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How simplifying fleet services can increase uptime

Aug. 17, 2023
Cox Automotive's latest acquisitions and brand restructuring brings streamlined fleet maintenance operations directly to fleets using on-site mobile services, system-to-system connections, and EV battery life-cycle solutions.

Fleet service management has many moving parts. Not only must fleet managers ensure each vehicle in the fleet receives routine maintenance, they must also be sure vehicles are repaired in a timely manner when unexpected problems occur. Vehicles in the shop are vehicles that aren’t making money, and a streamlined fleet maintenance platform can help get those vehicles back on the road.

One company gaining traction in fleet service management is Cox Automotive.

Cox’s story began back in 1958 when Cox Enterprises purchased Manheim Auto Auction. Fast forward to 1999, Cox Enterprises launched AutoTrader.com, and after the turn of the century, the company acquired several brands that established its presence in the auto dealer and manufacturer software tools segment. In 2014, Cox Enterprises formed Cox Automotive to house those brands.

In 2018, Cox established the Mobility Solutions Group, and in 2019, Cox Automotive really became an industry disruptor with trucking fleets.

Cox in trucking

The industry’s top buzzwords and key terms were at play with Cox Automotive in 2019. Terms like “forward-looking,” “end-to-end services,” and “mobility future” were used to describe Cox Automotive’s newly launched Pivet. A fleet services marketplace, Pivet was a one-stop shop for fleet services, including in-fleeting, detailing, fueling, maintenance, storage, parking, and more. Cox Automotive’s goal with Pivet was to “build its mobile fleet services capabilities,” according to a press release.

Pivet began to grow through further acquisitions—the most prominent being Dickinson Fleet Services. Dickinson had already established a nationwide mobile fleet maintenance program, and Cox Automotive’s acquisition proved beneficial.

Eli Hollis, an asset control manager at CEVA Logistics, a former Dickinson customer, told FleetOwner that after Cox came into the picture, he noticed operations were smoother thanks to Cox’s “one uniform system.”

        See also: Why fleets should digitize their maintenance management system

Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services

The acquisitions continued until Cox restructured its Mobility Solutions Group. Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services was formed in 2022, a full-service fleet solutions platform. Soon, Cox Automotive housed two other fleet-focused platforms under its Cox Automotive Mobility umbrella: Fleet Operations and EV Battery Solutions.

Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services specializes in fleet maintenance—with a large focus on on-site mobile services—in large part due to the acquisition of Dickinson Fleet Services. Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services includes the FleeTec Academy, on-site mobile services from more than 1,000 technicians and more than 750 mobile trucks, and even brick-and-mortar locations ready to serve fleets across the nation. Fleet Services has received high praise from fleet owners.

“Our challenge has been finding competent repair services around the country,” said Bill Hinson, senior manager of maintenance—internal fleet, Circle K. “Our downtime was horrendous. Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services has been a great partner for us to date. We enjoy that relationship and are going to grow that relationship.”

        See also: FleeTec diesel technician academy looks to EV future

This year, Cox Automotive acquired FleetNet America. Through this acquisition came Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Operations, a “digital-first” suite of fleet solutions, including Service 360 and Fleet Marketplace. With Service 360, Cox provides an account manager to handle a fleet’s preventive maintenance, adjusting the platform to the needs and budget of the fleet. Fleet Marketplace makes the system-to-system connection between fleet vehicles and service providers. This helps determine when to schedule maintenance and other critical vehicle decisions. Fleet Marketplace also schedules, approves, and settles fleet maintenance items in an automated workflow, so fleet managers can focus on the job and leave vehicle maintenance to the professionals.

Mike Dickinson, VP of sales at Cox Automotive and founder of the former Dickinson Fleet Services, said the platform has further advanced Cox Automotive’s ability to serve fleets.

“Over the past year, we have grown our team of top-notch technicians, expanded our services, and furthered our expertise,” Dickinson said. “Through our work in Fleet Operations, we’re also making it easier for customers to interact and schedule service. Our advancements will allow us to best serve as the trusted partner for new and existing customers.”

Cox Automotive Mobility EV Battery Solutions offers ways to extend the life of an EV battery, stemming from the acquisition of Spiers New Technologies. Spiers provides EV storage, distribution, first-life extension, and EV battery recycling services. Through this service, Cox Automotive Mobility can guide fleets throughout the life of an electric vehicle’s battery and encourage more sustainable EV operations. With EV Battery Solutions, Cox Automotive Mobility supports OEMs and dealers and helps fleet operators manage battery service demands.

See also: SVT reimagining modern fleet management

“We’re taking charge of the EV battery life cycle, offering efficient and sustainable solutions that will effectively extend battery first life and help keep batteries out of our oceans and landfills,” said Lea Malloy, assistant VP of EV battery solutions, Cox Automotive Mobility.

Additionally, just last week Cox Automotive acquired another on-site fleet maintenance provider, Corcoran’s Mobile Services. CMS offers mobile services in 30 states, further building on the “cornerstone” of Cox Automotive’s offerings for its fleet customers.

At the rate of Cox Automotive’s acquisitions, it’s safe to say the company is well on its way to achieving complete end-to-end services for its fleet customers.

About the Author

Jade Brasher

Senior Editor Jade Brasher has covered vocational trucking and fleets since 2018. A graduate of The University of Alabama with a degree in journalism, Jade enjoys telling stories about the people behind the wheel and the intricate processes of the ever-evolving trucking industry.    

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