Utilimaster Corp has been awarded a contract by Freightliner for up to 6,780 United States Postal Service (USPS) intermediate delivery vehicles, with 2,380 to be built in fiscal year 2001. Under terms of the agreement, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp in Gaffney SC is the prime contractor and will build a new single rear wheel (SRW) walk-in van chassis equipped with Utilimaster's Aeromaster body. Vehicle production is slated for fourth-quarter 2000 with delivery of the first USPS units expected before the end of 2000.
The vehicle has increased interior space of 535 cubic feet, which is 85 cubic feet greater than USPS's current two-ton truck model. The chassis design provides less wheel intrusion into the load space of the vehicle, increasing cargo capacity, cargo placement, and loading flexibility. Utilimaster has designed a custom-size roll-up rear door to accommodate large cargo and to simplify loading and unloading. Other features include a lower step-in height, energy-absorbing bumpers on the front and rear, and heated exterior mirrors. The lightweight aluminum body incorporates a sound-deadening package.
Freightliner's chassis design can handle heavier and larger loads, yet travel routes previously dedicated to one-ton trucks only. With a Cummins ISB electronic six-cylinder diesel engine and Allison 1000 series electronically controlled automatic transmission, the new Freightliner vehicle has a payload capacity of nearly 4,800 pounds. The truck meets the EPA's Clean Fuel Fleet Low Emissions Vehicle (LEV) standard.
The new contract will provide employment for 250 people at Wakarusa IN-based Utilimaster.