The Car and Truck Fleet and Leasing Management Magazine

100-Plus Most Important Events in Fleet

As John F. Kennedy once said, “History is a relentless master. It has no present, only the past rushing into the future. To try to hold fast is to be swept aside.”

January 2013, by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

The past 75 years in the fleet industry is full of company origins and acquisitions, new concepts to help the industry move forward, the birth of associations to improve the industry, and a rollercoaster of fiscal ups and downs.

Today, fleet is a thriving, growing industry full of phenomenal people. Take a look back to learn more about the path the industry took to get where it is today.


● 1938: Wheels, Inc. founded as Four Wheels.


● 1946: Peterson, Howell & Heather formed partnership.

● 1946: LendLease Cars, Inc. was founded.

● 1948: Automotive Rentals, Inc. (ARI) was founded.

● 1949: McCullagh Leasing was founded.

● Late 1940s: Concept of drop-shipping fleet vehicles was developed.


● Early 1950s: Tire companies began national account billing.

● 1951: Peterson, Howell & Heather introduced nation’s first open-end (or finance) lease.

● 1952: LMV Leasing (Lease Motor Vehicle Co.) was founded.

● 1954: Partnership developed into Peterson, Howell & Heather, Inc. (PHH).

● 1955: American Automotive Leasing Association (AALA) was formed.

● 1957: General Leasing Co. established, later known as GELCO.

● 1957: Enterprise Leasing Co. founded.

● 1957: Mike Albert Fleet Solutions was founded (as Mike Albert Leasing).

● 1957: National Association of Fleet Administrators (NAFA) was founded.

● 1958: Ford developed Ford Authorized Leasing System (FALS) program.

● 1959: Wheels and PH&H installed first IBM computers.


● 1960s: Seatbelts installed in fleet vehicles.

● 1961: Bobit Publishing Company started.

● 1961: Buick Skylark was the first non-Chevrolet, Ford, or Plymouth vehicle to enter the fleet market.

● 1962: Merchants Leasing was founded.

● 1962: Chrysler announced its entrance into car and truck leasing business, formed Chrysler Leasing Corp.

● 1963: The IRS announced the drawing up of permanent regulations permitting a lessor to treat a lessee as purchaser of equipment for the Investment Tax Credit (ITC).

● 1964: United States Fleet Leasing, Inc. (USFL) was founded as Vehicle Lease & Management Services, Inc.

● 1965: Donlen Corp. was founded.

● 1967: California moved violation of odometer tampering from misdemeanor to felony charge.

● 1969: Automotive Fleet & Leasing Association (AFLA) founded, the first meeting took place in Toronto, Canada.


● 1970s: Funding choices emerged, such as fixed- versus floating-rate financing and commercial paper.

● 1970s: Accident management programs became available as a supplemental service offered by independent vehicle mechanical repair companies.

● 1971: Kerr Leasing, Inc. was established.

● 1972: General Leasing Co. changed name to GELCO Corp.

● 1972: GM set up “Fleet Distant Delivery Assistance” program to compete with Ford Authorized Leasing System (FALS) program.

● 1972: Nissan established fleet department.

● 1973-1974: OPEC oil embargo against U.S. and other nations, resulted in gas rationing.

● 1975: Toyota established fleet department.

● 1976: Volkswagen established fleet department.

● 1976: California Vehicle Leasing Association (CVLA), forerunner to the National Vehicle Leasing Association(NVLA), formed in California.

● 1976: Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB), enacted Rule 13, effective starting 1977, requiring all obligations under finance leases (capital leases) be shown on a lessee balance sheet as liabilities.

● 1978: The IRS considered defining open-end leases as conditional sales.

● 1978: Dart Industries formed Dart Leasing.

● 1979: During President Jimmy Carter’s term, the second fuel crisis occurred.

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  1. 1. Kelly Brannon [ February 07, 2013 @ 01:31PM ]

    I am sad that Union Leasing was not mentioned on this list. They first opened their doors in 1955 and are still going strong.


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