Jim Hawthorne, director, national accounts and marketing for Bentley Truck Services, discussed some truck purchasing tips and trends he’s seen this past year with Work Truck Executive Editor Lauren Fletcher. Hawthorne has been with the company, which specializes in commercial truck sales, rental, leasing, and parts and service, for 12 years. His role includes handling larger fleets, from regional to national, as well as the overall branding and marketing of Bentley and its OEM partners.
Developing Unique Insight
Working with the national accounts gives Hawthorne a glimpse into a variety of different market segments and locations. This provides him with the ability to see different trends in spec’ing vehicles and gives him insight into what individual businesses need, and how they found what works for them.
Truck Purchasing Trends
With the dawn of the pandemic, the world saw a large influx in-home delivery and final-mile type businesses come into the work truck market, as well as an increase in medical product companies of all sorts increasing their fleet sizes.
“Before the pandemic started, we saw an increase in home delivery businesses pick up. However, due to the pandemic, we went from seeing only larger home delivery companies in that segment to now a small business like a local brewery delivering their own products to larger retail stores and everyone in the middle. Everyone found themselves trying to figure out how to keep selling their product to the consumers when they weren't out shopping for it,” he explained.
Hawthorne said he’s seen demand for everything from small vans to bigger trucks and even up to coast-to-coast tractors.
Whether a fleet manager has one truck or 500, they’ve got their hands full with everything from compliance, safety, specs to driver retention and more. Hawthorne’s piece of advice for them is when it comes time to upgrade their fleet, they need to take the time to see what's changed in terms of what’s available on that vehicle to increase fleet safety because some of it may help reduce their workload, especially from a compliance and driver retention standpoint.