Spartan Motors announced today that it’s withdrawing from a competition to produce the next vehicle for the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Spartan will continue to offer prototype production support for the USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle (NGDV) project. Specifically, the company will provide its expertise on interior cargo construction.
“As a global leader in fleet vehicle design and production, we were honored to be among a select group of vehicle makers to win the USPS prototype award,” said Daryl Adams, president and CEO of Spartan Motors. “However, when we took a close look at the economics as a result of our inability to reach a satisfactory agreement with our commercial chassis supplier, further participation in the program as the primary body builder did not meet our baseline financial targets.
“Working closely with one of the USPS prototype award participants will enable us to participate in this significant NGDV program without the related upfront developmental capital requirement, while building what we’re best at for the fleet market – custom interior cargo management solutions.”
Spartan’s Utilimaster has produced route delivery and other vehicles for the USPS since 1999. As previously announced, Utilimaster was one of six vehicle manufacturers selected to receive the prototype award as part of a comprehensive USPS Request for Proposal (RFP) process.
After a thorough evaluation, in-depth supplier consideration, and extensive financial modeling, Spartan has determined that remaining in the USPS NGDV project as a cargo management supplier provides a better return on capital, which better serves the company and its shareholders.
“We would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the USPS for considering and selecting Spartan to take part in the evolution of their fleet,” continued Adams. “We look forward to assisting with development effort and providing the USPS with high quality cargo management solutions that best meet the needs of their business, while ensuring improved safety, productivity, and performance for their route delivery personnel.”
Other automakers still competing in the NGDV include AM General, Oshkosh, VT Hackney, Karsan (made in Turkey) and Mahindra (made in India).
A total of 50 prototypes will be delivered by these six companies to USPS by September. Half of the vehicles will have hybrid or alternative fuel powertrains, foxnews.com reports.
Design requirements from USPS for its Next Generation Delivery Vehicle make it taller and longer than Grumman’s long life vehicle (LLV). Once completed, prototypes may more closely resemble UPS vehicles in size.
A Next Generation Delivery Vehicle needs to be right-hand drive, have sliding curbside doors, a payload capacity of 1,500 pounds, interior height of six feet four inches and an overall length of 19 feet. By comparison, the Grumman LLV is 14 feet, 8 inches long and has a payload capacity of 1,000 pounds.
Van bodies have to be constructed of either aluminum or a composite material and provide significantly improved fuel economy and emissions than the LLV, which averages about 10mpg.
Prototypes will be subjected to tough testing conditions, which will include varying climates and roads.
The Grumman LLV was intended to be used by USPS for 20 years. In many cases, those vehicles have been on the road for 30 years.