Silver lining

Spray-on bedliners are becoming increasingly popular among truck customers as well as
a profit centre for dealers

For dealers, the ability to understand a particular customer’s needs and wants, includes not only the vehicle and options but also accessories. Furthermore, it also represents an opportunity for additional business through the F&I department as well as a chance to provide the customer with features that add practicality and also exclusivity.

When it comes to trucks, such items often include tonneau covers, side steps, bug deflectors and of course bedliners. In fact, the latter have become so popular with truck buyers, it almost seems a pickup isn’t complete without one. And increasingly, truck dealers are understanding the benefits of going with spray-on linings as opposed to drop in units.

“In Canada in particular,” there are advantages of utilizing a spray-on liner,” says Pierre Gagnon, a Timmins, Ont. native who is CEO of Rhino Linings, a leading manufacturer of spray-in truck bed liners.

“The essential issue with a drop in bedliner is that it creates a moisture trap between the liner and the steel bed of the truck. Combined with salted winter roads and rain, the bed starts to rust, causing holes to eventually appear. With a spray-on liner, it conforms directly to the surface of the bed, so there is no gap between the coating and the bed itself.” Additionally, because the material can stretch as much as 200 per cent or more, spray-on bedliners aren’t prone to cracking like their drop-in plastic counterparts.

Rhino Linings, which has been in the U.S. since 1988 and in Canada for the last decade, was the brainchild of Mike Lewis who originally saw an opportunity for flexible, durable material to protect conveyor belts on mining equipment in his native South Africa. Today, in North America, spray-on liners account for more than half of all bed lining installations in pickups, something that hasn’t gone unnoticed among dealers.

In Canada, Rhino Linings has developed relationships with large truck dealers, including Hickman Group in N.L., Capital Group in Sask., and Jack Carter in Calgary, Alta. to the point that they apply the spray-on coatings in-house. “It’s good for high volume truck dealers that recognize the profit potential of bringing the product in-house,” says Gagnon. “Not only does it help bolster their F&I portfolio, but they also have full control over the application process, ensuring consistent quality standards.” For dealers interested in this approach, Rhino Linings is able to supply the polyurethane, equipment and the training required to use it.

Even for dealers who might not be able to justify the expense of bringing the process in house, Rhino Linings has a network of applicators across Canada that can spray the product for them, while close proximity to the company’s own warehouses ensures quick turnaround. “Many dealers and their customers,” are often under time constraints, so it pays to be able to supply the product and have it installed as quickly as possible,” says Gagnon. He’s absolutely right.

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