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Up front about pricing for bits and pieces

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Small fleets and owner drivers who aren’t conscious of their costs invariably go to the wall, and experienced ones know that costing goes much further than initial purchase price. A saving at the point of sale can evaporate quickly if running costs are higher than expected.

Back in the days when I worked for a major truck maker that was vertically integrated, like Scania is, the most common objection to buying such a truck brand was the lack of alternative sources for parts and service.

The fear was that once they’d bought the truck, buyers would be locked into expensive, one-make parts supply.

Buying a horizontally integrated truck, as all North American brands were back in the 1980s , meant that the owner could source many parts from the original supplier, from parts specialists or from other North American truck dealers.

Parts for North American power trains were widespread and, hence, competitively priced.

These days, global truck makers have become more vertically integrated and the big players are using more and more vertically-integrated componentry (the latest example is Kenworth’s fitment of the DAF-sourced MX13 engine).

Vertically-integrated Scania has taken this captive-parts objection seriously and has implemented a policy of keen pricing for commonly needed parts, particularly those with safety ramifications, such as brakes, lights and mirrors.

Service exchange items include air compressors, air con compressors, alternators, clutches, crankshafts, cylinder heads, complete engines, hydraulic pumps, injectors and injection pumps, oil pumps, axle gear sets, planetaries, retarders, starter motors, steering boxes, turbochargers and water pumps.

Service exchange items are rebuilt in Scania workshops to new-component specifications, using new or recycled parts and are sold with a 12-month warranty if fitted by a Scania authorised workshop. Some exchange units can be fitted at a fixed-cost price.

Scania has been a competitor in the Australian market for many years, achieving steady growth, without apparent market leadership aspirations. This measured approach seems to have been made with a high degree of customer focus and without major product drama, since glitches with the early V8s.

Scania’s concentration on sensible parts pricing is an example of this careful approach to truck marketing. – Allan Whiting

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