Europeans Buying Miles Instead Of Trucks

March 10, 1999

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British truckers are testing a new Pay-As-You-Use leasing plan offered by Freightliner parent DaimlerChrysler. If everything goes well, the plan could come to the United States as early as this year.

The idea behind the program is to link operational costs to revenues earned. The truck operator benefits from improved cash flow and reduced ownership risk.
Unlike traditional leasing plans, there are no excess mileage charges. If the operator finds he has greater need of the vehicle during a particular month, he simply carries on, knowing he will be charged for the extra mileage at the same agreed per-mile rate.
All repairs and maintenance are included, and options such as tire costs, windshield repair and vehicle replacement can also be factored in. The truck dealer does all the paperwork.
To determine the miles charged, before delivery, the vehicle is fitted with a sealed “black box” data recorder linked to the odometer. About the size of a mobile phone, the device automatically records the odometer reading on a pre-agreed day, usually once a month. The reading is then automatically transmitted by mobile phone to the computer at the leasing operation – in this case CharterWay, the contract-hire arm of Mercedes-Benz Finance in Europe. A satellite link could also be used. An itemized bill is sent via the mail. Thirty days later, CharterWay debits the operator’s bank account for the required amount.
For more on how this program works, see future issues of Newport’s Heavy Duty Trucking, RoadStar or Truck Sales & Leasing magazines.

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