An increase in automotive industry activity within the Great Lakes region, encompassing Michigan and Wisconsin, along with a boost in farming from Nebraska has promoted Paccar Corp.’s truck leasing subsidiary, PacLease, to add seven new locations to its network of 450 facilities spanning the U.S. and Canada.

“A resurgence in the automotive industry has driven growth in the economies of the Great Lakes Region, particularly in Michigan, where the economy grew at 2.3% in 2011,” noted Jim Moeller, president of the Premier PacLease franchise, which is opening three new locations in Escanaba, Gaylord, and Grand Rapids, MI; another three in Columbus, Kearney and York, NE; and one in LaCrosse, WI.

Moeller said more private fleets in those areas are turning to full-service leasing in order to acquire new trucks.

“Our customers see full-service leasing as a viable alternative to buying and replacing aging equipment,” he explained. “They’re increasingly turning to new truck technology to help them reduce fuel costs as well as their greenhouse gas emissions [and] full-service leasing can help them accomplish those goals by taking the spec’ing and maintenance guesswork out of the equation.”

Neil Vonnahme, president of PacLease, said growth in the Great Lakes region, Nebraska and other areas across the U.S. is also being driven by the need for private fleets to meet maintenance requirements under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s [FMCSA] new Compliance, Safety and Accountability [CSA] program as well, along with new federal regulations revising hours of service [HOS] rules.

“With new federal regulations requiring engines with lower emissions, stricter HOS  for drivers, and new maintenance requirements for the trucks, fleets are concerned about adding all that new equipment, choosing the proper specifications, and managing the maintenance,” Vonnahme noted.