Smith Truck Group new Victorian dealership
While others are shrinking, Smith Truck Group is expanding. Built on the back of fresh ideas and a steep history in truck sales, its new dealership will adorn the gateway to Ballarat,
The Smith Truck Group will be taking a refreshed look into 2017 with a new twostorey dealership in Victorian’s central-west.
Allowing the truck sales company to overlook the Western Freeway, a key freight route between Adelaide and Melbourne, the new location places the Smith Truck Group at the gateway to Ballarat, the third most populated town in Victoria behind Melbourne and Geelong.
Scheduled to open in November, the new dealership will further accommodate the group’s stock of used prime mover and semi-trailer units with the addition of an internal showroom and sales, parts and servicing facilities.
The new dealership will also house a new truck franchise that will open in January and provide new trucks sales, new parts and 24-hour roadside service.
Speaking with Deals on Wheels ahead of its unveiling, Smith Truck Group joint managing director Nathan Smith says the dealership is about future-proofing the business. “We were after a custom-built premises that would suit our growing dealership for years to come,” he says.
“We required new space and facilities to take us into the future and enable us to provide further products to our clients from sales/servicing and parts.”
Purchased three years ago, Smith says the positioning of the land is key to the success of its new home base.
“The new location is situated in full-eye view on the entrance to Ballarat on the Western Freeway, which is extremely important for us for easy access for our Victorian and interstate customers,” he says.
For those heading inside, views from building will be just as good looking back out down the Western Freeway thanks to its impressive glass frontage.
Upon turning their heads to look internally, customers will come across an internal
showroom, which the group will “be using [it] for unique/custom trucks and also for our customers to be able to pick up their new purchase in a clean showroom,” Smith says.
Wanting the customer to be able to see their new purchase on display appears to be just part the Smith Truck Group’s customer approach.
With a sales philosophy similar to the mindset of ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you’, Smith says the company’s goal from this adventure is “to provide a service that we are proud of and would want ourselves from a dealership being a customer”.
To make this target a possibility, the Smith
Truck Group prepares all of its on-average 60unit strong stock internally with full-time staff managing detailing, polishing, painting, panel repair and all mechanics.
On the front line, the company has sales staff handling the customers and administration staff looking after the invoicing, stock inventory and online advertising. It also has staff making weekly stock runs across the country.
MODERN TOUCH BACKED BY HISTORY
The company’s customer approach also extends to the online world, where it is a regular on social media platform Facebook, both promoting new units for sale and showing off its success stories.
“We are very active with our social media accounts and currently have approximately 31,000 Facebook fans.
“It is a great way for us to engage with the public and get our name and products out there,” he says.
Beginning his journey in the industry in 1996, Smith says the way it has changed over the past 20 years means you have to be on top of it all.
“Customers are more savvy and researched now with the internet,” he says, “so it’s important to provide a good product and service that sets you aside from the competition.”
While his industry journey is 20 years old, his experience with trucks began earlier.
Growing up in Ballarat with his brother Clinton, who is also a joint managing director of the Smith Truck Group, Smith was immersed in truck sales from a young age.
“Myself and Clinton both grew up being around trucks,” he says.
“Our grandfather started a successful truck sales and wrecking business in the 1950s, [from] which we still have the original advertising clippings.”
Those trucks were “predominately Bedford, Dodge, Fords and Internationals,” he says.
“Our father has also been in the industry all his life so we grew up spending our time after school and weekends around trucks or playing in the wrecks.”
In fact, the farm they grew up on is where his grandfather ran his truck business from.
That lifetime connection made their transition into truck sales a logical one. It has also provided a wealth of knowledge.
“From being around trucks and working in the industry for all these years myself and Clinton are known in the industry for our expertise,” Smith says.
“We both spend our days pricing vehicles for many new dealers around Australia who in turn wholesale them to us once traded.
“This way we know what we are getting and know we are buying the best stock available.”
And, from mid-November, that stock will be on display at a new dealership.
It is a great way for us to engage with the public and get our name and products out there.
Above: The Smith Truck Group is putting the final touches on its new dealership scheduled to open in mid-November.
1. When it comes to selling trucks, Nathan Smith says his company “always love a big-bunk Kenworth.” With a 130-tonne GCM and double bed option, this 2013 K200 is just that.
2. Polished and ready for a new owner, this 2013 K200 has plenty of bling on show. 3. Nothing like new. The Kenworth K200 has a brandnew set of tyres and a new pair of offset alloy steers.