United Road Services, Carlyle Group Buy Fleet Car Carriers

United Road Services carhauler
United Road Services

United Road Services said it has joined with The Carlyle Group and other investors to acquire Colorado-based Fleet Car Carriers.

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The acquisition will boost United Road’s delivery capacity to serve its more than 10,000 customers and grow the company as a diversified auto-hauler in North America, the company said.

Fleet Car Carriers is headquartered in Commerce City, Colo. Founded in 1984, it primarily services the new-vehicle market with more than 500 independent contractors and 35 terminal locations nationwide.

United Road was founded in 1998 and has more than 2,500 vehicle carriers, its statement said.

The sale comes at a time when the auto-hauling business is undergoing change and greater demand. About 17 million automobiles are being shipped in the United States annually, said Bob Farrell, the executive director of Automobile Carriers Conference of the American Trucking Associations.

What has changed in the last few years is consumer taste. Automobile sales have pushed toward SUVs and pickup trucks, and away from cars, Farrell said.

Railway carriers have less capacity to carry SUVs and trucks, while auto haulers are not limited. And unlike railway carriers, auto haulers have to be used at some point in the transport of cars and trucks.

“It’s a push for assets and drivers,” Farrell said.

Headquartered in Romulus, Mich., near Detroit, United Road provides vehicle transport and logistics services throughout the United States and Canada.

United Road serves manufacturers, rental agencies, dealers, auctions, web-based logistics firms and individuals.

The acquisition follows the late November purchase by Jack Cooper Holdings of the assets of Seattle-based Selland Auto Transport, a move that extended the car hauler’s presence in the western United States and extended the firm’s delivery network.

United Road Services ranks No. 51 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of largest for-hire carriers in North America.

The newly expanded United Road will operate out of more than 90 locations and is projected to move more than 4.5 million new, used and specialty vehicles in 2019, the company said.