Volvo Trucks North America is planning to expand and improve its dealer network as part of an overall effort to build more business from customers.

Volvo said its dealer network has grown rapidly during the last two years, from 197 full-line dealers in June 2001, to 240 today in the United States and Canada. In addition, many of the new Volvo Trucks dealers are located on major Interstate highways in the western U.S., part of a strategic expansion to offer more complete geographic support for Volvo’s long-haul customers.

Volvo has launched "Symbols of Excellence" in January, an independent review process that rates a Volvo Trucks dealer’s performance on all aspects of its business. Each dealer receives a summary of review findings and list of opportunities for improvement, the company said.

Volvo is also working on several other related efforts, most notably strategically locating EPA’02-compliant Volvo VE swing engines at Volvo dealers to replace customer engines in the event of a failure and to get the customer’s truck back on the road with minimal delay.

The company is also using a Logistics Partnership Agreement (LPA) to help dealers manage parts inventory. Volvo said its LPA has increased over-the-counter parts availability for participating dealers from 78% (average pre-LPA) to 90% (average after six months with LPA), a 15% improvement.