Data accrued via a detailed survey of some 500 members conducted by the Truck Renting & Leasing Association (TRALA) indicates that 22% to 24% of all Class 2-7 trucks on the road today are leased or rented in some fashion, rising to 25% to 28% in the Class 8 segment.
Jake Jacoby, TRALA’s president and CEO, told Fleet Owner those growing percentages – based on 2014 data – are partly due to “so much uncertainty” in the trucking market, particularly in terms of current and potential regulatory and tax rule changes, as well as the steep rise in commercial truck sticker prices over the last decade.
“There’s been a sense that no one knows what is coming next, so many may feel reluctant to invest directly in new equipment,” he explained; calling that a “macro-economic” factor driving up leasing demand.
“And, boy, are these trucks expensive today at $130,000 per [Class 8] truck,” Jacoby added. “That’s another reason for leasing: to save on capital.”
A big factor in that expense relates to over a decade of emission control technology mandates; rules that not only increased the base cost of commercial trucks but made them more complicated to maintain, Jacoby noted.
“Trucks today are much more technically advanced,” he stressed. “You can’t just pop open the hood and fix them yourself. You need a well-trained technician to take care of it.”
That’s also driving demand for full-service leasing, Jacoby noted, which incorporates maintenance as a fixed cost within the lease agreement – viewed as something of a “safety net” for many fleet operators.
Some of the other data TRALA gleaned from its member survey, which it hopes to repeat every two to three years going forward:
- TRALA members purchased 80,899 Class 2-7 trucks or 22% of all retail sales in 2014 as well as 42,423 Class 8 tractors or 25% of all retail Class 8 sales that year as well.
- Total number of Class 2-7 trucks in TRALA-member fleets back in 2014 reached 347,181 units or 22% to 24% of the total fleet.
- Total number of Class 8 tractors in TRALA-member fleets back in 2014 topped out at 189,285 units or 25% to 28% of the total fleet.
- Of the Class 2-7 TRALA-owned truck population, some 46% are in consumer rental, 30% under commercial lease and 22% in commercial rental.
- Of the Class 8 tractor population, some 69% are in commercial leases and 25% in commercial rental.
- As a group, total annual “dry” rental and lease revenue for TRALA members (excluding fuel sales) totaled $13.91 billion in 2014.