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Volvo Trucks launches adaptive preventive maintenance contract

March 1, 2023
With VTNA's new Blue service contract, dealers can schedule PMs 30 days in advance to help mitigate unplanned downtime. In addition, the OEM released a new connected vehicle analytics tool to recommend ideal configurations for a new Class 8 truck.

ORLANDO, Florida—A new preventive maintenance contract from Volvo Trucks North America bundles connected services and asset data to run an adaptive, dealer-managed service plan.

Volvo Trucks announced its new Blue service contract during American Trucking Associations' Technology & Maintenance Council's (TMC) 2023 Annual Meeting. Under the Volvo Blue service contract, all work is performed by Volvo-certified technicians using genuine or authorized Volvo parts. The service contract also includes real-time monitoring and management of all software and recall updates.

The objective, according to Mike Furst, director of contract services and leasing technology solutions for Volvo Trucks North America, is to simplify PM scheduling for both fleets and dealers. Through the Blue service contract, dealers can schedule PMs 30 days in advance and leverage connected fleet data so maintenance is more predictive.

Each PM interval includes an oil analysis and a 74-point inspection, which is meant to identify any additional repairs that can be performed while the truck is in the shop. PM intervals also include valve adjustments, DPF cleaning, changing rear axle oil, and other additional recommended services.

The Volvo Blue service contract leverages real-time over-the-air truck data to tailor the service plan based on the actual usage and application of an individual truck. All maintenance intervals follow a predetermined schedule to minimize disruptions to fleet operations, Volvo noted.

“This is all designed to prevent multiple stops at the dealership and so the dealer is best prepared to order the parts and get additional repairs noted on the request,” Furst said.

Included in the Volvo Blue service contract, Volvo customers have access to the over-the-air remote diagnostics and remote programming suite. These services identify anticipated breakdowns and send the vehicle’s diagnostic data automatically to the dealership or repair center before the truck arrives for its scheduled preferred service time. 

The new offering is different than VTNA’s past maintenance contracts, which had a lower take rate from dealer customers, Furst explained. Traditionally, the onus was on the fleet to schedule their own PMs with their dealers. However, VTNA found that many fleets ended up missing some key PM intervals.

“We felt that was driving some of the downtime,” Furst said. “The other issue was they didn’t have payment options. They had to prepay, so you’re looking at $10,000 or more for these contracts sometimes. That was a big obstacle.”

With this new adaptive maintenance offering, Volvo also hopes to prevent fleets from sitting at dealer sites and waiting for parts.  

“This does not eliminate the parts shortage issue,” Furst said. “That still persists, but it helps alleviate some of the parts pain in a couple ways.”

One way, according to Furst, is dealers know 30 days in advance exactly what trucks are coming in and what for what maintenance intervals. Armed with that knowledge, dealers can better plan ahead and order needed parts ahead of time.

“Worst case scenario, if [fleets] have a confirmed appointment three weeks out and the part is still not there, the dealer can contact the fleet and push the appointment out until the part is in,” Furst added. “So, we never want the truck to arrive where it’s going to sit and wait on parts.”  

With the Volvo Blue service contract, fixed service fees can be spread evenly throughout the chosen contract period duration of 12 to 60 months. Customers may elect to be billed via bank draft to their preferred account or bundle with their loan or lease from Volvo Financial Services.

Volvo’s new connected vehicle analytics tool

In addition to its maintenance contract, VTNA rolled out a new connected vehicle analytics (CVA) tool that collects data from fleet operations, including current truck configurations, daily routes, average speed, and fuel efficiency, so dealers can recommend the ideal configurations for a new Class 8 truck purchase that is tailored to a fleet’s specific operations.

Using Volvo Trucks’ CVA tool, dealers can gain quantitative insights into how a customer’s fleet is operating, as well as the updates and changes that can be made in the specifications for new trucks.

Moreover, dealers can access an anonymized pool of vehicles to benchmark how their customer’s fleet is performing compared to other similarly spec’d vehicles.

Duane Tegels, VTNA powertrain product marketing manager, explained the data-driven tool allows dealers to compare different powertrain specifications on 143,000 trucks that are running across the U.S. today.

“This tool will allow our dealers to look at specifications and real-world data such as average weekly miles run, routing, active and inactive faults, and geographic locations in which trucks are running,” Tegels said. “This information allows us to specify this truck and tailor fit it to our customers’ applications.”  

This story originally appeared on FleetOwner.com.

About the Author

Cristina Commendatore

Cristina Commendatore is the Executive Editor of FleetOwner magazine. She has reported on the transportation industry since 2015, covering topics such as business operational challenges, driver and technician shortages, truck safety, and new vehicle technologies. She holds a master’s degree in journalism from Quinnipiac University in Hamden, Conn.