Say what you want about fleet sales, but they remain an important part of most automakers’ business and are vital to the success of the economy as a whole. And that, in turn, helps make the Vincentric 2012 Best Fleet Value in America awards worth noting.
“By taking into account a wide range of lifecycle scenarios, using all ownership costs, our awards enable organizations to understand and evaluate the best vehicles for their fleet," said David Wurster, president of Vincentric. "Fleet operators, fleet management and leasing companies, and fleet dealers can all benefit from utilizing comprehensive and dynamic cost-of-ownership data to make informed vehicle choices."
This year’s fleet-value leaders were General Motors, winning nine categories, and Toyota, with seven segment wins; of course, with more than 40 different segments to analyze, there were plenty of prizes to go around, and automakers like Ford, Hyundai, the Chrysler Group and even BMW and Mercedes-Benz garnered multiple recognitions as well.
Unsurprisingly, a brand with a particularly high-value reputation snagged three Best Fleet Value awards in the heart of the car market, as the Hyundai Accent sedan, Hyundai Elantra Touring and Hyundai Sonata won the Subcompact, Compact Hatchback and Mid-size Sedan segments, respectively. But going forward, fleet customers should know that the brand plans to cut its commercial business in half this year, which could make Hyundai fleet products a bit harder to come by in 2012.
Also unsurprising: Toyota took all three hybrid car categories, with the Toyota Prius earning the nod among both Compact Hybrids and Plug-in Hybrids, and the Toyota Camry taking the Hybrid Mid-size Sedan category.
The complete list of Vincentric Best Fleet Value winners in the mainstream car classes:
- Compact Hatchback—Elantra Touring
- Compact Sedan—Nissan Versa
- Compact Hybrid—Prius
- Mid-size Sedan—Sonata
- Hybrid Mid-size Sedan—Camry
- Plug-in Hybrid—Prius
- Large—Ford Taurus
- Wagon—Subaru Impreza
Vincentric 2012 Best Fleet Values—Premium Cars
One of the more interesting outcomes occurred in the Premium Mid-size Sedan category, where the Buick Regal was named Best Fleet Value. What makes this news? The specific Regal model to earn the honor was the one with GM’s eAssist fuel-saving system. The technology has begun proliferating throughout the General’s lineup—it’s also available on the Buick LaCrosse and 2013 Chevrolet Malibu Eco, with more to come—and provides a simple, relatively inexpensive way to boost fuel economy that also avoids the metaphysical baggage that comes with a full-hybrid system.
This year’s Best Fleet Values among lux cars:
- Premium Compact—Mercedes-Benz C-Class
- Premium Mid-size Sedan—Regal
- Premium Large—Audi A6
- Prestige Sedan—BMW 7 Series
- Premium Wagon—Volvo XC70
Vincentric 2012 Best Fleet Values—Crossovers
The Chrysler Group earned two separate category titles in the Crossover ranks, making it the only automaker with more than a single win here. It’s more evidence of how crowded the crossover segments are with high-quality entries, although customers should remember that one of the Best Value Crossovers, the Ford Escape Hybrid, will cease production after this year. The Blue Oval has determined that the Ford C-MAX family will carry the company’s hybrid banner in the crossover/multipurpose vehicle market in the future.
Also, because of the way Vincentric categorizes vehicles, another member of the Volvo XC family, the XC60, was classed as crossover—and was the top-rated premium entry in its segment. Significantly, all three XC Volvos, including the XC90, won their segments in Vincentric’s 2012 Best Value awards for the retail automotive market, with Volvo itself being named the top luxury brand in that study.
Vincentric’s 2012 Best Fleet Values in the crossover categories were:
- Compact Crossover, Entry-level—Jeep Patriot
- Compact Crossover, Mid-level—Toyota RAV4
- Compact Crossover, Premium—XC60
- Mid-size Crossover—Dodge Journey
- Mid-size Crossover, Premium—BMW X5
- Large Crossover—Mazda CX9
- Large Crossover, Premium—Buick Enclave
- Hybrid Crossover—Escape
Vincentric 2012 Best Fleet Values—SUVs
Many fleet customers still require the kind of capabilities that are only available with true body-on-frame sport-utility vehicles, which probably explains why SUVs like the Ford Police Interceptor, Dodge Durango Special Service (yes, technically built using unibody construction) and Chevrolet Tahoe have been getting so much press lately for their new law-enforcement models. But with the Ford and Dodge being too new for the 2012 Best Value awards, victory this year in the Large SUV class went to the Chevy.
The top-rated SUVs in this year’s Vincentric Best Fleet Value awards were:
- Compact SUV—Toyota FJ Cruiser
- Mid-size SUV—Toyota 4Runner
- Large SUV—Tahoe
- Premium SUV—Mercedes-Benz G-Class
- Sport Utility Truck—Chevrolet Avalanche
Vincentric 2012 Best Fleet Values—Pickups
Although automakers don’t often tout their fleet successes to attract retail buyers, anything goes in the pickup segments, where a reputation as a no-nonsense work truck is badge of honor for many owners—regardless of whether they drive their pickups for commercial use or not. And this year, both Ford and Chevy (and GMC) get to split the honors, as the Ford F-150 was awarded the top prize among ½-ton pickups, while the Chevy Silverado/GMC Sierra combined for victory in the heavy-duty categories.
Vincentric’s 2012 Best Fleet Values among pickup trucks:
- Compact Pickup—Toyota Tacoma Double Cab
- Full-size Pickup, ½ Ton—F-150 Regular Cab
- Full-size Pickup, Heavy Duty ¾ Ton—Silverado 2500/Sierra 2500 Regular Cab
- Full-size Pickup, Heavy Duty 1 Ton—Silverado 3500/Sierra 3500 Regular Cab
Vincentric 2012 Best Fleet Values—Vans
They don’t get much love from retail buyers, but vans—mini and otherwise—are among the biggest sellers in the fleet industry, thanks to their incredible versatility. That’s exactly what most folks would expect, but here’s something they may not have seen coming: Of the eight van categories in the Best Fleet Value awards, Mercedes-Benz won three of them, tied with GM for most wins in the van segments.
It’s a strong testament to the capabilities of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans, which have proven so successful in this country that Ford will bring its own Euro-style entry—the Ford Transit—to the U.S. for the next model year.
Van winners of the 2012 Vincentric Best Fleet Value awards:
- Minivan—Dodge Grand Caravan
- Mini Cargo Van—Ford Transit Connect
- Full-size Passenger Van, ½ Ton—Chevrolet Express 1500/GMC Savana 1500
- Full-size Passenger Van, ¾ Ton—Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Wagon 2500
- Full-size Passenger Van, 1 Ton—Express 3500/Savana 3500
- Full-size Cargo Van, ½ Ton—Express 1500/Savana 1500
- Full-size Cargo Van, ¾ Ton—Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van 2500
- Full-size Cargo Van, 1 Ton—Sprinter Van 3500