Quick-lube centers strike oil at truckstops
Oct 3, 2003 12:00 PM, By Tim ParryA business-consulting firm contends that quick-lube centers are popping up at truckstops, and those centers aim to increase market share by trying to reel in accounts from truck fleets. According to Little Falls NJ-based Kline & Co, service center chains are aggressively marketing to fleets through direct sales efforts, offering an array of value-added services, including on-site oil analysis and expanded repair and parts replacement.
"The stumbling blocks for quick-lube centers and truckstops to this point have been the range and quality of services and price, but these are now being removed," said Geeta Agashe, director of the petroleum and energy practice for Kline's research division. "Although the overall market for commercial automotive lubricants is mature and is expected to remain flat, the quick-lube and truckstop chains are expected to take a bigger slice of the pie."
Agashe noted that service center chains are also offering the ability to quickly communicate vehicle maintenance information back to the trucking fleets, which the shops consider a critical factor in attracting fleet business.
Fleet managers' concerns about the quality of service offered by truckstops and quick-lube centers are also being assuaged through alliances with major lubricant suppliers and OEMs.
Petro Stopping Centers, for example, are partly owned by Mobil and primarily offer ExxonMobil's Delvac engine oil, and Speedco Truck Lube Centers are owned by Shell and primarily provide Rotella T brand products.
Volvo Trucks North America also has a minority interest in Petro and has transformed many of those service centers into near-full-service garages capable of most repair, maintenance, warranty, and parts replacement services for Volvo trucks. TA service centers have a similar arrangement with Freightliner Trucks.
"Brand loyalty is huge in this industry, and these partnerships provide assurance to both fleet managers and owner-operators that their equipment is being serviced properly with quality products," Agashe said.
While most trucking fleets still maintain their own maintenance and repair facilities, Agashe said the economic benefits of outsourcing preventive maintenance for their trucks are also becoming more apparent to fleet managers.