LISLE, Ill. -- Budget Group Inc. is launching a new fleet of blue moving trucks for consumers and businesses that will eventually replace the company's current yellow Ryder TRS and white Budget Truck Rental vehicles. The new fleet marks the final step in integrating Ryder TRS and Budget Truck Rental's business operations.
The first round of the new line arrives in Chicago, Los Angeles and Pennsylvania this month. Five hundred trucks total, manufactured by Warrenville, Ill.,-based International Truck and Engine Corporation, are scheduled to arrive at Ryder TRS dealer locations by December. The company plans to roll out 2,000 more trucks in the spring, just in time for the peak moving season.
"This is a major milestone for the company as we unite the truck quality and expertise of Ryder TRS with the value and personal customer service of Budget," said Sandy Miller, chairman and chief executive officer of Budget Group Inc. "We are taking a fresh approach, bringing the best of both companies together to create a smart, fun, affordable alternative for truck rentals."
Sporting eye-catching graphics designed by Cliff Freeman and Partners, each new truck features humorous, tongue-in-cheek moving tips such as "Resist urge to pop bubble wrap before packing fragile items,"' and "Make lots of friends before you move." These clever tips, illustrated by large stick figures, are set against a striking blue background. The white graphics, paired with the corporate blue background, will help to further differentiate Budget from competitors, the company says.
"Budget's strategy was to create a look and feel for its trucks that is consistent with the young, fun feel of its car rental brand,"said Miller.
Budget, the world's third largest car and truck rental system, acquired Ryder TRS, the nation's second largest consumer truck rental company, from Questor Partners Fund L.P. in June 1998. With the acquisition, Budget extended its market reach to 3,800 U.S. truck rental locations and tripled its truck fleet, which now totals around 40,000.
The company will use its new Budget-branded graphics on all vehicles added to its fleet after October 17, 2001, as negotiated in the trademark agreement with Ryder Systems Inc. The company will replace its existing white trucks and yellow trucks over the next three years as those trucks are retired from service. By January 1, 2003, all advertising materials will feature Budget-branded elements and, by January 1, 2005, the company will remove all references to Ryder TRS from Budget's fleet, operations and marketing materials.
Budget plans to complete the transition of Ryder Consumer Truck Rental's brand equity to Budget's name quickly. With a single toll-free number soon to be in place for both companies, Budget will migrate to one reservation system with modified call routing and messaging. The company will also integrate fleet and operations under a single point-of-sale system. In addition, Budget will place banners with both Budget and Ryder Moving Services logos at all Ryder Consumer Truck Rental dealer locations during the first half of 2002. This dual approach will also be applied to the company's Web site, advertising and yellow page listings. New Budget signage will replace current signage at Ryder TRS locations in the latter part of 2002.
"We are changing graphics and messaging at all of our customer touch points to communicate that the familiar yellow truck brand of Ryder TRS is becoming Budget. With the new fleet, we will soon have 40,000 rolling billboards advertising Budget across the country," said Miller.
Budget continues to see a solid demand for both local and one-way truck rentals in the midst of a softening economy. The U.S. Census Bureau reported that 43 million Americans relocated from March 1999 to March 2000, 56.2% of whom moved within the same county.