Used trucks

Revival trend

Used trucks are virtually worthless? They were once, but the market for used trucks has become attractive – for customers as well as for manufacturers – because they offer sustainability and quality at affordable prices.

2016-09-13

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They are robust and reliable. Transporting sandstone takes a lot out of a vehicle. Hard labour is all in a day's work for the trucks owned by Southern Counties Liming Ltd in the southern English county of West Sussex, because the huge lumps of rock that are used in the construction industry first have to be transported from quarry to warehouse. "For a forklift truck, this is perhaps one of the most challenging working environments," says forklift driver Daniel Davey. There is no surfaced ground, the truck is exposed to all weathers, and it has to cope with the slope into the quarry time and again.


"I definitely wanted a truck that is as easy as possible to drive in these conditions," Davey declares. He admitted that he had not initially thought about a used truck. "But when the Linde truck was delivered, you could see immediately that it still had all the qualities of a premium truck – including the robustness."


Increasing demand for used trucks

"The used truck market is booming," says Martin Danner, Head of International Used Trucks & Short Term Rental Sales at Linde. This is partly because truck manufacturers are recognising the potential of this segment and have taken the refurbishment of vehicles into their own hands. Major firms are reaping exceptional benefits, and the KION Group's multi-brand strategy provides it with a winning combination of high-quality reconditioned used trucks and a range of premium brands. As well as Linde, this is also the case at STILL, where Ann-Kathrin Wolpert, STILL's product manager for used trucks, says: "We now sell one used truck for every two new trucks." She too has noticed that demand for used trucks is rising. As a result, STILL has established special reconditioning centres. In Germany alone, the Hamburg-based KION brand company also has around 1,000 used trucks permanently available via a website.


At both Linde and STILL, trucks are labelled with different grades of quality seal indicating that they have been refurbished sustainably in accordance with a standard international classification system. At Linde, for example, used trucks bearing the 'Approved Truck' label are reconditioned and sold only by authorised contractual partners or Linde subsidiaries. The uniform standards applicable internationally at both brand companies guarantee that customers can rely on the same quality products and services everywhere. Each year, Linde sell tens of thousands of trucks worldwide in this way – and the trend is expected to continue in the coming years, because there are so many reasons for customers to invest in used trucks.


Used trucks for coping with peaks in demand

Start-ups, growth-stage companies or even companies that experience significant seasonal fluctuations are all typical examples of why firms cannot guarantee, or even estimate accurately, when a truck will be used to full capacity. In all cases, used trucks are an efficient alternative. Standby Power Ltd, which is located near London, two hours' drive north of the Southern Counties Liming quarry, specialises in equipment that guarantees an uninterrupted power supply and it also supplies generators and batteries. The firm initially managed with one rental truck for these deliveries but, given the rise in demand, it soon became clear that owning its own truck has significant advantages. "At first, I was dubious about used trucks," recalls the firm's director Bob Bendle. "But Linde's huge selection of refurbished trucks was impressive." Bendle initially opted for an electric counterbalance truck that is so compact that it fits on one vehicle alongside the generators, enabling the firm to unload the generators itself directly at the destination. Standby Power Ltd now has three used Linde trucks in use.


"However, all of that also means that used truck customers have become more demanding," explains Linde's Martin Danner. As a result, quality labels, certified standards or even warranties are part of the offering at Linde; customers even expect detailed advice and financing models. In the past, manufacturers wanted their ex-hire and ex-lease trucks off the premises as quickly as possible, but the business is very different now. Used trucks provide flexibility. Companies with relatively large fleets, for example, can accommodate a wide range of operating conditions by using a mix of new and used trucks. For small companies, a used truck as an entry-level vehicle is often a very good fit for their budget and if the company grows it can then invest directly in the latest technology offered by a new truck.