Smaller trucks, big opportunity
Michael Cancelliere, senior vice president and general manager of North American parts at Navistar, says medium-duty customers have the same loyal relationship with dealers.
“One of the biggest differences between medium-duty and heavy-duty customers is the reliance on the dealer network,” he says. “Medium-duty customers tend to rely on local dealers a lot more, while the heavy-duty customer is more reliant on the dealer network en masse.
“The medium-duty customer will go to the same dealer almost every time.”
That localized approach is another reason for aftermarket companies to incorporate medium-duty fleets into their customer base. Most medium-duty trucks operate within a designated area that can easily be serviced by a single aftermarket location.
Amoroso says that is especially true in urban markets where medium-duty trucks are the preferred delivery method.
“When you’re delivering into cities and dealing with traffic, you can’t really have a big tractor-trailer for that,” he says. “That’s where the medium-duty trucks come in.”
There are medium-duty trucks everywhere.
“Today’s medium-duty customer tends to be the last step in the supply chain or one step closer to the end customer,” says Tim Wenger, senior manager, parts marketing and product development at Hino Trucks. “Case in point, how often does a Class 8 truck pull up to your house to make a local delivery?
“Class 5-7 trucks are in local neighborhoods everyday performing services that we all depend on as part of our daily activities.”
Amoroso says his urban California-based business has a large medium-duty customer base for that very reason. He says West Coast fleets are adding more medium-duty trucks to combat highway congestion and traffic issues, and he says urban distributors and service providers that don’t evolve with fleet changes risk missing out or losing potential business.