Sales of used commercial vehicles are about much more than just the trucks, according to TruckStore, which aims to build long-term partnerships with its customers.
As part of Daimler Truck and Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA), TruckStore provides clients with the same reliability that is synonymous with the Daimler brands. It prides itself on being a trustworthy business partner for its customers.
“It is about building long-term relationships. TruckStore aims to support customers who are starting up and can’t afford new vehicles, or don’t necessarily need a new vehicle,” says Annelie van Rooyen, manager of sales and operations at TruckStore.
Established in 2012, the dealership offers a wide variety of used commercial vehicles, including trailers and buses from all the brands in South Africa. “We buy units that we believe will bring customers to the floor. All the brands and vehicle types are in the showroom,” she adds.
TruckStore keeps its showroom stocked with a variety of trucks by acquiring vehicles from other dealerships, fleet owners who want to downscale, and the trade-in and buy-back programmes run by the new-vehicle sales division of DTBSA.
Through the buy-back programme, transport operators lease a vehicle with the option to purchase it after the contract expires, or to return it to the dealership. The returned vehicles, along with trade-ins, are included in the TruckStore stock. Although these vehicles are previously owned, there is no compromise on quality.
“Just because a vehicle is used, doesn’t mean that it is not as good as a new vehicle,” Van Rooyen says. This is especially true for the TruckStore vehicles, which go through a thorough inspection process before they are sold. The stock is divided into three categories, which indicate the level of testing and refurbishments undertaken on the vehicle.
Trucks in the bronze category, for example, receive only a technical inspection and basic cleaning. In the silver category vehicles are less than six years old and go through a refurbishment process. In the gold category, all vehicles are less than four years old, are fully refurbished and come with a manufacturer’s warranty.
“TruckStore caters for a variety of customer requirements: Those who want to buy a vehicle to repair themselves; those who want a vehicle that has at least gone through a certificate of fitness; and those who want a vehicle that has been fully refurbished,” Van Rooyen explains.
“Typically, when a vehicle comes in it will go through an inspection conducted by our evaluators, who then determine what needs to be done,” Van Rooyen says. The mechanics of the vehicles is prioritised as reliability is at the heart of TruckStore and DTBSA. Once all the refurbishments have been completed, the vehicle is re-evaluated.
The category and refurbishments will impact on pricing, but Van Rooyen emphasises that at TruckStore customers have options, while getting value for money.
Ensuring the vehicles provide value to the clients is essential to TruckStore, as most of its customers are small to medium-size business owners. “For the smaller-fleet operators, it is a more personal purchase,” Van Rooyen explains.
“Many of the TruckStore customers want to take a photo with their vehicle. For them it is like buying a private passenger vehicle; it’s not an everyday occurrence and is often a big investment for these small businesses.
“It is therefore important for TruckStore to make sure the customers get the right advice and buy the right vehicle that will put them in a better position than they were in before. Yes, it is a truck, but it is also someone’s livelihood,” Van Rooyen adds.
TruckStore also benefits by having good, trustworthy partnerships with its clients as this secures repeat businesses. Van Rooyen comments: “With a long-term relationship, the business grows with the customer. As the customer prospers, they will support the brand by buying a new vehicle.” A true testimony of how TruckStore can assist small business owners in growing their fleet is Equator Beverage Company.
“Initially, Equator Beverage Company was a young, fledgling business. We therefore wanted to limit our exposure to capital expenditure,” says Dion Chetty, MD of Equator Beverage Company. “We were also of the opinion that these pre-owned trucks, which had a full service history, complemented our risk exposure.”
He adds that the beverage company was motivated to approach TruckStore because it is a reputable, authorised, pre-owned commercial dealership. TruckStore lived up to its good reputation.
“Our experience has been exceptional,” Chetty notes. “The staff are professional and knowledgeable. I would definitely recommend TruckStore to other operators.”
Although the vehicles were pre-owned, Chetty adds that they still met all the standards expected from the Mercedes-Benz brand, including a pleasant ride, excellent features, fuel efficiency and reduced down time. Daimler has secured a lifelong client through TruckStore.
“The entire Equator Beverage Company fleet is made up of Mercedes-Benz Actros vehicles. We are currently phasing out the older trucks and replacing them with the latest models. Our business has grown rapidly over the past few years and these trucks have given us excellent service,” Chetty says.
Equator Beverage Company currently has a fleet of 60 vehicles to transport its variety of beverage brands.
With its sheer size, reputation and trustworthiness, TruckStore really is a one-stop shop for all transport operators looking to invest in used commercial vehicles. Van Rooyen concludes: “When customers visit TruckStore, they don’t have to drive around to various dealerships. They will find something at TruckStore.”