Today’s medium-duty OEMs point out that, manufacturers, truck dealers and body builders have exceptional resources available to help fleets customize specs, and have programs for sharing ideas and information to make sure chassis and bodies are right for a particular application. Included are body builder manuals and other reference materials that contain important details about upfitting medium-duty commercial trucks. Covered, for example, are OEM recommendations and frame modification guidelines.
“A generation ago, this process involved drawings and body builder manuals being sent across the country, with fingers crossed that there were no mistakes or missed connections to delay the process,” says Kurt Swihart, Kenworth’s marketing manager. “Today, we’re sharing 3D computer aided design (CAD) models that show crossmember locations, clearances, special frame drilling patterns, and other air, electrical, and emissions equipment on the frame.
“The biggest misconception about the medium-duty truck market is that you have to limit your choices or settle for a truck that’s not exactly what you need because price is an issue,” Swihart continues. “Price is only one factor in the total cost of ownership. The lower-priced truck may be more expensive to operate over time, compared to a truck that costs more at the outset but is more durable, reliable and better suited to the task at hand. The low-priced truck probably won’t hold its resale value, either.”
Swihart’s advice to medium-duty truck owners: Focus on the total lifecycle cost of the vehicle.
“Companies that operate medium-duty trucks seek a business solution that provides superior uptime, reliability and dependability,” he points out. “These factors are especially important when making truck choices because day in and day out medium-duty trucks must satisfy customer requirements.”
“Since more medium-duty fleets are considering the lifetime costs of their vehicles,” says Mary Aufdemberg, director of product marketing at Freightliner Trucks, “it’s important to look holistically at the purchase. While all medium-duty fleets are interested in upfit, safety, support, quality and productivity issues, we understand that each customer places different values on each of those attributes and consider that when providing specs and features that will benefit their businesses in the long run.”