At the Mid-America Trucking Show, Freightliner LLC and Mercedes-Benz Credit Corp. (MBCC) announced several initiatives designed to help improve heavy-duty used truck sales.

According to Freightliner president Jim Hebe, the OEM and the financing firm intend to effect structural changes within the used-truck market, with the goal being to return value to used trucks and equity to heavy-duty truck owners.

"We are tackling head-on the problems that are plaguing the used-truck business and destroying used-truck values," said Hebe.

The initiatives are designed to increase available capital for used-truck customers, expand the used-truck customer base, increase the model diversity within the used-truck inventory and create additional retail distribution outlets for used trucks.

Among the initiatives is the formation of the FASTruck Div. of MBCC, which will function as a joint finance operation between the two companies. Hebe said the new operation, which will be based in Lisle, IL, will be dedicated to serving qualified, first-time owner-operators and other customers who do not fit the typical borrowing profile demanded by most finance firms.

FASTruck will provide financing for qualified customers of Freightliner, Sterling and Western Star, as well as for special program trucks financed through SelecTrucks, Freightliner's used-truck division.

"One of the leading causes of the current used-truck crisis is a lack of available credit for qualified first-time buyers or other established truckers who have credit availability issues," Hebe said. "There are people out there wanting to enter the trucking business or who would like to trade up to later-model used trucks, but they can't find the financing."

According to Hebe, FASTruck will make financing available to the used-truck market segment and work closely with each buyer to ensure that they each have the highest chance of success.

In addition to FASTruck, Hebe announced the opening of used-truck retail remarketing centers, a new purchase program for used-truck buyers, extension of used-truck refurbishing and reconfiguration initiatives, and the expansion of Freightliner's SelecTrucks network.

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