Vehicle management firm PHH Arval and its truck finance leasing sister company First Fleet Corp. are forming a new dedicated truck group to expand light, medium, and heavy truck services to private fleets.
Called PHH FirstFleet, the new organization will offer a range of services in addition to its core finance leasing business, including:
- consulting expertise to help maximize truck and equipment investments;
- new financing options;
- engineering and specifications, ordering, upfitting, and delivery services;
- fuel, maintenance, and accident management offerings.
“What we want to become is a ‘one stop shop’ for a private fleet’s truck needs,” explained George Kilroy, president & CEO of PHH Arval during a conference call with reporters. “We want to be able to cover all the dimensions of trucking today, from telematics to road maintenance services.”
PHH FirstFleet will be headed by Michael Lewis, president & gm of First Fleet Corp., with its focus remaining strictly on private fleet customers. “We may broaden our focus to include smaller private fleet customers than in the past, but we’re not going to add for-hire customers,” he said.
Lewis noted that while there isn’t nearly as much volatility in the private fleet sector of trucking compared to for-hire, he still expects First Fleet’s leasing volume to fall off somewhat at the start of 2007 due to the introduction of tighter emission rules, resulting in more expensive trucks.
“We expect the truck leasing business to tail down somewhat by the end of ’07 but come back in ’08 and strengthen through ’09 ahead of the round of emission reductions in 2010,” Lewis said.
Yet he also pointed out that those very same emission rule changes, combined with the current state of high fuel prices, could end up driving more business to PHH First Fleet’s new ancillary operation, especially for its fuel management and maintenance services.
“Those are the two offerings I feel are going to be the strongest out of the gate – especially maintenance as private fleets in general are not as up on the ’07 technology changes as many for-hire carriers,” he said. “We’re working with third party providers to build a nationwide maintenance network that we hope will be in place by the end of this year.”