Daimler Trucks North America Announces Elite Support Dealer Service Network

New Program Builds Customer Service Quality through Continuous Improvement Processes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – March 22, 2012 – Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) today announced the launch of Elite Support, a collaborative program between Daimler Trucks North America and its truck dealers, focused on improving the customer experience at Freightliner and Western Star branded dealerships. The new program provides quality assurance, rapid diagnostics, exceptional turnaround times and consistent communication, all provided by a highly trained staff.

Elite Support focuses on enhancing dealership processes that address customer concerns, which leads to higher standards of customer satisfaction throughout the network. During the coming months, Elite Support truck dealerships across the U.S. and Canada will be holding open house events to share program details and show their local customers the impact that this program has made on their dealership. At these upcoming events, both existing and new customers will also learn about the expanding network of Elite Support certified dealer locations.

“Dealer standards programs from OEMs are nothing new, but dealer-driven ones are,” said Martin Osborne, general manager of distribution network development for Daimler Trucks North America LLC. “What sets Elite Support apart is that DTNA-affiliated dealers are using continuous improvement methods to provide the foundation and skills for dealers to address their self-identified opportunities for improvement.”

Elite Support has been nearly three years in the making. The initiative began with a group of pilot dealers and DTNA collaborating to improve and standardize the customer experience across all dealerships. To become Elite Support certified, dealers are required to demonstrate proficiency on an annual basis in 19 different areas such as Express Assessment, service and parts processes, technical and operational training, and customer amenities. All of the current 129 specific standards are focused on providing a superior customer service experience from participating locations.

The Elite Support network already is thriving with strong participation from the truck dealers. Currently, 79 dealers have been certified with 76 more dealers in the process of becoming certified. In most cases, dealer certification achievement takes approximately seven months. Some of the major steps are:

- Orientation for dealer ownership and general managers

- Completion of a self assessment by the dealership Change Management Team

- Completion of a two-day Elite Support boot camp

- Completion of a three-day Continuous Improvement Coordinator course

- Completion of all Elite Support requirements by dealership (currently 129 standards)

- Validation of standards by a third-party to achieve certification

- Post certification, dealers are required to complete quarterly continuous improvement events and monthly audits along with specific monthly metric tracking

- Annual recertification

“The current standards are the beginning, not the end,” said Osborne. “This collaborative program between DTNA and our truck dealerships will continually raise the bar so our end customers benefit from the improved customer service experience and standardization Elite Support offers. The renewed culture of pride the program is building with our dealer partners is an added benefit.”

About Daimler Trucks North America

Daimler Trucks North America LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets commercial vehicles under the Freightliner, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates. Daimler Trucks North America is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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