Cleveland, Ohio – Rescue vehicle and commercial truck producer Spartan Motors Inc. has launched production at its Detroit Truck Manufacturing plant, marking the second major capacity expansion in June.
Earlier this month, the company bought General Truck Body in Montebello, California, giving it manufacturing capacity on the West Coast. And both of new facilities join a Pennsylvania expansion announced last year.
The Detroit plant will supply fabricated aluminum cabs for Spartan's fire trucks, as well as its cab and chassis product it supplies to more than 40 fire truck manufacturers.
“In addition to producing cabs designed for final stage manufacturing, this initiative further protects Spartan from potential supplier disruptions in our changing economic climate,” Spartan Motors President and CEO Daryl Adams said. “While we plan to further expand our supply base across the organization as part of our long-term strategic growth and financial initiatives, creating a captive channel cab manufacturer provides Spartan greater flexibility and an optimized cost structure to fuel additional, profitable growth.”
Adams said the move to more vertically integrate Spartan, providing efficiencies and savings, along with reduced material costs and freight savings that will be leveraged across the enterprise.
Located on five acres in Madison Heights, Michigan, the new facility will improve quality while reducing lead times by using flexible manufacturing technologies.
The recently added General Truck Body plant will manufacture and assemble custom aluminum and composite-side truck bodies, refrigerated trucks, stake body trucks, curtain side and moving vans, last mile delivery vehicles, upfits, and Class 1 through Class 7 vocational vehicles.
The California plant will mainly supply Spartan’s Utilimaster commercial vehicles brand.
“This facility effectively provides Spartan and Utilimaster with a West Coast truck body operation that expands our footprint to better serve current and prospective customers in the region,” Adams said. “We've bolstered our East Coast presence over the past several months, and this West Coast facility means we can now competitively sell and service commercial and retail vehicles across the entire U.S.”
About the author: Robert Schoenberger is the editor of Today's Motor Vehicles and a contributor to Today's Medical Developments and Aerospace Manufacturing and Design. He has written about the automotive industry for more than 19 years at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio; The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Kentucky; and The Clarion-Ledger in Jackson, Mississippi.