a pickup bed that utilizes carbon fiber.The redesigned Silverado will offer more engine/transmission combinations, and additional technology and convenience features; however configuration details and disclosures were minimal.

The actual debut is scheduled for the Detroit Auto Show this month. We will bring you all the details as the are presented in Detroit in a couple weeks.


17.2 MILLION  After seven years of growth, the U.S. industry’s longest in a century – auto sales declined to 17.2M down from 17.54M in 2016.  2017 still ranks as one of the five best years in history. Even with the drop there appears to be no sign of a big plunge on the horizon.

608   The number of miles away from San Francisco that Steve McQueen’s long-lost 1968 Ford Mustang GT fastback was found, 50 years after it was lost. Two of the Highland Green Mustangs were used to film the movie Bullitt. One is owned by a private collector. The other was assumed to be crushed due to damage sustained in filming. It was found in March in a junkyard in Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico.  The car is now owned by friends Ralph Garcia, Jr. and Hugo Sanchez, who have thus far decided to hang on to the car despite reportedly receiving several offers on it as-is.

$7,500  The Electric Vehicle tax credit that almost died, but eventually were left intact in the new tax bill.

$2.4 billion  The estimated value of the cars lost to flooding following Hurricane Harvey, which hit Texas in August.

10,000  How many more information technology workersGeneral Motors has hired since 2012, when it decided to bring its IT department in-house.

$100,000  The price of the 2018 Ford F-450 Super Duty Limited pickup, once it’s loaded with a bed extender and off-roading option. The cheapest Ford Super Duty truck is $32,000.

$23,671  The amount of money Tesla lost on each car it sold in the third quarter of 2017.

201  The number of days President Donald Trump’s American Manufacturing Council lasted before multiple CEOs quit over the controversy regarding Trump’s response to the violence at the Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, Va.

6  How many months it took Waymo to accumulate its latest million miles of real-world testing for its self-driving cars. The first 1 million miles took 18 months.

7  The number of years Oliver Schmidt, a former VW executive, faces in prison for his role in the automaker’s global conspiracy to cheat on diesel emissions.


The 2019 Vette is expected to have a lower hood line, longer rear deck and much shorter dash-to-axle ratio than the current C7 Corvette. Switching from a front to midengine layout means engineering a new chassis; creating a new transaxle to drive the rear wheels; developing new cooling, air-conditioning and suspension systems; and designing a new body.

The front of the midengine Corvette remains heavily camouflaged. However, it is expected to have a lower hood line, longer rear deck and a much shorter dash-to-axle ratio than the current C7 Corvette. Photos credit: KGP PHOTOGRAPHY

The total cost of retooling the Bowling Green, KY plant was close to $900 million. It also said production of the 2019 Corvette is scheduled to start Jan. 29, which will include the 2019 C7 Chevy Corvette ZR1 introduced late last year.


The all-new Mercedes-Benz G-Class has leaked before its official Detroit auto show debut this January, and it doesn’t look very different. The biggest visual changes to the still-boxy SUV appear in front with a redesigned bumper, grille and headlights. Yet surprisingly little else on the exterior has changed despite this being an “all-new” Mercedes-Benz G-Class.

However, it’s a different story on the interior. Mercedes released images of the inside about a month ago, but there are even more shots now. It’s decidedly S-Class and E-Class-like with the sprawling screen and dash layout.


As we warned over the last few month, flood vehicles are going to be a big problem for buyers of used vehicles. Those too good to be true prices are too good to be true.

After the storms the major auto insurers assembled vehicle inspection teams to catalog the damage. But things don’t seem to be going as planned. These teams were not seeing the numbers of vehicles coming through their special lots for processing that they expected. Good news maybe for them. Bad news for consumers.

The reason for this was that of the vehicles that were flooded, a much higher percentage than expected were without physical damage insurance altogether.

This amps up the numbers that have fallen through the branding process cracks  and are repaired and back on the road and eventually back on the market as used vehicles.

Insurers make sure that flooded vehicles damaged beyond repair are retitled as junk or salvage and share those vehicle identification numbers with national anti-fraud databases. But uninsured vehicles don’t get branded as junk or salvage and may be resold in private sales.

And so the fraud starts now at a much larger scale that was believed. The industry has many years of the possibility of vehicles in the market with significant flood damage. It will require a level of due diligence for five years until those vehicles fall out of the commercial market.


Geely, the Chinese holding company has announced plans to fully acquire American flying car startup Boston based, Terrafugia.was started in 2006 by a group of engineers at MIT. The group which promises a flying car by 2019 has a lot of company in the endeavour. Toyota, Google’s Larry Page, Germany’s eVolo, and China’s EHang. Vahana, a subsidiary of Airbus, says it will test-fly a prototype this year.

A flying car is an awesome dream. That said, skepticism abounds as making a car into a plane is really just a way of making a plane that can kinda, sorta move down a road without knocking off the heads of parking meters.

