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IFS serves a global array of customers and OEMs – Global fleet


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Like many other successful entrepreneurs, Mike Libasci recognized an unmet need and began to address it.

The result: International Fleet Sales (IFS), founded in 1999 to meet the unique needs of international customers for General Motors (GM) North American vehicles.

Today, IFS works closely with GM (as the sole approved exporter of GM North American products) and other manufacturers to provide a wide range of services to customers around the world. the world, who have the need to find, customize and import high-quality cars and trucks.

The company is headquartered in San Leandro, California, with offices in Europe and Shanghai.

Full Service Global Fleet Support

According to Kreg Kitchen, vice president of IFS, the company’s all-inclusive services don’t depend on car brokers.

IFS works with each customer to define a portfolio of cost-effective product options that best suits their needs. The portfolio considers application specification, environment, language, regulatory and regulatory concerns.

The company’s services include vehicle order management and transportation logistics, financing options, equipment, spare parts supply, technical support and training, as well as warranty and recall management car.

Kitchen explains: “With 22 years of experience in the company, our strength lies in our team’s in-depth knowledge, flexibility and ability to serve customers from start to finish.

Working with OEM Partners

The IFS line of vehicles includes passenger cars; light, medium and heavy trucks; and equipped trucks and buses represent brands such as GM, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Isuzu, International and Navistar.

Kitchen points out that IFS honors agreements with GM and other OEMs. “We are careful not to advertise vehicle manufacturers that compete with our deal partners… IFS is not competing with OEMs but complementing, complementing and adding value to OEM products. ”

IFS also assists OEM partners to “cover markets where the product line has been taken out of the portfolio, supporting areas where there is a need but not enough for a single manufacturer to stay in the country, ” said Steve Higgs, IFS International Business Development Manager.

“We also help OEMs test new models in the market and introduce those models in a country,” added Higgs. “Overall, we work with our suppliers by handling the transportation of the vehicle from the time it leaves the United States to the time it is sold to the customer, including handling the necessary paperwork (e.g. e.g. export control regulations and local government homologation approvals) and have documentation in the local language.”

Customer base that spans the globe

IFS customers include companies—“small to very large”—governments, nonprofits, and agency groups.

The company provides specific value to non-profit clients. The IFS Development & Support Team helps humanitarian organizations “redirect precious time, focus and funding from transportation and logistics towards achieving their key end goals”.

For example, IFS partnered with GM to provide sales, service and fleet management solutions with GM Thailand’s Chevrolet Colorado and Trailblazer products – “vehicles perfectly designed and equipped for these environments rigorous school in which humanitarian organizations operate,” according to Kitchen.

The United Nations (UN) is another client. For the UN, IFS has established an agreement with Chinese manufacturer SINO to supply heavy trucks, including water tankers and refrigerated trucks, to UN efforts in Africa.

Looking ahead: Challenges & Opportunities

Along with the rest of the world, IFS faces the complexity of supply chain management and microchip shortages, Mr. Kitchen said.

To help ease the pain of these challenges, Higgs urges the IFS customer base to “become future-thinking.” He advises fleet managers to plan ahead and make decisions early in the process, working within current supply constraints in real time.

The global drive to electrification is a multifaceted challenge for the industry but one kitchen and Higgs believes also poses an opportunity for IFS.

“Which market will adapt first to wholesale vehicle electrification?” Kitchen set. “And which markets will continue to need vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine (ICE)?”

Presenting another puzzle are the many markets where the “marriage” between electric vehicles (EVs) and ICE vehicles will persist as fleets move to EVs but retain ICE units for some of the most applications. determined.

“The fleet will transition to all or almost all electric in the next few years,” said Mr. Kitchen. “How will that balance be managed? The opportunity for IFS is helping fleets through the transition with services not only for electric vehicles but the rest of ICE vehicles. ”

Higgs points out that the electrification infrastructure needed is another costly factor.

