Navistar exceeded its goal of 20 Fleetrite store openings in 2021 and is on track to have 50 Fleetrite locations by 2025.  -  Photo: Navistar

Navistar exceeded its goal of 20 Fleetrite store openings in 2021 and is on track to have 50 Fleetrite locations by 2025.

Photo: Navistar

Between adding Fleetrite parts locations and launching its Uptime Academy, Navistar has been focusing a lot of attention on the aftermarket. Josef Kory, senior vice president, aftersales, explains that while the company always has emphasized parts and service, the aftermarket is going to be even more important going forward.

All-Makes Parts Expansion

The Fleetrite brand has been around for more than 50 years and now contains more than 100 different product lines.

“Fleetrite gives fleets an alternative, and in these days of supply chain struggles with OEM parts, it provides an opportunity for them to use an all-makes part as opposed to a part that may be constrained at a supplier,” Kory says. “It also offers some price differentiation as well.”

Supply chain constraints have made all-makes parts more attractive to fleets as they struggle to find replacement parts, especially items such as batteries, brake drums, HVAC products, brakes shoes, and radiators — parts that typically are included in an all-makes program.

“We continue to evaluate the product lines within our Fleetrite brand and continue to add products and fill holes in the line,” he says.

Training Boost

Late last year, Navistar launched its Uptime Academy in response to a significant industry issue — the shortage of trained technicians.

“We understand that technician recruiting and retention is one of the industry’s top priorities, and the demand for quality technicians is growing,” Kory says. “We firmly believe that as an OEM, we have to help dealers recruit, develop and retain talent in the technical field.”

The Uptime Academy is a chance for dealers to enroll technicians “in a significant training program so that at the end of the year-long program they are ready to engage as top-level technicians.” The program is a combination of classroom learning, lab work, and rotations at the dealership and mentoring. Students go through 10 two-week training sessions at the Navistar factory training facility, then go back to the dealership to work on the types of jobs they just learned about in the classroom.

The program is aimed at entry level-technicians. “It is very appealing, because students can see they are going to receive the right level of training,” he says. “They are going to have tools when they are done, and they have a guaranteed job with the dealership that is sponsoring them.”

Looking to the Future

Kory says the aftermarket will continue to be a priority for Navistar.

“We will be setting up independent Fleetrite stores, and we hope those stores will help us get to the second and subsequent owners of trucks. We want to be able to reach these customers, and private-label parts allows us to do that. Private-label product offerings are the sweet spot on the pricing spectrum.”

Navistar will be looking at different ways to grow, and that will include not just private-label brands, but also services. He believes this will be very big for Navistar and for all OEMs.

“I think selling of servicing in the aftermarket is something that you will be writing about in the future, because it is just going to get bigger and bigger,” he says.

The company also will be looking at ways to use its connected data to provide solutions and services to customers. He explains that connected data will allow OEMs to be more proactive in working with customers to ensure their trucks are up and running. “It is about using data to address anything that may potentially break down — before it actually breaks down.”

Ultimately, all these efforts are about making it easier for customers to do business with Navistar.

“I have my team focused on — as we look at connected solutions, as we look at digitalizing our customer experience — how do we use that to drive ease of doing business and make it very simple for our customers to do business with us."

About the author
Denise Rondini

Denise Rondini

Aftermarket Contributing Editor

A respected freelance writer, Denise Rondini has covered the aftermarket and dealer parts and service issues for decades. She now writes regularly about those issues exclusively for Heavy Duty Trucking, with information and insight to help fleet managers make smart parts and service decisions, through a monthly column and maintenance features.

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