BELLEVUE, Wash., June 4, 2015 – June marks the 35th anniversary of PACCAR Leasing Company (PacLease). The Bellevue, Wash.-headquartered company, has grown to become the fourth largest rental and leasing company with nearly 40,000 trucks in its fleet and over 550 locations. It’s also continued to grow internationally with PacLease entering the Australian market last month.
“We launched PacLease in 1980 as an extension of the Kenworth and Peterbilt dealership retail arms,” said Neil Vonnahme, president of PacLease. “We wanted to assist PACCAR dealerships with rental and leasing opportunities in the United States and Canada, so they could offer their customers a full suite of equipment and services. And, we felt we could offer a competitive advantage by leasing custom-spec’d medium- and heavy-duty Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks.”
After its first year, the PacLease network consisted of 17 franchises with 100 trucks on full-service leases.
One of the first dealerships to embrace PacLease was the Palmer Leasing Group, headquartered in Indianapolis. “We wanted to augment truck sales with leasing to provide a turnkey solution to any customer coming into our truck dealership,” recalled Frank Walter, who served as general manager of the startup PacLease franchise (today, he is president of Palmer Leasing Group). “I remember we started slowly – having three or four rental trucks and only a couple units in a full-service lease after our first year. But we saw the future as being very bright. What we offered customers then, and still offer today, is rapid decision-making and local ownership, backed by the presence of PACCAR – one of the strongest companies in the world.”
According to Walter, making decisions on the spot with customers, coupled with the ability to custom-spec the trucks to a customer’s exact requirements, started setting PacLease apart from other leasing companies. “It’s what ultimately allowed our franchise to grow and expand into other locations,” he said. “Today, we’re the largest customer for our dealership and have more than 800 Kenworths in our lease and rental fleet, plus a few hundred more trucks in contract maintenance agreements. We take pride in our PacLease locations and work with our customers to become an integral part of their business.”
According to Vonnahme, the breadth of national services and programs offered by PACCAR Leasing has provided its franchises with growth opportunities. “Our dedicated emergency call center (PacCentral) was established to support our customers when PacLease was relatively young,” he said. “And our national accounts program, which began in 1987, has been instrumental in helping our customers who have multiple locations. We were one of the first leasing companies that offered telematics solutions through our PacTrac system, and in 2011, we were one of the first leasing companies to offer natural gas vehicles.”
Vonnahme said this has allowed PacLease to work with smaller companies on the local level, and large Fortune 500 companies on the national level. “Maximum uptime is critical to both small and large companies that work with us,” he said. “We have proven and reliable Kenworth and Peterbilt products. And we have the direct connection with Kenworth and Peterbilt, which allows our technicians to take advantage of factory training so they know the trucks better than anyone in the industry to ensure they’re running optimally. In addition, we know fleets are concerned with driver retention, and our two brands are at the top of drivers’ lists.”
Other PacLease milestones that have fostered growth include entering the Mexican market in 1996, Europe in 2007, and most recently, Australia, Vonnahme noted. “The flexibility of the PacLease model has proved successful,” he said. “We’re very customer focused and aggressively provide premium service to match premium PACCAR products.”
The growth of PacLease, and its national services, has led to new franchises joining the system every year. “Becoming part of PacLease in 2007 was a smart business decision,” said Glenn Larson, dealer principle of The Larson Group, which has locations throughout the Midwest. “Leasing has become a vital part of our business,” he said. “A large percent of the Peterbilt trucks coming out of our dealership go into a full-service lease. By offering a superior product, and backing it with great service and maintenance programs, we’ve seen nothing but growth within our PacLease business. Couple that service with the resources of PACCAR and we feel we’re unmatched when it comes to leasing.”
Through leasing and servicing vehicles, PacLease franchises have formed partnerships with its customers.
“We’ve been a PacLease customer since 1997,” said Kathy Lehne, president and founder of Houston-based Sun Coast Resources, which distributes fuel, oil and lubricants, and biodiesel throughout 40 states. “Like PacLease, we started small with a promise of exceptional customer service. When we started leasing from PacLease, we had only a few Peterbilt trucks.” Today, they operate close to 400 Peterbilts on full-service lease programs.
“As we near 20 years in our relationship with PacLease we feel a very close connection – Rush Truck Leasing is truly a partner in our operation. They’re there 24/7 for us, just as we’re there 24/7 for our customers. We have the same customer service mentality and they’ve separated themselves from other leasing companies – it’s why we’ve worked with them for so long. They know us and they know our needs – it’s this type of relationship that has allowed us both to grow and succeed.”
According to Vonnahme, keeping a finger on the pulse of customers, like Sun Coast Resources, is ultimately what leads to success. “We have an even brighter future ahead of us,” he said. “We have an exceptional dealer and franchise organization focused on delivering premium customer service, the resources and quality of PACCAR and a committed, talented PacLease Division team around the world. Our fleet size and customer base continues to grow, as do our product offerings and services; and our global footprint. I believe in the statement that excellence must be constantly pursued, but never attained, and our entire team expects to improve every day and be the ultimate transportation partner for our customers. In doing so, we should never lose focus on the customer.”
About PacLease and PACCAR
PACCAR Leasing Company (PacLease) is one of the fastest-growing commercial truck leasing companies in the transportation industry. PacLease has independent and company-owned full-service leasing locations throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Europe and Australia. PacLease provides customized full-service lease, rental and contract maintenance programs designed to meet the specific needs of customers. A combination of reliable, custom-built trucks and complete service offerings allows customers to maximize the value of their transportation resources.
PACCAR Leasing is a part of the financial services group of PACCAR Inc, a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF nameplates. PACCAR shares are traded on the Nasdaq Stock Market, symbol PCAR, and its homepage can be found at www.paccar.com.