During the past five years, Kenworth dealers invested more than $350 million in new branches, relocations to enhanced facilities and major improvements in existing stores to expand service capacity, improve dealer efficiency and enhance store appearance.
During that same period, Kenworth Truck Company introduced new truck models, including the K270 and K370 medium duty cabovers; T170, T270 and T370 medium duty conventionals; T440 and T470 with gross vehicle weight (GVW) from 33,000 to 68,000 pounds; diesel-electric hybrids, compressed and liquefied natural gas trucks; the aerodynamic T660 and T700; and now, the new fuel-efficient Kenworth T680.
The combined, major investments provide Kenworth customers with the benefits of both The World's Best product line and a strong Kenworth dealer network focused on customer satisfaction with expanded support," said Reid Nabarrete, assistant Kenworth general manager for marketing and sales.
"The Kenworth dealer network opened 18 new facilities alone in 2011 to bring Kenworth to a record of 320 locations in the United States and Canada," Nabarrete said. "For customers, these dealer investments make a statement. The Kenworth dealer network is strong and Kenworth dealers are here to support you."
The Kenworth dealer network's constant commitment to superior satisfaction is demonstrated by Kenworth receiving the 2011 J.D. Power and Associates award for "Highest in Customer Satisfaction for Heavy Duty Truck Dealer Service."
"Dealers were very open to increasing parts and service business during the past several years, and many have singled out the addition of the TRP aftermarket parts program as a catalyst for their growth," Nabarrete said. "Successful truck dealers must achieve a proper balance between new truck sales and good parts and service to prosper. TRP helped them do that."
For example, MTC Kenworth in Ridgefield Park, NJ, succeeded in growing its parts and service business to offset smaller revenue from truck sales. Besides the hard work of employees, dealer principal Rosemary Casagrande attributes MTC Kenworth's success to a customer-oriented focus on providing outstanding service, regardless of the customer's truck make, and to TRP, PACCAR's all-makes parts program introduced three years ago.
"The TRP program required a significant investment in stocking inventory, but it's been a great success because it's opened the door for new business," Casagrande said.
Nabarrete said Kenworth's record growth in dealer locations resulted from a recognition by Kenworth and its dealers of their customer needs.
Kenworth dealers are helping fleets with proper maintenance of equipment, he said. Dealers also recognize that by adding driver amenities like sleeping rooms, wireless access, showers and kitchens, they're making their facilities a more compelling location to get their trucks serviced.
"It just makes sense to our dealers to invest capital in existing and new facilities and serve existing and future customer demand than leaving it in the bank and waiting for future demand," Nabarrete added.
MTC Kenworth, for example, invested in providing training to its maintenance personnel and equipping its maintenance shop to service natural gas-powered trucks. This considerable investment allowed Enviro Express and other local companies to add natural gas-powered trucks to their fleet operations, said Casagrande, who added that adding the equipment and getting the training for her technicians as a long-term investment that will pay off.
MTC has also set up a weight room, showers, and lockers to help make the dealership more user-friendly for drivers waiting for their trucks to be serviced. The dealership's driver lounge offers wireless internet access allowing drivers to file paper work or get caught up on correspondence, Casagrande said.
And the service department provides a shuttle to get drivers to a motel so they have the option of getting their required hours of rest while waiting for work on their trucks to be finished.
"We made our dealership a place drivers could feel comfortable and would want to take their trucks to be serviced," she said. But more important than making the dealership more comfortable, Casagrande said her parts and service departments concentrate on providing fast, responsive service.
Tim Murphy, CEO of MHC in Kansas City, MO, said his company also takes a similar approach to customer service. MHC operates 43 Kenworth dealerships in 10 states, including MHC Kenworth in Colorado, which was named Kenworth's 2010 Dealer of the Year, and MHC Kenworth-Kansas City, which earned the 2010 Kenworth Customer Support Dealer of the Year honor.
"We do want our customers and drivers to be comfortable when their trucks are serviced by offering them showers, washers/dryers and quiet driver lounges with sleeping rooms and recliners," Murphy said. "But we also put the emphasis on getting the truck in and out quickly, and doing the work correctly the first time.
"Productivity is paramount to our customers, and with our 7/24 operation in major markets, we try to minimize the amount of time spent in our dealership by getting the trucks in and out as efficiently as possible."
Mike Nagle, dealer principal and owner of Bayview Kenworth, which operates five Kenworth dealerships in Fredericton, Moncton, St. John, St. Stephen, and Sussex, New Brunswick, said how a facility looks, how it operates and what kinds of equipment it has makes a difference to truck operators.
When he was recently scouting for possible locations for a planned sixth facility, Nagle said he recalls looking at an independent garage that appeared dirty and disorganized.
"When a facility looks bad, it can make you start to wonder about the level of service you can expect," Nagle added. "Having a clean, well-equipped facility reflects a positive image for customers as well as employees. And when your employees feel good about the facility, they can't help but do better work for customers."
In 2007, Nagle decided to convert his longtime truck dealerships to Kenworth and hasn't regretted the decision since.
"After we moved to Kenworth, the business at our locations virtually doubled in the first year," Nagle said. "I believe Kenworth's commitment to introducing new products, plus Paccar Parts' commitment to providing us the TRP program of quality replacement parts, strongly contributed to that increase in business. I just wish I had made the move to become a Kenworth dealer 10 years before I did."
To help support customers, Kenworth provides a complete dealer list on its website at www.kenworth.com.
In addition, the Kenworth PremierCare Customer Center (1-800-KW-ASSIST) is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The service requires no registration fee for emergency roadside assistance and is available to any truck brand. The Customer Center handles emergency roadside assistance calls and schedules service for preventive maintenance customers, among other services.