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Private fleets move to leasing

June 1, 2021
According to NPTC’s Benchmarking Survey Report 2020, the benefits of leasing are beginning to outweigh those of purchasing. How will that impact 2021 plans?

It seems like we are seeing a migration of fleets from vehicle ownership to leasing. At least that seems to be the case for private fleets, according to the National Private Truck Council’s (NPTC) Benchmarking Survey Report 2020.

The report found that in 2020, “35% of the fleets reported owning the majority of their heavy-duty power equipment, compared to 47% that so reported last year and 40% the year before.” In addition, 33% of the fleets reported leasing all or a majority of their heavy-duty units, up significantly from the total of 20% reported last year and the 23% two years ago. The balance of the fleets, according to the NPTC survey, reported using a combination of ownership and leasing for their heavy-duty vehicles.

Another detail of the survey is that fleets that leased trucks—and in many cases trailers, too—were more likely to outsource the maintenance of those trucks. NPTC said that was done by a factor greater than 2:1. Here is the really interesting finding: Fleets that preferred leasing and outsourced their maintenance, had a lower breakdown percentage compared to fleets that owned their assets and were more likely to perform their own maintenance. Think about that.

Whether you are a private fleet or a for-hire carrier, now might be a good time to consider leasing. Vehicle technology is changing at a dizzying pace, and leasing lets fleets run newer equipment which tends to be more fuel efficient and have more safety-related equipment. Full-service leasing also takes the burden of vehicle maintenance and repair from the fleet. Given the technician shortage this can be a big help to fleets.

Leasing can lead to operational cost savings, and it takes the guesswork out of determining what your monthly operating costs will be. Leasing can also protect you from the vagaries of the used truck market.

Leasing is also a good way to test new technology in your fleet. This will become increasingly important as we continue to see developments in the electric truck space because it will allow fleets to see how electric-powered trucks perform in their operation without having to make a long-term commitment.

Many private fleets have recognized the value of leasing. In fact, 56% of the Class 8 vehicle population is leased while 44% is owned, according to the NPTC survey.  The association called this “a stunning reversal over last year.”

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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