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Penske opens truck rental agency in Australia

MAN handling: This MAN prime mover is on the new Penske Truck Rental fleet in Brisbane.

First it was truck imports, now truck rentals as Penske spreads its wings Down Under

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General News logo13 Aug 2014

AMERICAN motor industry giant Penske Automotive Group has stepped up its Australian presence another notch by opening the first in what is expected to become a chain of truck rental agencies across the country under its Penske Truck Rental flag.

The new venture is based in Queensland at its Brisbane Truck Centre dealership at Rocklea, which it acquired as part of its purchase of the Commercial Vehicle Group from Transpacific in August last year.

The group has the import rights for MAN, Western Star and Dennis Eagle commercial vehicles for Australia and New Zealand. MAN and Western Star prime movers make up the initial 20 trucks on offer for rental at the Brisbane centre.

The Penske group was founded by former racing driver Roger Penske, who built it into one of America’s biggest automotive companies with vast investments in motor retailing, vehicle rental, motor sport and – at one time – diesel engine manufacturing through Detroit Diesel.

In Australia, Penske has not ruled out expanding its interests into the same areas, with rumours that it is negotiating with Australian motor racing legend Dick Johnson to take over his Queensland-based Ford V8 Supercar team as a way of promoting its burgeoning business interests in this country.

Penske Commercial Vehicle Australia general manager of marketing Cris Gillespie told GoAuto today that Brisbane had been selected for the first truck rental agency because the company already owned facilities there at its sales centre.

He described the venture as a “test scenario”, with the objective of spreading to other major cities across Australia is all went well in Brisbane.

“There are no firm intentions or plans as to when the next set-up will be in Sydney, Melbourne or other parts of Australia,” he said. “But the intention is to move into those areas – we can say that much.

“The intention is to get an idea of the market in that area, and then slowly move into other areas of Australia.” Mr Gillespie said the company had no firm plans to enter car retailing or other automotive businesses in Australia.

“Certainly the opportunity for retail is there and we have plenty of experience in it, but we have no firm intentions there,” he said.

“Any business opportunity that aligns with our global business is an obvious avenue going forward for us. We are just going to make those moves as we see them when opportunities come up over time.

“The truck leasing and rental business is a very big one for Penske overseas, so that was the one that we decided to kick off here.” Although Michigan-based Penske Automotive Group has its biggest operations in North America, it also has spread its wings through Europe.

It is said to be the world’s second biggest automotive dealership group, operating 327 retail outlets for 42 brands.

The massive company has the potential to reshape the Australian automotive retail sector, should it decide to enter the market in a big way.

Penske Racing runs major race teams in both IndyCar and NASCAR – America’s two biggest motorsport categories.

Penske Commercial Leasing Australia general manager Adrian Beach promised the company would bring a new level of customer service as well as quality, well-maintained rental vehicles to Australia’s trucking and logistics industry.

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GoAutoNews is Australia’s number one automotive industry journal covering the latest news, future and new model releases, market trends, industry personnel movements, and international events.