Aimed at accelerating its growth and increasing market share in the fire apparatus industry, Spartan Motors, Inc. announced a plan to consolidate its Luverne Fire Apparatus and Quality Manufacturing subsidiaries into a new company that will do business as Crimson Fire. Efforts to consolidate the two subsidiaries will begin immediately, with Crimson Fire beginning operations on January 6, 2003. The Charlotte, Mich.-based manufacturer of fire truck chassis, emergency- rescue vehicles and motorhome chassis said that combining the two custom fire truck manufacturers will allow it to expand its dealer base, broaden its product mix, share best practices and leverage its engineering expertise, while creating opportunity for accelerated growth. Luverne and Quality both build fire trucks for the middle to premium market, but distribute their products in different regions of the country and have complementary geographical strengths. By combining the two operations, Crimson Fire will offer a broader product mix and have the ability to expand distribution nationally beyond the current regional efforts.Crimson Fire will offer a combined product offering from both subsidiaries, including heavy-duty pumpers, tankers, aerials, rescue vehicles and highly customized fire trucks built exactly to customer specifications. "Spartan's fire truck units were selling to similar customers who wanted mid-range to premium- priced features, many times offering overlapping features or competing with one another for the same business," said John Sztykiel, chief executive officer of Spartan Motors. "By bringing these two units together, we can offer customers a full breadth of product features at any price point from one source. This brings several benefits to our customers, who will now have a full range of product features when selecting the apparatus they need. It will also mean a more comprehensive sales force and dealer network to serve fire departments in every region of the country.