in 2015, as softer freight demand has created excess fleet capacity within the marketplace. In this market, our principal brands, Freightliner and Western Star, represent approximately 39.9% of that market.
Penske Truck Leasing. PTL participates broadly in the global supply chain, estimated at $8.7 trillion annually, and particularly in the U.S. supply chain, estimated at $1.5 trillion annually. Only 11% of the total U.S. supply chain function is outsourced to third parties, such as PTL. We estimate, based on R. L. Polk registration data, that there are approximately 8.0 million commercial trucks operating in the United States, of which up to 3.8 million could be potential opportunities for PTL’s full-service leasing and contract maintenance offerings.
Commercial Vehicle Distribution. Our commercial vehicle distribution business operates principally in Australia and New Zealand. In 2016, heavy-duty truck sales in Australia and New Zealand combined were 12,559 units, representing a decrease of 2.6% from 2015. The brands we represent in Australia hold a 5.9% market share in the Australian heavy-duty truck market, and a 5.2% market share in New Zealand.
Generally, new vehicle unit sales are cyclical and, historically, fluctuations have been influenced by factors such as manufacturer incentives, interest rates, fuel prices, unemployment, inflation, weather, the level of personal discretionary spending, credit availability, consumer confidence and other general economic factors. However, from a profitability perspective, automotive and truck retailers have historically been less vulnerable than manufacturers and parts suppliers to declines in new vehicle sales. We believe this is due to the retailers’ more flexible expense structure (a significant portion of the retail industry’s costs are variable) and their diversified revenue streams such as used vehicle sales and service and parts sales. In addition, manufacturers may offer various dealer incentives when sales are slow, which further increases the volatility in profitability for manufacturers and may help to decrease volatility for automotive retailers.
Information Technology and Customer Privacy
We consolidate financial, accounting and operational data received from our local operations through private data communications networks. Local operating data is gathered and processed through individual systems utilizing common centralized management systems predominately licensed from, and in many cases operated by, third-parties. Our local systems follow our standardized accounting procedures and are compliant with any guidelines established by our vehicle manufacturers. Our database technology allows us to extract and aggregate data from the systems in a consistent format to generate consolidated financial and operational analysis. These systems also allow us to access detailed information for each individual location, as a group, or on a consolidated basis. Information we can access includes, among other things, inventory, cash, unit sales, the mix of new and used vehicle sales and sales of aftermarket products and services. Our ability to access this data allows us to continually analyze our local results of operations and financial position so as to identify areas for improvement.
We utilize common customer relationship management systems that assist us in identifying customer opportunities and responding to customer inquiries. We utilize compliance systems that assist us with our regulatory obligations and assist us in maintaining the privacy of the information we receive from customers that we collect, process, and retain in the normal course of our business. We have adopted rigorous customer information safeguard programs and “red flag” policies to assist us in maintaining customer privacy.
As part of our business model, we receive personal information regarding customers, associates and vendors, from various online and offline channels. Our internal and third-party systems are under a moderate level of risk from hackers or other individuals with malicious intent to gain unauthorized access to our systems. Cyber-attacks are growing in number and sophistication thus presenting an ongoing threat to systems, whether internal or external, used to operate the business on a day to day basis. We perform periodic control testing and audits on our systems. Despite these measures, our facilities and systems, and those of our third-party service providers, could be vulnerable to security breaches, computer viruses, or other events. Any security breach or event resulting in the unauthorized disclosure of confidential information, or degradation of services provided by critical business systems, whether by us directly or our third-party service providers, could adversely affect our business operations, sales, reputation with current and potential customers, associates or vendors, as well as other operational and financial impacts derived from investigations, litigation, imposition of penalties, or other means.