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Engine builder Caterpillar Inc. is tapping into the growing recreational vehicle service sector with the rollout of a nationwide network of centers offering comprehensive RV repair, maintenance work and emergency assistance.
Initially, Caterpillar has established 56 Cat RV centers as part of the Peoria, Ill.-based company’s existing network of 2,500 authorized Cat service locations. Company officials are planning to add 10 more RV centers by the middle of 2006, including a free-standing facility affiliated with the Ring Power chain of Caterpillar service centers in Florida.
“The network of locations that offer this service is growing fast,” said Tony Kapusta, bus and specialty vehicle group, noting the majority of the centers currently are servicing RVs powered by Caterpillar engines.
Each RV operation is equipped with dedicated service bays manned by certified technicians and is offering 24-hour, seven-day-a-week emergency service.
“For our emergency service, we negotiated special rates with local hotels if customers need to stay overnight and also have shuttle service to the service center,” noted Jason Phelps, customer communications.
Customers can access a 24-hour hotline or go online at rv.cat.com to locate the nearest Cat RV center.
Phelps said the range of services and accommodations offered at each Cat RV Center is determined by a three-tier achievement program, which mandates facilities meet specific requirements before moving to the next level.
“We have a district manager who tours each facility and signs off on their achieved level of certification,” Phelps said.
The program is structured in three levels:
Level 1: The bulk of the initial 56 centers fit into this category, which requires that facilities offer basic RV service, primarily on Caterpillar engines. Facilities also must offer a dedicated RV service bay, clean work environment and secure facilities.
Level 2: Centers reaching the second level will be equipped with a specialized lift for RV chassis and transmission service authorized by industry suppliers. In addition, facilities will be able to perform “in-house” repairs or subcontract the work to local dealers.
Level 3: The top-tier centers with regard to recreational vehicle service will offer customers “creature comforts” like LP gas stations, electrical hookups and dump stations.