Does anyone out there have a clue how tough the FAA will be on that product’s engineering and production? That’s just the beginning. Regs regarding who, how, when and where you can fly it is going to be an even tougher tougher hurdle to making anything like this mainstream.

Here are some fun look backs at the quest of a flying cars which has a history almost a far back as the plane itself.

The main rival of the Wright brothers, Glenn Curtiss seems to have come up with the first flying car project with the Curtiss Autoplane in 1917. The foldable-wing design with the push-propeller roadable airplane never actually achieved full flight, however.

Henry Ford was next up in 1926. His quote was bold but not to be in his lifetime; “Mark my words: a combination airplane and motorcar is coming. You may smile, but it will come.” He didn’t exactly build a flying CAR but he wanted a tiny plane that could be taxied from house to neighborhood airports. Charles Lindbergh, one of only two pilots to fly the Flivver, called it one of the worst planes he’d ever piloted. The Flivver was DOA.

A true flying car was actually developed in 1932 by Waldo Waterman. By 1936 the improved Arrowplane, the Aerobile #6, fulfilled his dream of designing a tailless roadable airplane.

The Aerobile was a two-place, high-wing, cabin monoplane with a transmission drive system that operated the propeller in the air and the rear wheels on the ground. The one-piece wing was removed by moving a lever and pins. Painted in “Buick blue,” it had many standard Studebaker, Ford, Austin, and Willys automobile parts to keep the price down and maintain the look of a car.

Moving along to the post war period, Hall and Tommy Thompson with what would later become a major aircraft manufacturer, Convair Aircraft designed and developed the Convair Model 116 Flying Car. It was featured in Popular Mechanics magazine in 1946. It flew on July 12, 1946, completing 66 test flights. A lofty production target of 160,000 was planned, with a projected $1,500 price tag. Convair anticipated that the Model 118 would be purchased in large numbers to be rented at airports. Nope, only the two prototypes were ever built.

Let’s skip a few and go to 1973 in Oxnard, CA. The Mizar was constructed by melding a push pull design Cessna Skymaster to a Ford Pinto and fitting them together. What could go wrong? On an early test flight in 1973, the right wing strut’s mounting attachment failed not long after takeoff. The pilot knew turning the craft might rip the Skymaster clean off, so he put the Mizar straight down in a bean field and drove the wounded vehicle, airframe still attached, back to the airport. Later in the summer of 1973 the wing folded in and the crash killed both developers and of course the project was shelved.

In the 90′s we see the VTO (Vertical Take Off) Moller M400 Skycar: Presales  with deposits were taken in the 1990′s  but it didn’t make its first test flight until 2003. Footnote; it had just three wheels, not four, which technically made it a flyable motorcycle.

Airbus and Italdesign showed the above prototype at the Geneva auto show in March. Think of it as a modular drone, with either a flight attachment or a road attachment, letting you play on your phone as much as you want while you’re delivered to your destination like a package. Uber says it will demonstrate flying taxis in Los Angeles, Dallas and Dubai in 2020, with full operations in 2023. We shall see.



……..Probably a Prius comes to mind or a hybrid skateboardish configuration. The F150 is probably not going to be your first guess and probably based on fuel economy it may be your 28th guess based on fuel rankings by the EPA. That said, Ford has been doing a great deal of tinkering with the F150, including aluminum bodies and EcoBoost V-6 engines to improve efficiency. Now an F150 hybrid is coming onto the scene.

Ford has conducted extensive research into how to market a truck that nobody other than a very few truck buyers and the the federal government has asked for. Ford needs to increase the appeal of a hybrid F-150 in order to sell enough of them to not lose money on the government-mandated venture. Ford knows that fuel economy is ranked number 28 on the F-150 owners’ list of priorities, so other selling points are necessary.
So old fashioned Detroit marketing hits the nail on the head. The ability to run a BEER FRIDGE, coffee maker, and power tools is sure to grab a truck owner’s attention. Ford has done well to find an entirely legitimate way to make the hybrid F-150 appeal to customers who otherwise wouldn’t care much about hybrids. Cold beer is a reason that most truck owners can get behind.


