Consolidation typically occurs in emerging industries, but, sometimes “trigger” events occur, which causes a wholesale “reordering” of an established industry segment. This occurred in the telecommunications industry, with the trigger events being the government-mandated breakup of AT&T and the emergence of cellular technology. This, likewise, occurred in the airline industry with deregulation of the passenger air carriers.
A common denominator with all of these industry consolidations was a change in governmental regulations, emerging (disruptive) technology, or changes in the tax code.
This is what occurred in the fleet leasing industry triggered by the Tax Reform Act of 1986. Without a doubt, the Tax Reform Act of 1986 was the watershed event in the fleet leasing industry, the consequences of which are still playing out to this day.
Prior to 1986, significant tax benefits from the investment tax credit (ITC) prompted companies such as Dart & Kraft, PepsiCo, and Xerox to acquire existing fleet leasing companies. However, as a result of the repeal of the ITC, many corporate entities sold off their fleet leasing business units.
Around this time, General Electric entered the market as a ready buyer and initiated a series of rapid-fire acquisitions that coalesced the industry into today’s 10 major fleet management companies.
Similarly, in the truck and trailer leasing business, there was significant consolidation. One example of the pell-mell acquisition trend in that industry segment was UPS Leasing being purchased by Rollins Leasing, and, in turn, Rollins, purchase by Penske.
Another factor causing consolidation in the fleet leasing industry was that many smaller regional lessors were family-run businesses, which, upon the eve of a generational transition sought to sell the business. Also, many smaller companies came to the realization that they would be unable to compete with larger lessors in staying current with the technological evolution of fleet management.
Fleet management companies began offering computerized online services in the 1980s, including online maintenance management programs and customer online access systems. In the 1990s, fleet management companies dramatically and quickly shifted to Web-enabled services.
Ultimately, every service offered by fleet management companies was converted to a Web-enabled program, which dramatically increased fleet productivity, but required a substantial corporate investment.
On the following pages is a chronology of the consolidation of the fleet leasing and management industry. The Chinese proverb says, “May you live in interesting times,” which, in our opinion, best summarizes industry developments in the fleet leasing industry from 1985 to the present.
Acquisitions/Mergers in the Fleet Leasing Industry since 1985
- 1989 Holman Enterprises Acquires Lend Lease Cars Portfolio - Dec. 1, 1989
- 1993 ARI & Zapata Form ARIZA in Mexico
- 1994 First European Alliance: Start of Global Fleet Services with ORIX and Dial
- 1996 ARI and Dial Holdings Ltd. Sign International Fleet Management Alliance - July 24, 1996
- 2010 ARI Acquires Assets of Auto Truck Group (ATG), Merges Fleet Body Equipment into ATG - December 2010
- 2011 ARI Acquires Fleet Support Group (FSG) in the UK - December 2011
- 2011 Donlen Becomes Subsidiary of Hertz - Sept. 1, 2011
- 2004 Emkay Purchases Leasing Portfolio from Auto Rental Corporation, Division of AMI Leasing in Mass. - October 2004
- 2011 Emkay Purchases Canadian Assets From JPL Vehicle Management Services - Feb. 28, 2011
GE Capital Fleet Services
- 1988 GE Capital Officially Completes Integration of GELCO, D&K Financials, and Kerr Leasing Into Single Entity Known as GE Capital Fleet Services - December 1988
- 1988 GE Capital Fleet Services Acquires Sherwood Industries
- 1989 GE Capital Fleet Services Acquires The Leasing Emporium
- 1990 GE Capital Fleet Services Acquires McCullagh Leasing - Jan. 30, 1990
- 1992 McCullagh, Owned by GE, Buys Ballas Leasing for $23 Million - March 1992
- 1992 McCullagh Buys Mossy Vehicle Leasing in San Diego - May 1992
- 1992 McCullagh Buys Suburban Portfolio for $10 Million - August 1992
- 1991 GE Capital Fleet Services Acquires American Auto Leasing Corp. and Hansen Leasing Corp.
- 1991 GE Acquires Tool Truck Assets of Major Leasing - February 1991
- 1991 GE Capital Buys American Automobile Leasing Corp. - May 1991
- 1991 GE Capital Completes Purchase of LMV Leasing - June 1991
- 1991 LMV Top Management Integrated into GE Capital Fleet Services - July 1991
- 1991 GE Capital Fleet Services Integrates LMV Portfolio - August 1991
- 1993 GE Capital Fleet Services Acquires Main Auto Leasing
- 1994 GE Capital Fleet Services Buys Triathlon Leasing in Canada - Jan. 31, 1994
- 1994 GE Capital Acquires Logeroute in France - March 11, 1994
- 1994 GE Acquires Skandic Bilfinans in Sweden - April 1994
- 1995 GE Capital Fleet Acquires Avis Lease AS in Norway - Oct. 2, 1995
- 1995 GE Capital's Avis Fleet Services Buys Leasecontracts, plc in the UK - Oct. 16, 1995
- 1995 GE Capital's Avis Fleet Services Buys Evans Halshaw in the U.K. - Dec. 4, 1995
- 1996 GE Capital Increases Penske Truck Leasing Ownership to 79% - Feb. 9, 1996
- 1996 GE Capital Buys Banesto GEA Services S.p.A. in Italy - Feb. 22, 1996
- 1996 GE Capital Buys JMJ Fleet Management and JMJ Fleet Leasing in Australia - June 5,1996
- 1997 GE Capital Acquires Hikenear Ltd. in the UK
- 1997 GE Capital Fleet Services Buys Dutch Lessor ARO Lease - June 23, 1997
- 1997 GE Capital Acquires Czech Republic's Vega Leasing and UnionBank of Switzerland's Car Leasing Business - August 1997
- 1997 GE Capital Acquires TLS Vehicle Rental Group in the UK - August 1997
- 1998 GE Capital Buys Corporate Leases in New Zealand - May 1998
- 1998 GE Capital Acquires Pantech Vehicle Services Ltd. and Motor Industry Marketing Ltd.
