Douglas Clark, president & CEO of NationaLease and Ameriquest, which merged in December, thinks the prospects for truck leasing are bright given all the changes occurring because of tighter emission standards.
“Emissions reductions and engine technology changes is an opportunity for the whole [leasing] industry,” Clark said.
“It takes a compelling event to change the way truckers run their business; to make them consider new options. And tighter emission regulations are creating that ‘compelling event’ for us,” he explained. “It’s affecting equipment price and maintenance. And as we get more and more sophisticated technology, the need to look for alternatives to buying and managing your equipment on your own will grow.”
Clark talked to FleetOwner while visiting the headquarters of the Truck Renting And Leasing Association (TRALA) in Alexandria, VA. Peter Vroom, TRALA’s president & CEO, echoed Clark’s optimistic outlook.
“Leasing is in a better situation than most,” Vroom said. “Trucking equipment is getting far more sophisticated, regulations governing operations– from HOS [hours of service] to security– are getting more complex. That plays to the new image of the leasing company as a ‘risk manager.’ They are establishing the base cost for the lease and maintenance for the fleet, relieving the fleet of a large measure of uncertainty and transferring that risk to the leasing firm.”
Clark also feels the newly merged NationaLease-AmeriQuest is in a good position to benefit from these trends.
“This merger created a good geographic footprint for the both of us, extra business volume, plus more size and depth of services to really allow us to go after national account business,” he said. “Separately, we didn’t have that scale or scope. Now we can stand tall and compete.”
The key in leasing today, Clark said, is to really be a “one-stop shop” for fleet customers— either by offering all the services they need in-house or via partnerships with other firms.
“You need to offer a full range of products – from contract maintenance and full service leasing to used vehicle remarketing, route planning, and dedicated contract carriage – right along with economic and geographic scale,” he added. “But you must also have that local shop flavor, that personal touch. You must connect the local provider with the deeper national infrastructure– you can’t be an island to yourself in leasing anymore.”
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