The State of the Dealer Market, Pt. 2

Lucas Deal December 26, 2013

This is Part 2 of Successful Dealer’s ‘State of the Dealer Market’ series. For Part 1, CLICK HERE.

While steady truck sales were tough to find for dealers this year, 2013 proved to be a great year for dealers in the aftermarket. Parts and service sales are booming.

The aging fleet population — a detriment in the new truck marketplace — was a significant benefit in dealer’s service bays. Older vehicles require more maintenance, and Keith Ely, managing partner and KEA Advisors, says dealers offering service and maintenance programs were able to thrive during the calendar year.

“When you can’t sell trucks you go back to what’s tried and true,” he says. “Parts and service, the fixed operations side of a dealership, provide a tremendous opportunity for growth.”

Mack’s Vice President of Marketing John Walsh says his OEM zeroed in on its service business early in the year as an opportunity for business growth. That remains a priority as the year comes to a close.

“Our dealer network continues to increase its service capacity and strengthen its focus on maximizing vehicle uptime through efficient operations and leveraging of technology,” he says. “During the past year, Mack continued our expansion of innovative customer support programs and productivity building products to grow our market share and drive customers to dealers.”

Ely notes that those customer support programs proved to be an excellent selling point throughout the marketplace.

“There are things certain OEMs are doing to streamline [operations] and dealers are finding them extremely valuable once they know how they work,” he says. “Dealers that use them well are seeing customer satisfaction and profitability going up.”

And not all service growth came from customers pulled to dealers. Ely also notes more fleets turned to outsourcing maintenance in 2013, providing even more available customers.

“There’s a high cost associated with fleets doing their own repair work, and dealers have started to see benefits from that,” he says. “This is not the same service business it was 15 years ago.”

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