Ram, Nissan: Don’t forget commercial vehicles

Two automakers say that dealers could add significant sales and service volume by maximizing their commercial truck business.

Jim Morrison, head of Ram trucks, says some Fiat Chrysler dealers overlook a potential profit center with the ProMaster and ProMaster City commercial vehicles.

And Nissan will allow its approximately 1,100 dealers to sell any model in its portfolio commercially, offering the discount that the factory gives fleet customers.

Morrison said that with the economy recovering, small businesses are buying fleet vehicles. He pointed to small work van sales, up 27 percent in the first three months of the year, and large van sales, up 26 percent.

“So some of the biggest growth, in an industry that’s up 3 [percent], some of the best money potential for our dealers is sitting right in their lots,” Morrison said. “Unfortunately sometimes they put them in the corners and hide them away.”

Morrison adds that dealers with a strong fleet business tend to have steady work in the service department: “Their shops are always full, whether it be day or night, because those people are smart enough to know they need to do the maintenance on the vehicles.”

Nissan, meanwhile, is pushing its “fleet-tail” initiative, which will require dealers to operate as traditional commercial vehicle sellers, including hiring a commercial adviser who calls on businesses about their vehicle needs.

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