LAS VEGAS—Daimler Truck North America continues expanding its vehicle service network across the continent. After adding more than 200 service bays in 2022, the OEM expects to add another 800 by 2023. DTNA is also adding more service capacity through a new partnership with Love’s Travel Stops.
Love’s Truck Care and Speedco locations will be joining DTNA’s Freightliner “service network for routine maintenance, quick repairs, and recall work at certain approved and certified stores,” John O’Leary, DTNA president and CEO, told trucking industry media over a round table discussion held at Caesar’s Palace on Jan. 31. “We’re very excited about that. Love’s is a great company to partner with.”
Beginning this spring, authorized Love’s locations will provide light mechanical warranty repair work, roadside warranty emergency services, and approved field service and recall campaigns for Freightliner equipment, the two companies announced.
“We know that time is money for professional drivers, and we’re excited to introduce a new service touch point to help get Freightliner drivers back on the road quickly,” said Gary Price, EVP of total truck care solutions for Love’s. “Working with DTNA and Freightliner dealers, we will have the systems in place to maximize uptime for our mutual customers.”
The approved Love’s and Speedco locations, among the more than 400 across the county, will work directly with their local Freightliner dealers to ensure parts availability, quality repair work, warranty claim filing, and help to get Freightliner drivers back on the road.
“Love’s is an experienced partner that knows how to fulfill our customers’ needs. With this complementary offering to our own service network, we will provide Freightliner customers the increased support and convenience they need to keep the world moving,” said Drew Backeberg, SVP of aftermarket at DTNA.
In 2020, Daimler Truck began plans to expand its aftermarket services by building 34 new dealer locations and significantly expanding six other locations in the U.S. and Canada. O’Leary said that the expansion will mean Daimler dealers have about 10,000 service bays across North America.
Supply chain improvements bode well for new truck buyers
While supply chain constraints limited truck production at the start of the decade, O’Leary said the OEM “weathered immense headwinds in supply chain” to deliver more trucks to customers in 2022. He said final delivery numbers would be released during March’s quarterly report to shareholders.
“I will share that 2023 output will look a lot like 2022,” he said. “First, there remains a very healthy backlog for both DTNA and the industry. And obviously, I'm not saying anything that hasn't been said already in recent weeks by other OEs”
The equipment constraints have forced fleets to hold on to trucks longer than in years past. “They've gotten out of that sweet spot that they like to be in,” O’Leary said of DTNA fleet customers. “Average fleet age increases, operating costs rise. They have capital to deploy—and they want to deploy that—and then lower the average age of the fleet and get into a more healthy situation.”
While fleets are still running on a longer-than-normal equipment cycle—“at least until we’re able to meet that pent-up demand for vehicles”—fleets have no choice but to focus on service, O’Leary noted. “But then, at some point, as the newer ones start coming on board, they won’t be so interested in servicing the old ones. They’ll be pushing them out into the used market fairly quickly.”
O’Leary said the decision to consolidate all its parts lines under one group, DTNA Parts, helped the company content with supply chain struggles. He said the group saw increased parts deliveries and sales in 2022 over the previous year.
“The trend has been pretty strong for our aftermarket group on the parts side,” the chief executive said. “Obviously the older trucks get, the more parts they consume. So for us, that’s been a positive. But we really would prefer to be putting new trucks in the hands of our customers because that’s what they need for their business to be more successful. At the end of the day, a truck is just a tool for one of our customers to make money with. So, for them to have the best, newest, greatest, lowest operating cost tools in their hand, that’s what we want.”
This article originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.