State Of The Medium-Duty Market
Remember that medium-duty truck owners have special needs and you will be successful in this market segment.
By Denise L. Rondini, Executive Editor
The market for medium-duty trucks is up 20 percent from last year, according to Todd Bloom, president and CEO of Mitsubishi Truck of North America, who quickly adds, “and last year was a pretty good market as well.”
Much of the growth in new medium-duty trucks is coming from the lease/rental market, Bloom says. “We have seen about 40 percent of registrations now in Class 4 going to the lease/rental business. This shows recovery, but also that the overall market is still a little hesitant to go crashing forward.
Bloom says he looks to consumer confidence as a way to gauge the medium-duty market. “Consumer confidence was going higher for a while, but as you know over the last five months consumer confidence has declined, When consumer confidence is up, our kinds of trucks tend to do better because people go out to dinner and our trucks tend to distribute food and other items that are purchased by consumers.”
The last several years also have brought changes to the vehicles themselves. Starting in 2008, medium-duty trucks faced emissions reduction regulations, which have complicated things for medium-duty truck buyers who, according to Bloom, typically do not like trucks.
“As a result the truck dealer has got to think about how he can keep the front of the truck out of the minds of his customer,” Bloom says. However the new emissions requirements mean medium-duty truck owners need to be educated about selective catalytic reduction. “It is getting harder and harder for a medium-duty truck customer to just get into truck and go,” he adds.
“Therefore it is important for the truck dealer to teach his salespeople how to properly deliver a truck, how to take care of the customer because the customer does not want to bother thinking about his truck.”
At the time of the sale, the customer must have confidence that the new systems on today’s medium-duty trucks will work as well as confidence that he can operate it. Make sure you have the customer in the truck best suited for his needs.
Bloom says, “Don’t put him in the wrong truck and it is more important than ever to hold his hand and to take care of him whether it is through scheduled maintenance or just following up and making sure the service intervals are being maintained.”
Bloom cautions dealers to remember that upfitted a medium-duty truck can cost $50,000 to $60,000 and customers who are making that kind of an investment have an expectation that they will be taken care of properly.
One way of taking proper care of the medium-duty customer is to be aware of his servicing needs. A typical medium-duty customer using his vehicles from 4 a.m or 5 a.m. until 2 p.m. or 3 p.m. “It is important for dealers to understand their habits and attune their service business to that customer.”