Editor's choice
26 Nov 19

Cleber Kouyomdjian, Leaseplan Brazil: Unmasking the hidden costs of TCO

Holding the position of Brazil commercial director since April 2019 for international car-as-a service company Leaseplan, Cleber Kouyomdjian is responsible for commercial and new business development as well as managing existing clients.

During my last one-on-one with the executive, besides giving us some background on the profile of the company, Mr. Koyomdjian gave me insight to key fleet management strategies and highlighted the hidden costs of TCO.

First of all, could you tell our readers a bit about the company’s presence in Brazil and its 2020 objective?

Kouyomdjian: Leaseplan is an international company which has been in Brazil for 20 years, so we are well positioned in the market. Currently, we have approximately 13,000 cars in our Brazil fleet but, worldwide, we can boast some 1.8 million vehicles.

In Brazil, the volume is not so large, but you must keep in mind that we offer a complete and high-quality service of operational leasing which is a niche in the local market. 

As for next year’s goal, we intend to grow organically by focusing on quality, the implementation of technology such as digital fleet management tools, and electrification to some extent.

Global Fleet editor Daniel Bland and Cleber Kouyomdjian at WTW19 in São Paulo - 2019 (source: Fleet LatAm)

Are electric vehicles a feasible option today?

Kouyomdjian: Leaseplan has a goal to achieve a full electric fleet by 2030. While this will be easier is some of the other countries we operate in, we have barriers in Brazil right now, and among them are lacks in recharging infrastructure and the high cost of vehicles.

However, a more viable option today is hybrid cars, something that will help with our transition to electrification. Maybe full electric vehicles could be a viable option in 2-3 years-time, and more for fleets operating in urban areas than for those running longer distances.

For now, one vehicle to keep an eye on is the new 2020 Toyota Corolla which can run on gasoline, ethanol, or electricity, the first hybrid flex car in the world.

What are some of the hidden costs of TCO (total cost of ownership)?

Kouyomdjian: Well, we are highly focused on implementing preventative measures as this reduces maintenance costs, and much of this involves optimizing the behaviour of the drivers in our fleet.

It is much more than preventing accidents, however. It involves reducing the consumption of fuel, tires, and other items, as well as reducing the time for services.

Although not common for Leaseplan, vehicle robberies can impact fleet operations drastically. One way to avoid this is by developing the right fleet policy. For instance, through a recent case study, we learned that reimbursing parking garage fees makes a big difference. Without the reimbursements, vehicle theft increases drastically.

You mentioned tire consumption. What are some of the keys to good tire management?

It comes down to operational efficiency and preventative maintenance and this depends on driver behaviour. Sudden acceleration, harsh braking and driving fast along curves are all bad for tires.

Moreover, calibrate your tires once a week. Makes sure you use the right tire pressure for the right situation and much of it depends on the weight of your cargo.

Get tips from taxi drivers as they are the real professionals. While a taxi driver can get approximately 80,000km on a tire, the average driver only achieves around 45,000km. These are some of the things that can be labeled as the hidden costs of TCO.

Finally, what do you use telematics for and how is it implemented?

In the past, telematics mainly involved locating vehicles. Nowadays, it is more about managing driver behaviour as it affects overall maintenance costs. As for our system, it manages various driving habits and this includes alerts in the case of speeding.

Moreover, to encourage our motorists to drive better, we have implemented gamification into our system. Basically, good drivers receive points and the one with the most points are awarded benefits such as a special discount on the purchase of the vehicle or other benefits.

Authored by: Daniel Bland