PACCAR Opens Rentals Arm

PACCAR Australia has announced at the Brisbane Truck Show that it will soon be offering its own truck rental and leasing services.

The first PacLease Australia outlet will be based at the PACCAR-owned Kenworth DAF dealership in Laverton, Melbourne, with the operation to be headed up by the venture’s US-born Director, Olen Hunter (pictured).

Mr Hunter is a 23-year veteran of the truck leasing/rental world; he was previously North American Director of Sales for PacLease, a position he had held since 2006.

Australia is the seventh nation to welcome PACCAR’s rental/leasing operations. First established in the US some 35 years ago, it also operates in Canada, Mexico, Germany, Hungary, and the Czech Republic.

While PACCAR said it had been eyeing this opportunity from as early as 2008, Mr Hunter said the correct market conditions were now in place to ensure the venture’s success.

“Now we think the timing’s right,” he said.

“Yes the economy has dropped off a little bit, people have pulled in their belts a little bit, but the average truck age is extremely high and if trucks start breaking down they’re going into workshops. People still have to work and that causes the need for truck rental.”

Beyond the high average age of the Australian truck fleet, Mr Hunter said increasing vehicle technology was also an important factor in expanding any truck rental business.

“I call it the ‘three Ts': tooling, training and technicians,” he said.

“Tooling for the new technology gets very expensive, training your average mechanic for the new technology is very expensive, and you definitely need a different type of technician these days – they need to be able to work a computer, too,” he said.

Renting (by definition a term of less than 12 months) or leasing (a term of more than 12 months) means operators can avoid the peaks and troughs typically associated with the maintenance costs incurred over the life of a truck. For a set rental or leasing fee all maintenance is covered and carried out by those to know the vehicle best – the company that manufactured it.

“If you think about it, we’ve got the right tooling, we’ve got the right training, we’ve got the right technicians, and we’ve got the investment in all these Kenworth DAF dealers around the country – nobody can service the trucks better than we can,” said Mr Hunter.

“We just leverage that competitive advantage to help our customers – that’s what rental and leasing is all about.”

Mr Hunter said he expects the PacLease network to expand rapidly.

“Within the next three to five years we expect to be in every capital city of every state at a minimum,” he said.

“I’ve been sent down to get it kicked off. I’m hiring a lease and rental manager for that [Melbourne/Victoria] market and, once our people are trained, I’m shifting my focus to begin working with our dealers to set up PacLease franchises out of their dealerships.

“It’s a very big competitive advantage for our dealers to get involved with this.”

An initial fleet of 10 vehicles at the Laverton PacLease outlet comprises three of the new DAF LF 55s in a rigid, 14-pallet curtainsider configuration, plus five DAF FTT CF 85 prime movers rated for single-trailer work and two DAF FTT XF 105 prime movers rated for B-double work.

Mr Hunter said the cab-over DAFs are ideally suited to rental operations due to their tighter turning circles and excellent visibility, but Kenworth rental trucks wouldn’t be far away.

“I think there will be a lot of draw for the Kenworth product – it’s certainly desirable in the marketplace – and we’re just fine-tuning some specification on what that’s going to look like,” he said.

“I would say that in the next 90 days you’ll see some Kenworth rental equipment in there as well.”

PacLease Australia offers rentals for a day, a week, a month or more, plus longer-term leasing contracts along with maintenance contracts for existing Kenworth/DAF owners.

PacLease Australia will be opening its doors for business from around the start of June, with the firm’s new website – www.paclease.com.au – to go live on June 1.

The arrival of PacLease will certainly heat things up in Australia’s truck rental market. Penske Truck Rentals entered the local market last August, offering rental and leasing contracts on a variety of MAN and Western Star trucks, and the business has been expanding rapidly ever since.

Its initial Brisbane outlet was backed up by Melbourne branch last February, with the company recently announcing that several more branches are in the pipeline.