As it introduced the newest addition to its product line during the National Truck Equipment Association Work Truck Show in early March, Workhorse Custom Chassis emphasized a firm focus on what it sees as a growing market for walk-in trucks.
“There has been a recent surge in walk-in sales the last two years, which can be attributed to an increase in parcel delivery vehicles, as more people are shopping through the Internet, the Home Shopping Network and other sources,” said Jay Sandler, vice president of commercial product. “That trend should keep fleets expanding for several years.”
For multiple stops over short distances, according to Sandler, the walk-in truck has a number of advantages that make it suitable for a wide range of businesses. “It has become the ubiquitous parcel delivery vehicle and well known with service and delivery firms in the snack food, baking, linen, uniform, vending and newspaper businesses,” he related. “There are actually a wide array of businesses that find them useful, including contractors who use them as mobile warehouses and workshops.”
One of the benefits of walk-ins, Sandler pointed out, is efficiency. “On average,” he said, “it takes a high-cube or tilt-cab driver two to three times as long to deliver a package as a walk-in truck driver. In addition, walk-ins have aluminum bodies with a long lifecycle. Many have been in service 15 to 20 years or more, outlasting two or three other trucks doing similar duty.”
To meet these growing needs, Workhorse introduced the W62 model in GVWRs of 19,500 and 23,500 lbs. Offered with wheelbases of 157, 178, 190, 208 and 218 in. and with bodies by Morgan Olson or Utilimaster, the W62 extends the OEM’s lineup, joining the W42, which is offered in models from 9,400 to 16,000 lbs. GVWR. Initial offerings of the W62 will be powered by a 310-HP General Motors 8.1 L Vortec V8 gasoline engine mated to a five-speed Allison 1000HS (for 19,500-lb. GVWR) or Allison 2200HS (for 23,500-lb. GVWR) automatic transmission.
A diesel version of the W62 using International’s MaxxForce 5 V6 engine will be launched by mid-summer, enabling the W62 to provide yet another choice. On display at the show, for example, was a hybrid truck version of the walk-in.
The platform uses Eaton’s parallel hybrid components with existing chassis hardware in combination with International’s 200-HP V-6 VT-275 diesel engine.
Workhorse already partners with Azure Dynamics Corp. to build gasoline-electric hybrid versions of its W42 chassis. The series electric hybrids use GM Vortec 6.0L and 4.8L gasoline engines.
Acquired by International Truck and Engine Corp. in 2005, Workhorse now has access to vast amounts of manufacturing and sales expertise, Sandler noted. The company, he added, has begun establishing relationships with International dealers, a move it expects will bolster the kind of product, sales and service support needed to be successful in the walk-in truck market.
“We’re very confident that the combined expertise of Workhorse, International and GM, supported by the wider range of our product offerings, will yield significant results in getting the benefits of these trucks into more people’s hands,” Sandler stated. “This is the kind of synergy the walk-in market hasn’t seen before. We think the walk-in truck market holds a lot of promise, and we’re dedicated to making vehicles that work better for anyone who uses them.”