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PORTLAND, Ore. — Jim Hebe, president and chief executive officer of Freightliner LLC, says his company will release a new plan to revamp the way it markets used trucks across North America by improving the financing system in place for smaller operators.

“(We) will to some extent startle the industry, but it will be — for the most part — in an effort to, as the police say, ‘preserve and protect’ the value of used trucks in this business,” insists Hebe. “What it will mean to dealers is the dreaded ‘R’ word: recourse. That’s going to make me unpopular, but it’s time somebody said it.”

While he wouldn’t release exact details of the new credit scheme, Hebe did promise shared-risk amongst Freightliner, its dealers and finance companies would get credit rates on second-hand trucks under control.

He also explains a key to the plan will be to double the number of Selectruck dealerships over the next year to almost 70 across Canada and the U.S. The company’s research indicates truckers simply won’t travel far to by equipment, whether it be new or used. So it is critical to get facilities in place where high concentrations of O/Os — or potential O/Os — exist.

“We can’t continue to sell new trucks to people who should be in used trucks,” he says. Given the price of diesel, he insists O/Os need to keep their truck payment in the neighborhood of $1,500 or less.

“If you’re over $1,600 to $1,800, you’re dead,” adds Hebe. “It’s no coincidence that we spent last Saturday talking to our captive finance company and it’s no coincidence that the Associates are in here today.”

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