LAS VEGAS -- “This is the culmination of a vision we’ve had for years,” said Terry Livingston, general manager, global product management and shared services, Aftermarket for Meritor, when speaking about the company’s deployment of two mobile training trucks during Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week 2014 Tuesday.

Meritor has long positioned itself as a provider of information and training, but has gone one step further developing two Nissan high-roof NV3500 trucks that will deliver onsite product and systems education to fleets, warehouse distributors and independent service garages in the United States and Canada.

Each truck will offer hands-on training to service managers, shop supervisors, service technicians, maintenance directors, drivers and dealer-fleet trainers for drivetrain and undercarriage aftermarket components. Meritor said it designed the training trucks to meet the immediate needs of North American customers for aftermarket products and systems.

“Training and education is the one consistent message I’ve heard,” said Craig Frohock, vice president, Aftermarket and Trailer, North America. “Everyone is looking for it and it is a hot focus area for us.”

“We’ve been hearing loud and clear that our customers — the warehouse distributors, OE dealers and fleets —want more product education,” said Rick Martin, senior manager, aftermarket training, Meritor. “During the first 12 months, training will focus on braking systems, which will help the industry manage through changes and new demands.”

Meritor expects its training efforts to play a key role in contributing to fleets’ safety records. The mobile training trucks will deliver instructor-led training on brakes and brake systems during 2014.

Training will cover regulations established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The curriculum will include an overview of the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS 121) stopping distance requirements, reduced stopping distance regulations and the FMCSA's Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) enforcement regime. 

According to Walt Sherbourne, senior director, Field Sales, North America, both trucks are equipped with video monitors and working air systems boards, as well as actual brake hardware. For hands-on training purposes, each van will have actual cam and air disc brake hardware, friction and wheel ends, air valves, air dryers, Meritor Wabco stability control systems, electronic diagnostics, automatic traction control, anti-lock brakes and collision mitigation systems.

The company will offer two styles of training sessions:

  • City-wide training with two three-hour sessions covering eight distinct brake subjects at hotels initially in Denver, Anaheim, St Louis, Toronto and Atlanta, conducted by Martin
  • One-on-one clinics at fleets, dealerships and warehouse distributor locations across the United States and Canada, conducted by DriveForce district managers.

Meritor officials said the trucks are designed to support the company's existing online training program, which includes 120 courses.