Heavy-duty truck franchised dealership shops are major employers of truck technicians. Dealerships are privately owned businesses. A franchised dealership is one that has signed a contract with a particular manufacturer to sell and service a particular line of vehicles. A few dealerships now sign contracts with more than one manufacturer. A dealership may also handle a line of trailers under an arrangement similar to one with a truck manufacturer. The sales and service policies of the dealership are usually set by the manufacturer. Service performed while the vehicle is under warranty is usually undertaken by dealerships or authorized service centers. Truck manufacturers have been more aggressive in securing service business for their dealerships. Extended warranties and service plans are designed to channel repair and maintenance work to the dealership shop(s). Manufacturers provide special diagnostic equipment designed specifically for their vehicles. They stress the superiority of their replacement parts over after-market components and promote their service personnel as the most qualified to work on their products.
Working for a major OEM dealership can have many advantages. Technical support, equipment, and the opportunity for ongoing training are usually excellent. When working for an auto dealership, the service technician’s scope of service expertise may be limited to one or two particular model lines. This is not true in heavy-duty tractor and trailer dealerships because each truck tends to be custom built for customers to a much greater extent. However, this trend is undergoing a gradual shift due to widespread European influence (Mercedes/Freightliner, DAF/Paccar, Volvo/Mack) on U.S. trucking OEMs. In offshore markets, trucks tend not to be customized during manufacture.