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History Arch-2Trucking is a fast-paced, entrepreneurial industry that many take for granted. But without it, our country couldn’t thrive. Trucking is the backbone of commerce. And tucked within trucking is the business of renting trailers—a service that allows shippers to respond quickly to changing consumer patterns and economic conditions.

So how did XTRA Lease become the country’s largest trailer lessor?

Now based in St. Louis, MO, XTRA has been around since 1957. Since a merger in 1992, our business growth has taken us to a 75K-trailer fleet of state-of-the-art equipment with online tracking and transactions. In 2001, Warren Buffett was so impressed with our track record, he bought us. So today, in addition to a team of dedicated people and a list of loyal, prestigious customers, we have the backing of Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

Company facts

  • Fleet Size: About 75,000 trailers
  • Number of XTRA Lease employees: About 400
  • Headquarters: St. Louis
  • Number of St. Louis employees: About 100
  • Number of XTRA Lease branches: More than 50



  • XTRA Corporation becomes the nation’s first piggyback leasing company, based in Westport, CT.


  • XTRA Corp becomes a public company listed on the New York Stock exchange and one of 20 companies listed in the Dow Jones Transportation Index.


  • XTRA Corp creates the XTRA Lease division when two regional companies, AJF Leasing and Strick Lease, merge into one national company.


  • XTRA Lease introduces industry-changing Repair Cost Standards. The company tackles the often contentious issue of damage rebills, using technology to standardize the approach to estimating, communicating and invoicing rental customers for damages incurred by their drivers. To date, no competitor has replicated the investment or the approach.


  • XTRA Lease becomes the first trailer lessor to offer GPS and cellular-based trailer tracking. It remains the only trailer supplier to offer trailer tracking as a free added-value service with dry van rentals.


  • On September 20, 2001, Berkshire Hathaway acquires all assets of XTRA Corporation. Berkshire Hathaway is a holding company headed by investor Warren E. Buffett.


  • Warren Buffett appoints Bill Franz as CEO. All corporate headquarters functions move to St. Louis.


  • XTRA Lease acquires the former CitiCapital Trailer Rental Company, a low-priced competitor with approximately 30 locations and 23,000 trailers.
  • XTRA Lease introduces XTRA Xpress®, a mobile technology solution that provides fleets instant electronic notification of rental activity and real-time access to rental information.


  • XTRA Lease expands its service offering to include a customized version of Qualcomm’s T2 Untethered TrailerTRACS™ asset management system for its trailers.

The two companies collaborate to create a new web-based user interface that improves customers’ ability to manage their fleets through trailer tracking. XTRA Lease has trailer-tracking units installed on about 50,000 dry vans.


  • XTRA Lease becomes the first trailer rental and leasing company to install fuel-efficient aerodynamic side skirts on new reefers and dry vans. The combination of side skirts and low rolling-resistance tires offers fleets a 6.5% savings in fuel.


XTRA Lease manages a fleet of about 75,000 dry vans, flatbeds, refrigerated vans, local cartage vans, storage trailers and specialty equipment. Our customer list includes many Fortune 1000 companies, such as UPS, FedEx, Home Depot, Pepsico/Frito Lay, JB Hunt, Target, Penske, Kraft, Kroger and Walmart.