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Evolution of Mobility

Telematics Take the Headache – and Cost – Out of Your Loaner Fleet


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Article Highlights

  1. A fleet manager’s best friend, telematics help improve cost recovery, protect assets, and automate important loaner fleet functions.
  2. Getting started with telematics is a simple process and does not require many steps or a complicated installation appointment. 
  3. Dealers can immediately begin using telematics to drive more value and profit out of their existing loaner operation and fixed-ops business while building infrastructure for new profit centers in the longer term.

A loaner fleet can involve significant costs – and a lot of moving parts.  It’s not easy to track and recoup expenses associated with their loaner vehicles, keep tabs on mileage or servicing, or just stay up to speed on what is going on with the fleet at any given moment.

That’s where telematics can make all the difference. A fleet manager’s best friend, telematics help improve cost recovery and protect assets. It automates important loaner fleet functions and allows employees to focus more on bigger picture items.  No more communal whiteboard lists, paper forms, spreadsheets, or haphazard tools that aren’t integrated with the software you may already have. No more bogged down employees whose talent and energy could be better used elsewhere in the dealership.

Best of all, telematics technology provides a quicker return on investment. It’s easy to see value from cost savings that are immediate to your bottom line.


Here’s a real-life example:

A regional dealer group in suburban Washington D.C. was losing $14,000 on fuel and $2,500 on tolls each month on their 150 loaner vehicles. Two clerks were deluged reconciling repair orders, tolls, and fuel costs.

The dealer group implemented the use of telematics to optimize their fleet management, and the results were astounding. Not only did the use of telematics technology improve their loaner fleet’s vehicle maintenance schedule thereby increasing vehicle “uptime,” it was also able to accurately assess and assign costs like unpaid tolls and fuel costs, dramatically shortening the toll and fuel repayment cycle from upwards of 30+ days to a mere 24-48 hours.

The dealer group’s monthly investment for the telematics technology? $3,750. Their net cost recovery cost? $12,750 per month.

By using a telematics solution, the dealership is expected to effectively return over $150,000 annually back to their bottom line.1

And the benefits of telematics aren’t limited to large dealer groups. For a dealer with a smaller fleet of 20 loaner vehicles, the cost savings from telematics remain quite compelling as well.


For now, telematics device plugs easily into any vehicle. In the future, we believe we will see telematics automatically integrated among several OEMs, making it even easier. But either way, it’s a simple process and does not require many steps or a complicated installation appointment.  You can install it yourself and get up and running right away.  Whether as a stand-alone solution or as an enhancement to existing loaner management applications, telematics can offer deep value to dealers.


Quick Turnaround for Fuel and Toll Reconciliation With telematics, fuel and toll costs are automatically paid back to the dealer. It’s a breeze to track and to estimate these monthly expenses going forward. You can even configure your own business rules as to what and when to charge (e.g., nothing below $5).

Charge for Damages, Tickets and More Telematics solutions retain customer payment information securely2 for items that appear later like tickets and damages, so dealers aren’t left holding the bag.

Maximizing Loaner Fleet Turns and Incentive Dollars When loaner vehicles are part of a manufacturer program, it is important to follow all the rules to avoid costly mistakes. Some OEMs have specific guidelines on mileage and length of time the vehicle is mandated to be in service. Getting it wrong can mean lost dealer incentive dollars and diminished vehicle residual value.  Telematics can set alerts to maximize loaner vehicle turns and utilization – and help avoid manufacturer chargebacks.


Proactive Maintenance and Repair Not keeping up with maintenance usually leads to extended vehicle downtime and multiple vehicles needing service at once. Not to mention the lost dollars that come from missing the mileage cap set by your OEM. Your business, your customers and your bottom line suffer when vehicles are out of service and need replacements and repairs sooner than you expected. Using telematics to monitor your vehicles enables you to efficiently schedule and maintain service by regularly monitoring and setting maintenance, and sends alerts that give you enough leeway to plan for downtime.

GPS Notification Do you know where your loaner car is? Telematics allows real-time tracking, so dealers know where their vehicles are at all times. So it’s easy to see if the customer took the loaner home or drove it out of state, unauthorized.  Or if the driving pattern indicates the car is being used inappropriately, say for Uber or Lyft2. Have employees that like to take your loaners out for a spin? Not a problem with telematics in place. The devices can alert you if there isn’t an open service ticket associated with the vehicle.

Remote Audit Capability Telematics enables dealers to perform a remote audit. So there’s no need to go out and touch every single vehicle. Dealers can obtain a live map of vehicle assets and whether the cars are parked or actually in.


 Loaner Connect from Clutch Technologies is an intelligent, digitized telematics solution that doesn’t require dealership employees to upload information on fuel spend or vehicle maintenance into spreadsheets. It’s easy to use and seamlessly integrates into existing back office systems. And it’s affordable.

Even better, dealers can immediately begin using Clutch’s Loaner Connect technology to drive more value and profit out of their existing loaner operation and fixed-ops business while building infrastructure for new profit centers in the longer term. The easy installation and simplified administration, coupled with unmatched service and support, can yield maximum return on investment.

Loaner Connect is built on the Clutch platform, which means dealers can easily layer add-on service offerings like valet service, vehicle-on-demand rentals, single vehicle subscriptions, or multi-vehicle subscriptions. It’s an easy first step to laying the foundation for building added value (and revenue opportunities) with extended mobility services offerings in the future.

Let us show you how you can immediately implement and benefit from telematics technology at your dealership and how you can use it to help future-proof your dealership.

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  1. Not all dealers or dealer groups will experience this level of recovery. Example for illustrative purposes only.
  2. Terms are part of the customer agreement and is not done without customer awareness and permission.