TravelCenters of America LLC is continuing its aggressive march into the commercial tire dealer market. Barry Richards, executive vice president, said the almost-year-old TA Service Commercial Tire Network is "on the right course."
The truck stop company invited a group of truck tire manufacturers to a meeting ahead of the 2017 Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show to talk about some of the top issues facing the industry. Greg Frary, vice president of truck service, said the discussion spanned responsible tire resources, Tier 2 tires, and the looming uncertainty of the quashed tariff on truck tires imported from China.
Richards said the company wants to leverage its 244 brick-and-mortar locations (there's one in Canada, but all the rest are in the U.S.) Those are good staging areas, but the company also has 150 on-site service trucks that visit fleet customers' yards to perform maintenance checks, plus 600 road squad trucks that offer roadside service for tire blowouts and other emergency breakdowns.
And while the company has historically focused on large, national fleets, Richards said TA Truck Service has been aggressive in branching out. "We're going after non-traditional fleets," such as vocational fleets (think plumbers, electricians, etc.) plus multi-use construction companies.
Richards said the company has "drastically shifted" its focus and is "doing a much better job" working with smaller fleet customers.
Another new venture created in the last year has been a partnership with auction companies that sell used trucks. TravelCenters has created the "TA Certified" label. The company is working with auction firms to inspect, repair and certify the condition of used trucks before they're sold, much like original equipment manufacturers in the passenger automotive space certify their used vehicles at dealerships.