Are your company vehicles considered a fleet?
Do you own a small business with company vehicles? You probably feel like you’ve learned a lot about managing this part of your business since you bought your first vehicle. As your business has grown, you have maybe added more vehicles. What many small business owners don’t know is that there is a “fleet status” that when achieved will allow for some cost savings benefits and incentive programs from fleet manufacturers. When a company acquires enough vehicles they then qualify for fleet status with auto manufacturers. Fleet status opens up access to a host of benefits, from cost savings on new vehicle acquisitions, to greater choice in vehicles, to exclusive member perks.
What does it take to qualify as a fleet?
Fleet qualifications vary by manufacturer, but they are variations on a theme: five new vehicles or 15 vehicles total. To qualify for General Motors Fleet program, your business must have purchased or leased five (5) or more new cars and/or trucks (any combination of vehicle manufacturers) principally for business use within the last 12 months; or currently own or lease five (5) or more medium duty trucks; or currently own or lease fifteen (15) or more cars and trucks. Ford fleet eligibility requirements are similar to those at GM, though they add that qualifying vehicles must have been in use for 12 months or 20,000 miles. FCA Fleet program, which represents the brands Chrysler, Dodge, and Ram (among others), requires 15 vehicles total or that you are in the process of purchasing or leasing at least five new vehicles.
If your business does not qualify for fleet status yet, don’t lose hope! Some manufacturers still offer incentive programs for small businesses that do not meet their fleet threshold. FCA Fleet offers retail incentives for small businesses by brand. GM’s has a small business program with similar incentives.
Save your business money with fleet status
After acquiring a fleet identification or account number, businesses immediately save on new vehicle acquisitions. First, manufacturers waive regional advertising fees that often apply to vehicles sold out of dealer stock. The fees are usually between one and two percent of the vehicle’s invoice and can mean a savings of up to 800 dollars for a 40,000-dollar vehicle.
In addition to waiving the advertising fee, fleet programs often offer exclusive incentives and rebates to their members. For their 2022 National Fleet Purchase Program, GM offers allowances ranging from 400 dollars for a Chevy Spark to 5,500 dollars for a GMC Sierra 2500HD Double Cab with 4WD. The Ford 2022 Model Year Commercial Fleet Incentive Program offers incentives in a similar range.
Other benefits to gaining fleet status
Other benefits for business fleets include the ability to choose vehicles from manufacturer stock instead of dealer stock. Dealers stock their lots mostly for consumer preference and space limitations. That often means limited options in fleet vehicles. Depending on the fleet program you join, there are a wide variety of member benefits you may access. For example, members of the FCA BusinessLink program have access to complimentary shuttle service, loaner vehicles, priority bay service, extended service/repair hours, and a 24/7 towing service – all without membership fees or dues.
Claim your fleet status within a week's time
Assuming your business can readily provide documentation of all your vehicles, you could be enrolled in a manufacturer fleet program within a week. Do your due diligence by researching available fleet programs, and find the right fleet program with perks that meaningfully benefit your small business.
All fleet cards are not the same, and different types of fuel cards suit the needs of different kinds and sizes of businesses. View WEX’s fleet card comparison chart to see which fleet fuel card is right for you.
General Motors Fleet
Ford Motor Company
Real Car Tips
Editorial note: This article was originally published on March 1, 2019, and has been updated for this publication.