Hunter Truck Sales
Roots Run Deep with Eaton and Truck Dealer
“The best part of our relationship with Eaton has been the consistency that we have received over the years. They are definitely our number one vendor.”
President, Hunter Truck Sales
Bob Hunter well remembers the first time someone from Eaton called on him. The year was 1964 and Hunter was becoming increasingly frustrated with a malfunctioning transmission that he had overhauled on several occasions but couldn't identify the problem.
“I don’t even remember how the Eaton rep got here,” recalls Hunter. “But he asked to take the truck with the bad transmission for a drive, and I went with him. I’ll never forget how he was looking at the gearshift as we were going down the road. I had a sense that he knew
everything that was happening inside that transmission.
“And sure enough he must have, later explaining to us that the shift fork was bent due to a bracket that was upside down. He never even took the transmission apart, even though we had pulled and replaced it three or four times without finding anything wrong. Well, that showed us early on that Eaton really knows how to give customer support.”
Hunter says that Eaton rep, the late Dick Heys, has since become a legend throughout the entire Hunter Truck Sales organization, adding, “To this day we still talk about him.”
With the bar set so high by the legend, Hunter says he has never expected anything less from the Roadranger reps who have called on him since.
But much has changed from the time when Heys was around.
Founded by Homer J. Hunter in 1938 as a small, one-store truck dealership in tiny Eau Claire, Pa., Hunter Trucks Sales is now a 15-location powerhouse that encompasses just about the entire state of Pennsylvania, parts of eastern New Jersey and Buffalo, N.Y. With some 740 employees, the company now offers complete sales, service and parts support for Peterbilt and International trucks, and the company also offers long- and short-term leasing through its affiliation with PacLease and Idealease.
Service locations, with a multimillion dollar parts inventory and more than 85 parts delivery trucks, have hours of operation ranging from 10 to 24 hours a day. In addition, the company’s line of Dragon Product trailers support a growing base of customers in the oil and gas industries.
Homer’s two sons, Bob and Harry, joined the company during the 1960s. Homer’s grandchildren – Jeff Hunter, David Hunter, William Hunter and Nancy Hunter Mycka – are the current owners.
Even “The Legend” might have been hard pressed to singlehandedly support today’s Hunter Truck Sales.
However, the new legion of Eaton and Roadranger sales and service providers who are more than up for the task, says Hunter.
“We sat down recently and thought back on all of the Eaton people who have called on us since Heys’ first visit,” says Hunter. “We came to the conclusion that all of them have provided us with tremendous support over the years.”
Hunter adds that having been on the Eaton Dealer Council for about 20 years allowed him to make additional key contacts. Another benefit has been the hundreds of Hunter-sponsored customer open houses and other events that are always well attended and well supported by Eaton.
“Depending on the event, we might bring together 200 to 300 customers,” says Jeff Hunter. “The Eaton folks are always there and it’s just a great opportunity to build and solidify relationships between us, Eaton and the customer.”
Specification assistance, troubleshooting and warranty support round out the additional values that Jeff lists as keys to Eaton’s success at Hunter Truck Sales.
“The best part of our relationship with Eaton has been the consistency that we have received over the years,” says Jeff. “They are definitely our number one vendor.”
And that consistency has always been there, he adds, even through good times as well as bad.
“Like any company, we have had a couple of ugly incidents over the years, which Eaton has always addressed and straightened out rather quickly,” he says. “That’s when you really find out that you are dealing with a good company.”
He goes on to relate how a large customer recently purchased their first five new Peterbilt trucks and was having some driveline problems. He subsequently summoned his Roadranger reps to put out the fire.
“They handled the situation so well, the customer switched his whole fleet to Eaton components and is now running about 400 trucks and almost every one is speced with Eaton components,” says Jeff. “That’s the kind of customer testimony we find just about every day. They support the product and our customers after we deliver the trucks.”
Even with Hunter Truck Sales locations scattered across roughly 50,000 square miles of real estate, Jeff maintains that the consistency and support he so much enjoys has never been compromised.
“We always get the same quality service regardless of the location,” he says. “It doesn’t matter that our home stores are in the west and that there is quite a bit of distance between the Pittsburgh area and Allentown or Philadelphia or the two locations in New Jersey.” Likewise, it doesn’t matter where the Roadranger lineup of driveline products are located.
West, east, south or north, Jeff says, “They have the best driveline combinations in the country… probably the world.”
Commenting on Eaton’s latest lineup of automated transmissions, UltraShift® PLUS, Jeff adds, “Every one of our customers who has it loves it. That transmission has no competition.”
Nor did the legendary Dick Heys, who set the highest of standards for those who would follow.