- 1999 GE Capital Acquires InTraffic AB in Sweden
- 2002 GE Capital Fleet Services Acquires Wells Fargo Leasing in U.S.
- 2002 GE Capital Acquires Suomen Autorahoitus Oy in Finland
U.S. Fleet Leasing
U.S. Leasing, the parent company of U.S. Fleet Leasing, was acquired by Ford in 1987. Ford sold the U.S. Fleet Leasing business to Associates in 1996 for $875 million.
- 1987 Ford Acquires United States Leasing International, the ParentCompany of U.S. Fleet Leasing - October 1987
- 1992 U.S. Fleet Leasing Combined with UK Fleet Operation - August 1992
- 1992 U.S. Fleet Leasing Buys Curry Auto Leasing, Inc. - September 1992
- 1994 U.S. Fleet Leasing Changes Name to USL Capital Fleet Services - January 1994
- 1996 Ford Sells USL Capital’s Rail Services Unit - July 1996
- 1996 USL Capital’s Transportation and Industrial Financing (T&I) Lease Portfolio Sold to BankAmerica - July 26, 1996
Associates was acquired by Citibank Financial Services, whose fleet leasing portfolio was later acquired by GE Capital.
- 1987 Associates Leasing Acquires Fruehauf Finance Co. in Detroit - May 1987
- 1990 Associates Buys TransAmerica Fleet Leasing - December 1990
- 1992 Trans-National Leasing Acquired by Associates for $6.1 Million - September 1992
- 1994 Associates Leasing Buys Major Leasing’s Car Portfolio - March 1994
- 1995 Associates Leasing Buys Figgie International Leasing Business -June 13, 1995
- 1996 Associates Acquires U.S. Fleet Leasing (USFL) from Ford -September 1996
- 2001 Associates Acquired by CitiGroup - September 2001
- 2005 GE Capital Fleet Services Acquires Walden Leasing
- 2006 GE Capital Acquires Custom Fleet Ltd. in UK
- 2007 GE Capital Acquires Disko Leasing GmbH ("DISKO") in Germany
- 2007 GE Capital Acquires Auto-Service Leasing GmbH ("ASL") in Germany
- 1994 LeasePlan Holding Changes Name to ABN AMRO Lease Holding - March 1994
- 1997 LeasePlan USA Acquires Leased Vehicles Company and Neville Leasing in Atlanta
- 2000 LeasePlan Acquires Consolidated Service Corporation, a Chicago-based Fleet Management Company - December 2000
- 2003 ABN AMRO Lease Holding N.V. – LeasePlan USA Parent Company - Changes Name to LeasePlan Corporation N.V.
- 2004 Merchants Leasing Acquires Myrick Leasing
- 2008 Merchants Leasing Acquires One Fleet Source in Kansas City, Kan. - Sept. 30, 2008
- 2010 Merchants Leasing Acquires ALD Automotive USA - Aug. 31, 2010
- 1994 Motorlease Acquires BGS Leasing
- 1991 Avis Leasing Integrated Into PHH FleetAmerica - November 1991
- 1994 PHH Name Changes to PHH Vehicle Management Services - May 1, 1994
- 1996 PHH Corp. and HFS Inc. Announce Merger - Nov. 11, 1996
- 1999 PHH Vehicle Management Services Acquired by Avis Group
- 2000 PHH Signs Alliance Agreement with Arval Service Lease S.A. in Europe – June 30, 2000. Begins Doing Business Under Name PHH Arval
- 2001 Avis Group (Including PHH Fleet Business) Reacquired by Cendant Corp.
- 2004 PHH Acquires First Fleet Corp - February 2004
- 2005 Spinoff of PHH Corporation by Cendant Corp. (Including PHH Fleet Business)
- 2010 PHH Arval Acquires Center for Transportation Safety - July 2010
- 2003 Sutton Acquires DALCO Auto Leasing in Dayton, Ohio
- 1989 Union Leasing Acquired by Chicago Freight Car Leasing
- 2011 Sasser Family Holdings Inc. Established, Union Leasing and Chicago Freight Car Leasing Now Organized Under Sasser Family Holdings
- 1999 Wheels’ Parent Company, Frank Consolidated Enterprises, Invests in Fleet Logistics International
- 2008 Wheels’ Parent Company, Frank Consolidated Enterprises, Disengages Partnership with Fleet Logistics
- 2009 Wheels Enters Global Partnership with ALD Automotive in Paris - April 2009