The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

Merchants Leasing Expands National Footprint

Originally a regional lessor, Merchants Leasing has expanded nationwide, primarily servicing fleets with 50-500 vehicles. Its core strategy is to provide customized products and services to meet specific client needs.

April 2010, by Mike Antich - Also by this author

Merchants Leasing has been leasing fleet vehicles for more than 40 years, beginning as part of the Merchants Motors automotive dealership, founded by Irving Singer in 1962.

The Merchants Automotive Group, as well as Merchants Leasing and other automotive businesses, is owned by Singer's sons Stephen, Robert, Alan, Jeffrey, Gary, and son-in-law Michael Sydney.

Starting as a regional lessor, Merchants Leasing has evolved into a nationwide fleet management company with a diversity of commercial leasing clients. Merchants Leasing also provides GSA fleet management programs and government vehicle leasing. Merchants Leasing reported successive record revenues in 2007, 2008, and 2009.

To learn more about Merchants Leasing, Automotive Fleet recently interviewed Robert Singer, senior vice president and principal of Merchants Leasing, and Gary Scanlon, national sales manager for Merchants Leasing. Below are excerpts from our interview.

AF: How do you position Merchants Leasing in the commercial fleet market?

SCANLON: We customize solutions that can be dramatically different from one client to the next. We also have a number of unique or near-unique products. This allows us to be creative to find solutions that work for a client based on what that client wants, as opposed to trying to get the client to change to fit the product.

If you talk about core products, we offer open- and closed-end leases, for example. Not all companies do that. We're not trying to force someone to take the one product we offer. We are agnostic when it comes to that. We're trying to find the best solution for them. Within each of those products, we have unique terms, mileage, and months-in-service - features that give a great deal of flexibility.

We offer some near-unique products, such as a full insurance product. There are just a few companies I know in the business that offer that.
We also offer a full maintenance product, as well as the traditional mainstream maintenance products.

SINGER: With our full maintenance product, whatever goes wrong with the vehicle is Merchants' responsibility. A customer never gets a bill, never cuts a purchase order, and never has to reimburse drivers. From day one, when a company executes a lease, they know what the costs are for the life of the lease. It's not only a good situation in terms of mitigating risk and knowing your cost, but it also eases the burden of administration.

We take the residual risk, maintenance risk, and the insurance risk. As a business owner, when I buy something, I want to know what it costs me when I buy it. I don't want to know three or four years from now.

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