Mitsubishi HC Capital America confirms to its work truck dealers, fleets, and operators that it want to be their partner with this tagline. - Photo: Mitsubishi HC Capital America

Mitsubishi HC Capital America confirms to its work truck dealers, fleets, and operators that it want to be their partner with this tagline.

Photo: Mitsubishi HC Capital America

Dave Herring, VP & general manager of Mitsubishi HC Capital America, Work Truck, Finance, understands the importance of creating a relationship with customers. For fleets running financed vehicles, it’s of vital importance to work with a company that understands the unique challenges that come with light- and medium-duty trucks. Here, he discusses why Mitsubishi HC Capital America has rededicated itself to helping work truck owners.

Understanding Strengths

Originally, Mitsubishi HC Capital America had a primary focus on light- and medium-duty trucks. In 2012, the executive leadership team at the time decided to expand the company’s footprint in the market and take on additional assets in the over-the-road (OTR) trucking space, which involved heavy-duty trucks. Up until 2019, the company realized it was trying too hard to be everything to everybody. Culturally, it felt heavy-duty wasn't a good fit from an expertise and experience standpoint.

“We found we just couldn't grow in that space. We knew we needed to get back to our roots,” he stated.  

Knowing Your Market

Those roots include being one of the few companies solely dedicated to funding light- and medium-duty work trucks. This specialty enables it to provide a strong consultative service that has been well-received by dealers. The company’s financing includes upfitters and body builders, not just the truck and chassis.

“When we started doing a bit of OTR funding, all of our light- and medium-duty dealers said ‘don't forget about us,’” he said.

The company didn’t forget about their dealers; in fact, they committed themselves to this set of dealers even more after realizing that heavy-duty trucks were not their specialty.

“Our tagline is ‘We Love Work Trucks.’ We tell that story and we do that to confirm to our work truck dealers, fleets, and operators that we want to be their partner. We're not going to be off doing something we shouldn't be based on our experience,” he explained.

Struggles Bring Out the Best

The company quickly realized after the first week or two in March 2020 that it needed to be proactive in helping customers survive the pandemic financially. Fleet managers didn’t know how much liquidity they were going to need, as there were innumerable uncertainties on the horizon. Mitsubishi HC Capital America worked to extend payments and restructure contracts to ease pain points and prepare against month-to-month unknowns.

“At one point, these kinds of requests went up by over 600% a day. At one point we were up to almost 500 a day. Before the pandemic, we only had one employee dedicated to helping customers restructure contracts. Two weeks into it, we had 18 people assigned to assist,” he explained.

The company had to shift many responsibilities. Those in sales were doing things they had never done before to help their customers when they needed it most.

“Our dealers and customers were appreciative. We found the portfolio performed extremely well, and many didn’t need much from a liquidity standpoint. But from a psychological standpoint, it helped them to know they had a grace period,” he stated.

The company told its dealers that with any new assets they sold, customers would be given at least 90 days before they would have to worry about making their first payment.

Part of the Mitsubishi HC Capital America team includes (L to R) Russ Yanaga, Jenifer Santoro, Tanner Sandera, Nicole Combs, and Dave Herring. - Photo: Mitsubishi HC Capital America

Part of the Mitsubishi HC Capital America team includes (L to R) Russ Yanaga, Jenifer Santoro, Tanner Sandera, Nicole Combs, and Dave Herring.

Photo: Mitsubishi HC Capital America

Preparing for the Future of Work Trucks

Mitsubishi HC Capital America is excited to see a future with clean energy-powered trucks. Whether it’s electrification, hydrogen, CNG, or something else, the company wants to be part of that transition.

“We are working side-by-side with our commercial dealers and fleets to help them finance and provide capital for clean energy solutions. That's something Mitsubishi is committed to,” he stated.

Mitsubishi HC Capital America’s stated love of work trucks is a statement in the industry’s changing landscape.

“Our priority is taking care of our commercial dealers and their customers,” Herring said. “We can reflect on the past, as long as we learn from it and use it to focus on the future.”

Revealing Financing Tips

For businesses seeking financing, Herring offers the following top three considerations.

Whether in the OTR or work truck space, the quality of a company’s financial statements is the most important factor when it comes to credit evaluation and determination of what the debt exposure is going to be, according to Herring.

“Banks have now ratcheted up their requirements, and the quality of those financial records need to meet certain expectations. If you’re not using a CPA and you're getting bogged down with some simple homegrown financial statements, that's going to limit your ability to gain sizable amounts of credit,” he explained.

Second, fleet managers need to work with a lender that understands their business and why they need a specific truck.

“When you have a challenge in your business, you’ll need to work with a lender that understands why you can't use a different truck, lost a customer, or can't get a driver for a truck is impacting your ability to make a payment,” he noted.

Finally, you need to provide good justification for the trucks you are looking to purchase.

“It’s not just you woke up one day, drove past the dealership, and saw three beautiful, new trucks out there. You need to do your due diligence around that asset purchase,” he said.

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