“Wishes are there – often driven or mandated by governments – but reality is another matter. For example, the average time to create a warehouse with 20 new booster stations is 18 months,” says Higgs.

Several countries are ahead in the development of electric vehicle infrastructure. “At the forefront are Europe, Israel, Costa Rica and China, where government policy aims to be the global leader in electrification,” says Higgs.

Higgs said less developed countries and regions are eager to transition, but cost and other obstacles such as frequent power outages hinder infrastructure building. He also acknowledges that even with the push for electrification, there will always be a need for ICE vehicles. IFS partnerships and OEM agreements will serve that customer need.

Identifying and meeting needs has always been a top priority for IFS, from its inception in 1999 until the future. “We are always looking for opportunities to expand our capabilities and product offerings in the marketplace,” says Kitchen.

Steve Higgs: Founding Member, Global Fleet Hall of Fame

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Born in Luton, Bedfordshire, UK, where Vauxhall Motors is headquartered, Steve Higgs seems destined for a career in the automotive industry. His first job was at Vauxhall (then a subsidiary of General Motors), now owned by Stellantis.

“It’s a great company to work for,” says Higgs. “They put me in college, where I studied mechanical engineering.”

So began a life in the automotive sector: over 46 years at GM and now with International Fleet Sales (IFS).

Widely known and respected in the global fleet, Higgs was a natural choice to be a founding member of the Global Fleet Management Hall of Fame, presented at the Conference The Global Fleet was recently in Miami, Florida.

“Surprised and very honored,” Higgs said. “I owe a lot of support from GM’s senior management regarding fleet and financing.”

Sponsored by Swedish automaker Polestar, the Global Fleet Hall of Fame recognizes multinational fleet industry leaders for careers marked by hard work, dedication and success. labour. They lead the global fleet challenge, sharing industry knowledge, best practices and expertise.

Join GM .’s global efforts

At GM, Higgs became regional sales manager in northern Scotland, working with dealers and customers. His role extended to regional management of all of Scotland, northern England and Northern Ireland.

“I developed an understanding of the dealers’ needs and how they functioned,” Higgs recalls.

In 1999, as major multinational corporations approached automotive OEMs to capitalize on their global procurement footprints, GM created a management position, growing global and North American fleets, appointing Higgs into this position.

Relocating to the US with “family, dog, and cat,” Higgs soon launched the GM Fleet Operations global website and expanded GM’s internal communications to meet the needs of its multinational fleets in different locations. Big market. Next, he founded GM’s Global Fleet Advisory Board.

Over the next few decades, Higgs forged a global network of friends and contacts. His philosophy – “Never let the first answer NOT be the last!” – speaks of his negotiation skills and ability to promote communication between manufacturers and customers.

“Once the customer fully understands what the manufacturer has done and then has the opportunity to provide input, the manufacturer can use those insights to better meet the customer’s needs.” he pointed out.

In 2019, Higgs retired early from GM but continues to be active in the industry. Now, he “enjoys” his role as director of international sales development for IFS, the only authorized dealer to export GM products outside of the US.

Meet a changing industry

“Change is happening more rapidly than ever in the fleet,” says Higgs.

“The importance of driver safety has grown, as has technology increasingly played a key role in creating fleet efficiency,” said the industry veteran.

He believes fleet operations initially reported to the procurement department should be much more strategic in working with the procurement, human and financial units.

Higgs has seen the role of fleet management companies shift as smaller fleets turn to them for help with government regulations, measures and technology.

“Fleet management companies have the personal and broad knowledge to help fleets, increasingly small to medium sized fleets with intelligence and strategy,” says Higgs. Higgs said.

He also cited the challenge of the growing green movement as more and more companies are being pushed by the government to invest in alternative energy technologies.

“Get involved as much as possible with manufacturers and fleet management companies,” he advises today’s fleet managers. “Trust what these partners tell you; By helping you, they help themselves. They are a guide to what’s out there. ”

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