Geology Summer Courses and Enterprise Rental Issues 2009

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by Terry Stigall

There are none. Enterprise was NOT used to supply the large SUV vehicles for the IU summer geology field courses in Montana. And the best thing that came from this? NO FLAT TIRES! Not a single flat tire occurred over the course of the whole summer due to the efforts of IU Purchasing and IU Motorpool to provide the vehicles needed WITH the tires best suited for Montana roads.
As the new 2009 year rolled around, Enterprise was making promises they could do better than last year and supply us with the 25 vehicles we needed to run the field station courses in Montana. Then a few months later, things took a serious turn, Enterprise announced they were no longer providing IU with large SUV’s to rent. The folks at IU purchasing were faced with the hard task of solving this problem on fairly short notice.
Due to this and other issues with Enterprise, IU sought a better alternative to using monthly rentals, Automotive Resources International (ARI) was contracted to provide the SUV’s we needed. ARI’s business is managing fleet vehicles, and they work closely with their customers to provide vehicles which meet a company’s unique needs. IU negotiated a 4 year lease option with ARI to provide 16 SUV’s to IU. Since Enterprise was slow to admit they would no longer be providing large SUV’s to IU, there was little time for ARI to find the quantity of SUV’s needed on such short notice. ARI had ordered new Chevrolet Suburbans, but it was discovered the automotive plant was not scheduled to start production on them until July ‘09, much too late for our needs.
ARI allowed IU Motorpool and IU Purchasing to FIND the vehicles we needed and buy them right from the dealer, with the desired off-road tires needed for Montana. IU procured 8 GMC YUKON SUV’s on a 4 year lease with ARI, to be used as if they were purchased, where IU Motorpool will do the maintenance licensing and departmental renting of the vehicles. Eight other Large SUV’s, Ford Expeditions, were provided by ACE rental on a monthly basis for the summer. ACE was very cooperative and allowed IU Motorpool mechanics to mount 32 of the 90 heavy duty tires that IU had to purchase last year on these vehicles. However, some of the vehicles required a different tire size than the 90 that were on hand, so IU Motorpool purchased additional tires to make sure there were plenty of replacement tires available if needed for the duration of the trip.
The result of these efforts made for a very uneventful driving experience for the students and faculty. There were no flats tires and no safety issues related to tire problems. There were also a significant cost savings in renting this year’s vehicles as well. The courses were able to progress day to day on schedule, and this greatly relieved the faculty to be able to actually focus on teaching. Now that summer is over and Enterprise has left the Range Road facility, IU Motorpool is beginning to acquire the new Chevy Suburbans and is leasing around 30 cars from ARI for departmental use. This will result in greater savings to departments, with better accessibility, cleaner, more dependable vehicles and most of all, better customer service.
Thank you to the IU officials, IU Purchasing, Mike Hardesty and the Motorpool mechanics for their diligent efforts to provide us the vehicles with the safety features needed for the IU Judson Mead Geologic Field Station. And thank you again for providing a better vehicle leasing option that better serves the IU community. Call IU Motorpool at 855-3300 for your departmental vehicle needs—SUV’s, cars and minivans.