Novi, MI. A few centimeters here, a few centimeters there: It doesn’t take much in the way of changes to a chassis to send body builders and upfitters back to the drawing board, or drafting table, or CAD program to be sure that a previously successful design still fits—and, if it doesn’t, to get Plan 2.0 in place PDQ.
But, as more than one OEM emphasized during the two-day 2018 NTEA Truck Product Conference here, a work truck doesn’t get much work done without the upfit industry building vehicles for specific jobs. So the truck makers came loaded with slide decks detailing changes large and small to new commercial vehicles, and with teams of product experts to answer any and all follow up questions.
Over meals and in the convention center hallways, attendees met with the OEM technical experts, and many of those critiques of the vehicle designs will find a way into next year’s updates.
The real business, or fun, began when the 650 attendees moved to the exhibition hall where tape measures and smart devices assessed every nook and framerail on the trucks, vans and chassis.
All of the truck makers emphasized the importance of understanding how to access the upfitter and body-builder resources available on their websites, including the latest product bulletins, and many now offer apps for info on the go. Several also noted new CAD data format options. Suppliers can get access as well—they just need to make a case and sign off on the usual non-disclosure terms.
Information beyond the summaries presented here, including the OEM slide presentations, are available on the NTEA website.