DETROIT, March 27 (Reuters) - U.S. truck leasing and rental company Ryder System Inc said on Tuesday it is launching an asset-sharing platform for commercial vehicles, paving the way for owners to rent out under-utilized vehicles from vans to big rigs the same way consumers use apps to share cars and homes.
Ryder has been testing its new platform, called COOP, in the Atlanta area since January with 100 vehicle fleet owners and will formally roll it out in that market in April. Miami-based Ryder expects to roll it out in several other major U.S. markets in 2019.
Chief Executive Officer Robert Sanchez told Reuters that Ryder's telematics data from the 200,000 vehicles it leases and rents to fleet customers showed that around 25 percent of them sit idle more than one day a week.
Companies that lease trucks still have to pay for them even when they are idle, representing a fixed cost COOP can offset, he said.
"We saw this as a way to take the disruptive trend of asset sharing and ride sharing and apply it to trucks that are not being fully utilized," Sanchez said, likening the service to short-term accommodation rental company Airbnb Inc.
Automakers are rushing to develop car-sharing services in the belief that future consumers would rather make short-term use of those assets than own them outright.
COOP handles insurance, compliance with federal requirements and payments, which Ryder says have hampered past efforts to grow peer-to-peer asset-sharing services. Ryder's new service will charge a percentage of the rental revenue.
CEO Sanchez said rentals on COOP range from one day up to 30 days. The system uses an app showing renters the location and size of available vehicles in their area.
Lake City, Georgia-based automotive supplier Dixien, LLC, which provides metal stamped parts and molded plastic parts to automakers and top-tier suppliers has used COOP in its test phase.
Company vice president Alex Garcia said Dixien has two leased 26-foot (8-meter) trucks it uses to haul parts between facilities on Monday through Thursday. They sit idle the rest of the time.
Garcia has rented those trucks out twice from Friday to Sunday and said if he can rent them out every weekend "it will make a huge dent" in his leasing costs.
This could enable him to add trucks to Dixien's fleet "because on the days when I use them I need more than I have." (Reporting By Nick Carey; Editing by David Gregorio)