Cox Automotive Mobility execs shed light on growth strategy
Besides growing organically, Cox Automotive Mobility Fleet Services (CAMFS) has been expanding its footprint and service offerings with a total of 16 acquisitions over the last five years.
To get a gist of what is happening in the company, I spoke with CAMFS President Joe George and Vice President of Sales Mike Dickenson during a recent visit to Indianapolis.
What key investments or acquisitions could you highlight for us?
Dickenson: In terms of acquisitions, our latest one was CMS Fleet Services out of Houston...
...We are very happy with this as it contemplates 50 technicians covering a broad part of North America and this will bring in some new clients for us. Before that in late 2022, we acquired Trudell Industries, a move that now makes us the largest Great Dane trailer dealer in the United States.
In the meantime, we are talking with a lot of companies for future possibilities, especially in the independent truck maintenance market for both local and regional services. We have a pretty big pipeline of M&A opportunities aimed at expanding our footprint and looking into other verticals within the heavy-duty vehicle space.
And how will these changes benefit the customer?
Dickenson: Our focus is to be a one-stop shop for our clients, covering schedule or unscheduled service and well as supplying parts and equipment on a national scale. To provide complete coverage, we are carrying out strategic acquisitions from a location standpoint. While we were more focused on scheduled maintenance in the past, we now provide road-side service and the provision of parts for light, medium, and heavy-duty vehicles as well as trailers.
What is the key to increasing sales and retaining customers for the company?
Daniel Bland and Joe George
George: We are highly focused on improving the total cost of operations...
...whether it be through remarketing by way of our remarketing arm Manheim or by having the right technicians to repair and maintain vehicles and maximizing value so that we minimize fleet downtime.
What is more important in your offerings, cutting costs, increasing quality, speed, or something else?
George: Well, first and foremost is assuring safety for our team members and our clients. And to reduce cost, I’d say the focusing on quality and speed is dead even in terms as importance as these things reduce downtime which can get very expensive. We need to make sure we have the right technician with the right part at the right time to do the work so that we get vehicles back on roads as soon as possible.
Which states or regions are you more focused on?
Dickenson: In the United States, we are available in the lower 48 states. If you draw a line from Minneapolis to Dallas and look East, we are quite dense in terms of service offerings. It is a little less when looking West of that line, especially in rural areas. The major markets in the West are covered though and our acquisition strategy is to continue expanding our footprint and filling in any gaps throughout the country.
And when it comes to the company’s global sales strategies, what are the priorities right now?
George: In Europe, we are focusing a lot on electrification so that means managing EV fleets and this includes the repair and maintenance of these vehicles. We have a huge focus in the UK, but also in the Netherlands and continental Europe.
A focus on EVs is also starting in the US with electric vehicles by Rivian for Amazon’s e-delivery fleet. Some of our largest fleets are starting to convert from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to electric powertrains or just doing direct acquisitions of EVs.
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