Truck renter shifts to automatics

After seven years operating an Allison automatic equipped UD, Australian Trucks and 4WD Rentals has decided to gradually replace all of its manual trucks with fully automatic versions.

The company, which is the Hertz Truck Rentals franchisee for South Australia, NSW andVictoria, has more than 1200 commercial vehicles in its rental fleet including eight UD MK6 Automatics.

According to Peter Gould, Australian Truck and 4WD Rentals’ chief executive, successful trials of a number of UD Automatics over the past seven years have shown that fully automatic trucks are the preferred option for the company’s future truck purchases.

“We bought our first UD PK Automatic in 2004, and it performed well in our fleet for almost seven years with lower maintenance and repair costs. Furthermore, we recently sold this truck and its resale value was brilliant,” Gould said.

“That truck covered almost a quarter of a million kilometres and provided us with a strong income stream including four years on permanent lease with FreightVictoria,” he added. “Its retained value when sold was 38 percent of the original purchase price, such is the demand for automatic medium duty trucks.”

Since buying the original PK automatic, the Hertz franchise has added a further eight MK6 Auto models which have also proven to be more cost effective to maintain – as well as having strong appeal with rental customers – than manual counterparts.

“The automatic UDs have saved us money when it comes to operating costs, particularly related to brakes and clutches,” Peter Gould confirmed. “On average we keep our medium-duty trucks for five years, and with a manual truck we would budget on changing at least two clutches in that time at an average of $2000 each in replacement costs.

“The automatics are also typically easier on the brakes,” he added. “This means we save money on the number of brake relines we have to do across the life of the vehicle, not to mention the reduced down time.

“The fact that the Allison transmission is available with a full five-year extended warranty in the UDs is another factor that added to the automatic’s appeal, because we know that for all or most of the time the truck is on our rental fleet, we are covered against any failure.”

Gould says that while the company cannot charge more for the automatic trucks, this offering assists Hertz in maintaining market leadership, and helps position the company as the first place to call when hiring a truck.

“When renters try the Allison automatics and realise how easy they are to drive and operate, they often keep the rental truck longer because they can be more productive. 

“The performance of the Allison equipped UDs has meant that we are now looking to eventually make our entire truck fleet automatic.”


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