Issue Jul Aug 14
Marathon Industries has more than 40 years in the truck body industry. In 1993, it purchased Satellite Truck Body, which was founded in 1970. Today, Marathon’s core competency is the manufacture, assembly, installation and repair of truck bodies, trailers and transportation equipment.
“We strive to be a single source of products, service and information for our customers,” President and CEO Chad Hess says.
Marathon is headquartered in Santa Clarita, Calif., a northern suburb of Los Angeles. In Santa Clarita, it has more than 10 acres of production, chassis storage, administrative space and a retail showroom. Its facilities include roughly 100,000 square feet of manufacturing space.
“We don’t have a traditional assembly line,” Hess says. “We have more of cell-based approach.”
The company strives to be a single-source solution provider for most styles of truck equipment. Marathon is an MVP member of the National Truck Equipment Association and receives multimillion-dollar credit lines from Ford Motor Credit and City National Bank.
What helps Marathon differentiate itself in the truck body industry is its ability to manage sizeable orders from large fleet and truck rental customers while still being able to respond to the individual situations and needs facing dealers and other customers. It can quickly produce high-quality, competitively priced products.
“We’ve carved out a niche thanks to our flexibility,” Hess says. “We can customize products and devise ideas that make customer operations more efficient.”
Marathon’s van bodies include moving vans, dry freight aluminum, dry freight fiberglass reinforced plywood, medical home delivery vans, Euro curtain models and reefer van bodies. Its parcel delivery vans include dual and single rear wheel, trades worker, prisoner transfer vans, aero stand-up cab and custom vehicles. Its line of platform and stake bodies includes stake bed, flat bed, stake dump, chipper/forestry bodies and contractor’s bodies.
Marathon’s utility beds and contractor bodies include standard utility bed, trades worker, special bodies and plumber bodies. It also offers various specialty and custom bodies, including studio production trucks, camera trucks, wardrobe vehicles, studio stake beds, mobile command trucks and custom trailers. Its specialty and custom capabilities helped Marathon become a top supplier of truck equipment to the motion picture rental industry.
“We can adapt product lines based on customer needs,” Hess says.
Marathon’s commitment to quality is illustrated in its warranty terms. On all newly installed bodies, Marathon offers a five-year warranty from structural defects and a one-year warranty from defects in workmanship.
Marathon offers a number of value-added services. It can repair and service all manufacturers’ truck equipment and trailers using materials that meet or exceed the commercial transportation industry’s standards. Its repair facilities use the same technology used for fabrication of new bodies and trailers.
The company also offers various equipment installation, unit modification and fleet services. These include everything from lift gate sales and installation, trailer refurbishing, body swaps and customizing, bus refurbishing and paint service to studio conversions, custom ladder racks, body modifications, hitch installation and dump hoist installation.
Parts are another aspect of Marathon’s service offerings. It has a large inventory of parts to repair or modify its products. It also provides parts for other manufacturers’ truck bodies and trailers. It has a large online catalogue of truck accessories and stocks a wide variety of chassis under a multimillion-dollar pool distributors arrangement.
Thanks to its efforts to effectively and professionally solve the transportation challenges that impact its customers, Marathon has established itself in the truck body industry. “We invest in both the sales and marketing end of the business and the operations and manufacturing end of the business,” Hess says.
The company is looking to respond to the trends in its industry. For example, it has one location in Southern California. Although this is beneficial because of its proximity to a large population center, it can be difficult to compete on the East Coast. However, Hess says some larger fleets have started to trend away from national vendors and are looking for regional partners.
Marathon has bounced back well after the recent recession. In the coming years, it will focus on maintaining a strong position in the truck body industry. “We will continue to improve and provide the best products,” Hess says.