Q&A with Chevy: Fleets going with smaller trucks

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2016 Chevy Low Cab Forward2016 Chevy Low Cab Forward

Hard Working Trucks talked with GM about the medium-duty truck market and its new Low Cab Forward truck. Special thanks to Paul Loewer, commercial product and sales support manager for GM medium-duty trucks for taking the time to answer our questions.

HWT: What do customers generally spec in a medium duty truck?

Loewer: When shopping for a medium duty truck, customers usually assess how they will use the truck, what capabilities they need their truck to have and how they ultimately plan to upfit the vehicle.  One of the most important specs is gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which takes into consideration the weight of the crew, upfit equipment, tools, cargo and how the cargo will be loaded.

In addition to payload and GVWR, it is also important to select the correct wheelbase, cab configuration and powertrain for the job.  The Chevrolet Low Cab Forward can be ordered in more than 400 configurations to fit a business’s specific needs. GVWRs range from 12,000 lbs. up to 19,500 lbs..  Wheelbase lengths range from 109 to 212 inches to accommodate a variety of body types, including dump, van body, refrigerated box, flat bed, stake and service bodies. There are also three engines available – two gas and one diesel.  (Additional vehicle specs may be found here: https://www.chevrolet.com/commercial/low-cab-forward-cab-over-truck).

Equally important to consider when shopping for a truck is the total cost of ownership, which includes the initial purchase price, fuel costs, service, warranty and more.

HWT: Online shopping has drastically increased through the years. UPS and USPS both report an increase in deliveries as a result. How has this trend impacted the medium duty truck segment?

Loewer: As more people turn to online shopping, companies are expanding their fleets to meet the delivery expectations of customers.  In the past, large delivery trucks used to be filled and it would sometimes take the driver several days to deliver all of the packages. Today’s market does not allow for packages to sit, so fleets are adjusting their strategy and purchasing smaller trucks like the Chevrolet Low Cab Forward to cover smaller geographic regions and get packages to customers in just two to three days.

HWT: Are there other trends and/or industry developments that are affecting the medium-duty truck segment?

Loewer: In addition to e-commerce, low, stabilized fuel costs are creating opportunities for businesses to increase their fleet size due to the lower cost of ownership. Also, it’s clear the urbanization trend is here to stay, and fleets are adjusting their vehicle lineup from large trucks to smaller models for efficient operation in urban areas. Chevrolet Low Cab Forward’s tight turning radius, exceptional visibility and cab-over design are highly attractive to fleets operating in city centers.

HWT: How about overall ride, handling and other performance characteristics?

Loewer: The Chevrolet Low Cab Forward has received praise for its maneuverability and visibility. Its turning radius is better than most compact cars making it the ideal truck for cities.