Understanding needs

Understanding needs

Part of the effort of this column and publication is to keep up onthe issues facing light- and medium-duty fleets and report on solutionsfor Fleet Equipment readers.

Part of the effort of this column and publication is to keep up onthe issues facing light- and medium-duty fleets and report on solutionsfor Fleet Equipment readers.

Trends emerge in those conversations, andone we’ve heard lately involves the value of working with dealers tofind and specify cost-effective and productive vehicles.

Scott Christopher, principal at Christopher Trucks, a Freightliner,Sterling, Western Star, Sprinter and Isuzu dealership based inGreenville, S.C., said that light- and medium-duty fleets can benefitfrom the knowledge his company has regarding commercial vehicles, andthe way a commercial dealer operates to support the fleet after thesale. The company’s Sprinter customers, among others, include companiesthat lease appliances to apartment complexes, rent lawn equipment anddeliver goods to drug stores.

“We can help specify the right truck because we understand howweight and cubic capacity, as well as mileage, are important factors inchoosing a vehicle,” Christopher said. “Recently, for example, we tooka truck in on trade that was purchased without those considerations andwas undersized and overloaded for the customer’s needs.”

Jack Leonard, vice president of Sprinter Sales at American Truckand Bus Inc. in Annapolis, Md., a dealer of Freightliner Sprinter andCustom Chassis products as well as buses, said a variety of commercialcustomers have come to rely on the company. Included are severalvending and cleaning companies and a number of construction, plumbingand HVAC contractors. In many cases, these customers have added totheir Sprinter fleets over time.

“We’re geared toward paying attention to the business side ofthings,” Leonard said. “Starting with the sale, our purpose is to meetbusiness needs by specifying the vehicle so it’s the best fit for acustomer’s operation. That also continues in the service process. Weplace a high priority on working around customer schedules so theirvehicles stay on the road when they need them. It’s in everyone’s bestinterest if we address the commercial needs of our fleet customers.”

Freightliner Sprinter dealers are also addressing the needs oflight- and medium-duty fleets by offering flexible hours and services,including keeping shops open late at night or even around the clock.

“Many commercial customers can’t afford to shut down their businessfor routine vehicle maintenance or even repairs,” Christopher said. “Weunderstand that so we have hours that allow them to have PMs and repairwork done when it won’t impact their business or their ability to servetheir customers.”

The Freightliner Sprinter commercial utility vehicle (CUV) is beingsold and serviced by a network of 45 locations in the United States.These select dealers utilize their commercial vehicle experience tohelp fleets choose the best model and customize it for their specificneeds. eQuip, a new online tool for the cargo model CUV, lets fleetschoose an interior package of storage and work areas that are speciallydesigned for different businesses such as expedited and packagedelivery companies as well as a wide range of contractors.

Freightliner Sprinter CUVs are offered in passenger transport,cargo and chassis-cab models in three GVW ratings with up to 600 cu.ft. of cargo space and 5,649 lbs. of payload capacity. Offeringsinclude 144- and 170-in. wheelbases, three roof heights and gasoline ordiesel engines.

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