Army chooses Stewart & Stevenson over Oshkosh

Stewart & Stevenson won a U.S. Army contract Thursday in a hard-fought battle with Oshkosh Truck Corp. The result: up to $2.3 billion to produce thousands of military vehicles. Stewart & Stevenson, of Sealy, Texas, is the No. 1 maker of trucks for the Army. Oshkosh, of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, had not made the medium trucks. Both had been awarded Phase 1 contracts for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles "competitive-rebuy program," then were asked to make engineering modifications to the existing FMTV trucks made by Stewart & Stevenson and then submit them for testing. Side-by-side tests were conducted at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. A decision, expected by the end of March, was delayed. Stewart & Stevenson president/CEO Michael Grimes, asked to describe the mood of the company after learning Thursday that it had landed the five-year contract, said, "Euphoria," according to the Houston Chronicle. "Certainly this is a great day for the 800 Stewart & Stevenson employees in Sealy, Texas," Grimes said in the Chronicle article. Trucks produced at the Sealy plant accounted for over $400 million of Stewart & Stevenson's $1.3 billion in sales in 2001. The company earlier this month had delivered the 20,000th vehicle produced under the company's current contract.Under the new contract, Stewart & Stevenson will produce 11,000 trucks and trailers over five years, with an option for 12,000 additional vehicles. The new contract begins when the current contract expires in September 2004. The FMTV program involves the manufacturing of 15 different kinds of 2.5-ton and 5-ton trucks. As a result of criticism in 1998, the company has improved door locks, handles and window regulators, and also revised the central tire-inflation system so it can operate without the crew leaving the cab. The company also has introduced some maintenance-free components, including a drive shaft that addresses relubing.

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