Skip to content
Company

Our History

In 1939, our founder Zollie Frank, proprietor of the nation’s largest Chevrolet dealership Z Frank Chevrolet, pioneered the fleet management industry in North America when he developed a creative solution for a pressing client need. A large Chicago company, Petrolager, was losing salespeople after helping them fund the down payment on a personal vehicle that they would use on the job. Zollie designed a closed-end leasing solution to help the client improve salesperson retention while incurring a predictable monthly cost. With the acquisition and lease of 75 vehicles, the Wheels business was born. From those humble beginnings, Wheels grew into an industry leader.

And now, with the October 2021 announcement of the Wheels and Donlen merger within Athene Holding Ltd, a new entity has emerged – a customer-centric powerhouse provider of comprehensive fleet management solutions. Today, Wheels Donlen manages over 525,000 vehicles in North America, and over 2.5 million vehicles in 59 countries worldwide in global alliance with ALD Automotive.

Wheels’ history is marked with a series of industry firsts, with product innovations and business growth being driven by the evolving needs of our clients.

Pioneering Fleet Management in North America

1939 – Zollie Frank officially formed Four Wheels (later renamed Wheels, Inc.), with operations in the U.S.

1948 – Developed a precursor to our maintenance program by instituting a replacement tire system through local branches of national companies

1958 – Became the first fleet management company to offer truck consulting

1958

Launched business in Canada

Innovation & Growth in the Information Age

1960 – Developed the industry’s first computerized vehicle ordering system

1965 – Became first fleet management company to launch in Puerto Rico

1972 – Introduced fuel and maintenance management programs

1989 – Launched first Windows-based, client service tool

1974

Zollie Frank’s son, Jim Frank, became the second president of Wheels

Continued Offering Expansion & Global Reach

1998 – Released first online vehicle ordering system for drivers, DriverView™; Expanded business to Mexico

1999 – Built fleet management solutions in Europe; Introduced FleetView™, the first web-based fleet management tool

2008 – Debuted the EcoWheelsTM, fleet sustainability program; Launched vehicle telematics

2009

Expanded global footprint by entering a strategic partnership with ALD Automotive

Industry-First Tech Hits the Market

2010 – Released Wheels Mobile Assistant app to help keep fleet drivers connected and productive

2011 – Introduced Selection Modeler™, the industry’s first online vehicle selection tool

2012 – Launched ChangeDriver™, the industry’s only gamification tool

2015 – Developed driver performance scoring solution for policy adherence and risk mitigation

Leading the Way on Mobility

2016 – Became first fleet management company to offer a comprehensive reimbursement solution for employee-owned vehicles

2017

Jim Frank’s son, Dan Frank, became CEO and president of Wheels

2018 – Debuted ride-hailing solution with Uber for Business; Introduced industry’s first mobile app for fleet managers, FleetView Mobile

2019 – Partnered with ParkWhiz to offer a managed parking solution; Expanded global alliance coverage to 59 countries with the addition of Mitsubishi Auto Leasing Corporation in Japan

2020 – Released an enhanced set of electric vehicle solutions to assist clients with EV adoption

2021 – Merger of Wheels and Donlen within Athene Holding Ltd, creating a global fleet organization with $5 Billion in assets, 100+ Fortune 500 clients, a wider product range and a highly diversified customer base.

Put Our Decades of Fleet Management Expertise to Work for You