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The State of the Dealer Market, Pt. 2

Lucas Deal December 26, 2013

Dealers taking advantage of these breaks should continue to see success in 2014.

Ely specifically points to service and inventory technology as a harbinger of success. With uptime becoming increasingly critical to all customers, dealers capable of using top-shelf technology to diagnose breakdowns, locate parts, communicate with customers and minimize time out of service will have a leg up in the marketplace in the coming years.

“Dealers who have embraced the idea of going outside of the traditional service model are seeing tremendous growth,” he says.

Walsh says Mack has taken steps to implement these programs, and has created a dealer channel dedicated to providing the best service possible. “Our dealers focus on delivering value to Mack customers through complete vehicle and service solutions,” he says.

Greg Althardt, CFO at Peach State Freightliner, says selling and servicing emission equipment is another way to grow parts and service sales.

Rusty Rush, CEO and president of Rush Enterprises, says his parts and service business out-paces truck sales revenues “six fold.”

“Ten years ago parts and service was about 40 percent of our gross profit, now it’s 60 percent,” Rush says noting the company’s continuous investment in its facilities.

Diesel Particulate Filters (DPF) have been required on new Class 8 trucks for nearly a decade, which means even with an older national fleet there a lot of them on North American roadways. And at some point, all of them need to be cleaned. Althardt says Peach State has added DPF cleaning to its preventive maintenance program to take advantage of that service boom.

Location and customer base also can offer specific opportunities to proactive dealers, says Dick Witcher, CEO at Minuteman Trucks at ATD chairman.

“I think that dealers can best be advised to diversify their businesses as much as possible,” he says. “The dealers I know are good, hardworking, smart business people and they are pretty well in touch with the markets they serve. They are working to maximize their customer’s experience.”

The biggest challenge to this growth, Ely says, is simply finding quality employees to do the work.

“Continuing to find young people is the biggest challenge facing this industry,” he says. “Younger people need to enter the industry and get involved.”

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