Work (always) in progress: The secrets behind our fleet selection
‘Or similar’ is one of the most-used phrases in the car rental company, and one that customers dread. As anyone who has done a winter road trip from Toronto airport to Ottawa can attest, driving, say, a Hyundai Accent on wet roads is a completely different experience from being in a Peugeot 206. While the cars may be similar in the sense of being classified as Compact or Economy, the reason you may have chosen one over another is because you’re aware that the lighter car tends to get buffeted by passing lorries on a high-speed highway.
How to avoid it? While it is a necessary part of renting designed to ensure you get the class of car you need which fits your budget, remember that if your car rental company is organized and updates its fleet as a best practice, as Carlease does, it is inevitable that you will get the exact model of your preference – not just the category – 90% of the time. Unfortunately, this does occasionally mean you will have to be patient while we source the car you selected.
When you’re out looking for the ride of your dreams, it makes sense to check how often the leasing company updates its fleet. When a car rental company updates its fleet regularly and sensibly, the customers reap the benefit of being assured they get what they asked for.
Maintaining the right combination of cars in a fleet consisting of over 10 different brands, 75 different models, and over 1200 individual cars (which have the annoying habit of moving around all the time) is no easy task. However, despite the day-to-day stress they bear from making sure that all the cars are clean, maintained and in the right place, at the right, for the right customer, the petrol-heads at the Carlease Fleet Coordination team are generally a happy bunch. That’s because they get a front row seat to the latest goings-on in the automotive industry.
The team at Carlease is constantly testing new cars, and testing a new car to assess whether it works for our customers is not just about picking the cheapest thing with four wheels. Every single car that has made it to the Carlease fleet has undergone a wide variety of tests and has likely been driven by a number of people: everyone from the managing director to the mechanic tries the car to assess it, checking each model for:
Value for money – our ‘Break Even’ test:
An assessment of the value for money offered by the car, considering its purchase price, its operating and maintenance cost, resale value and how plush the car ‘feels’ compared to its listed price
Acceptance by customers – our ‘Two Ladies and a Baby’ test:
What do people think of the brand? What do they think of the car? If your mother sat in the car, would she even notice that it’s a new car? If your sister sat in the back seat, would she be comfortable? Would she feel safe with her baby in the back?
Feature set – our ‘Pleasant Surprises’ test:
Does the car have good features relative to other cars in its category? Given its category, does the car offer any pleasant surprises that make it feel more expensive than it is? Does it look good? Does it drive well? Do the cup-holders work (and no, they don’t always)? Does the door feel solid when it’s closed? Can the sound system handle a bit of Kendrick Lamar? How about some Black Keys?
Dealership support – our “Am I Sucker” test:
Does the dealership selling the car understand our requirement, or are they just trying to hawk their inventory right before a major model facelift? Do they even care about their cars or are they just street vendors screaming Cheap Car Here! Do they support us and make our life easy so that we can focus on our customers?
Are we in a good position to lease these cars in a competitive environment?
Warning: Design Update Ahead!!!!
Here is a trick to watch out for, especially when you’re taking a long-term lease. Before you sign on to a deal that looks too good to be true, check the model you’re being offered. When a car is due for a makeover/refresh, customers may find it available for long-term contracts at very low rates. This will always be true for rental companies which are owned by the dealerships.
Unfortunately, the low low prices are a cheap trick. Customers are ecstatic for the first three months of their 24-month lease, then notice that their three-month-old ride is a generation older than an awesome new, completely redesigned and completely fresh model.
We never want our customers to feel cheated in this way. So we avoid purchasing cars that are at the end of their design cycle. If we do, we will always be willing to tell you as much – it’s usually because we think the older model is better than the new one.
In 2015 and 2016, the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Pajero, Ford Edge and the Nissan Altima have come up with redesigned models. A good car rental company such as Carlease won’t play this game because it realizes the value of keeping customers happy for the entire term of their lease.
This just in…
In its history, Carlease has been among the first major car rental companies to test the viability of the Hyundai Accent, the Kia Picanto, the Chevrolet Spark 1.0L, the Ford Figo, the Kia Sportage, the Mazda 2, the Ford Edge, VW Passat, the Ford EcoSport, the Mazda 6, the Hyundai Tucson and the Ford Explorer as major bulge-bracket fleet vehicles. In many cases, we incorporated these cars in to our fleet before even the dealership-owned car rental companies, effectively paving the path for these models to eventually become ‘standard rental cars’.
Through the exhaustive pre-purchase process we undertake, we are confident of being first movers, becoming the first major purchasers of the best new makes and models of cars in the market. And proving in yet another manner that we are committed to always innovating and staying a step ahead.
Now, all you have to do is rent the latest ride and enjoy it!
The region’s summer temperatures call for special attention, find out how to keep cars cool in the summer.
With Carlease Maintenance Bot, customers can make service bookings without annoying phone calls!
February 25th, 2008 – A company dedicated to pushing the Car Rental industry forward was born.