The LA Auto Show is traditionally the biggest show on the circuit and all about luxury models and high end horsepower.  Before we get to the meat of the show, let’s take a moment for some great car show humor.
The Car Bros are mostly known for hilariously mocking everything from “Fast & Furious” and Ken Block’s “Gymkhana” to the generic car-flipping shows you’ll find on cable. They also made a video mocking the SEMA Show, as well as one showing off their recently acquired Ferrari Enzo. Need a good laugh? Check out the video- CAR BROS LINK.
Chevrolet debuted to a nighttime crowd the first convertible version of its ZR1 sports car since its 1970 debut. Chevy says the car’s LT5 6.2-liter supercharged V-8 engine will produce 766 horsepower and 715 pound-feet of torque, giving the convertible version a top speed of more than 200 mph.
The Mercedes-AMG Project One hypercar lives in very rarified air. It’s one of a tiny handful of road cars (like the Ferrari F50) that can credibly claim to be directly related to an actual Formula 1 race car. The engine and hybrid system are basically the same as the one that Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg have used to win the last four World Drivers Championships. Unlike those single-seat race cars, this one has a few creature comforts, like a roof and somewhere for a passenger to sit. Total power output from the hybrid powertrain will be more than 1,000hp, and just 275 will be made-each one retailing for $2.7 million.
Typically we are looking at vehicles at auto show reviews, but here are a couple content items from the show that proved interesting. Not all infotainment systems are created equal. If you have ever had a BMW and been frustrated by the computer/audio system, Audi’s new flagship A8 contains the latest and greatest version of MMI and cements the brand’s position at the top of the tree when it comes to in-car tech.
GM has an interesting twist on the Back Up Camera. Instead of just streaming the feed to a screen in the center console, it has created a video rear-view mirror that lets you keep your eyes up above the dashboard, which gives you a much greater field of view than a conventional reflective mirror. That means smaller blindspots and better situational awareness.
General Motors has taken its GMC Sierra 2500HD Denali pickup truck and put it on tank tracks. The heavy duty truck features 16 inch wide Mattracks tracks for traversing snow and ice terrain. GM says the concept will not be available to purchase at this time.
Say goodbye to Lincoln’s “MK” naming scheme that some customers still haven’t deciphered after more than a decade. First to go is the MKX, which will become the Nautilus when the 2019 model reaches showrooms in the spring.
The 2019 Nautilus is basically an MKX that has had major plastic surgery. Two turbo engines are offered: a 245-hp 2.0-liter four and a 335-hp 2.7-liter V-6, both with eight-speed automatics. There is Sync 3 infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; optional Ultra Comfort seats are 22-way adjustable with lumbar massage. Safety tech includes automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitor, active parking assist, and lane-departure warning.
Jeep has a lot going on as the article title suggests. The all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler made a statement during its debut at the Los Angeles Auto Show this month. The iconic off-road SUV (detailed reviews in earlier newsletters) features new levels of technology and refinement. It also has the first hybrid, diesel and plug-in powertrain options in the autoline history.
Electric powertrains will play an important role in Jeep’s future. Due to its ability to deliver instant torque, This is a real plus in off road performance.
The automaker plans to launch a plug-in hybrid powertrain version in 2020.The plug-in Wrangler will feature a range-extending engine. No specifications were provided by the company.
Jeep needs to look ahead to future regulations that will govern fuel economy and CO2 emissions standards, Electrification is therefore naturally part of the future lineup for Wrangler.
Jeep has announced that the new 2018 Wrangler will be available with a mild hybrid system called eTorque. It allows the turbocharged four-cylinder engine to shut down as the vehicle coasts to a stop. It can store energy through regenerative braking and use it to start the vehicle under electric power.
The eTorque system debuts a new 48-volt battery for FCA.  The plug-in hybrid powertrain will require an entirely different system. No vehicle as rugged as a Jeep Wrangler combines plug-in capability with a range extender. The most notable adopters include the Chevrolet Volt and BMW i3 sedans.
 There is a plan for a new Jeep Grand Wagoneer. And a Wagoneer. The relationship between the Wagoneer and Grand Wagoneer is not entirely clear. It’s well known that FCA boss Sergio Marchionne wants a Jeep-branded Range Rover rival to exist, possibly at a price tag of $100,000 or more, and the Grand Wagoneer seems to be that vehicle in 2020.

Perhaps its “Wagoneer” will be something like a Range Rover Sport equivalent.

We don’t know exactly when the Grand and regular Wagoneer will commence production or hit showrooms, but FCA’s timeframe for finishing its new facilities is 2020. Until then, we’ll keep our fingers crossed for the revival of wood exterior paneling.


The SUV / Crossover trend is growing as a vehicle segment at a tremendous rate and FCA can’t ignore that even with their Ferrari brand. Sergio Marchionne confirmed speculation that Ferrari is bowing to the inevitable and drawing up plans for a crossover sports car. The active project in Maranello, Italy has a codename F16X.
Marchionne commented, “That space is too big and too inviting and we have a lot of customers who will be more than willing to drive a Ferrari-branded vehicle that has that king of utilitarian objective.’ The product like all Ferrari models will be a limited production model to preserve exclusivity. and due out in the 2021 time frame.

For all the Jeep enthusiasts out there, additional comments were made by Marchione about the future of the Jeep brand.
Fiat Chrysler won’t consider selling Jeep as a separate entity. The CEO has spoken about the rationale against splitting Jeep from the rest of Fiat Chrysler before, telling analysts in July that Fiat Chrysler needed “to worry about the stump that’s left behind.”
Marchionne has increased the value of Fiat Chrysler for top shareholder Exor NV and other investors by spinning off units and spending heavily on a global expansion of the Jeep SUV brand. Worldwide sales of the profitable vehicle type will probably increase by 9.4 million units from 2017 to 2024, accounting for two thirds of the auto industry’s expansion, IHS Market estimates.

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