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FCCC May Manufacture All-Electric Delivery Vans

January 19, 2012 by · Leave a Comment 

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., a division of Portland, Ore.-based Daimler Trucks North America, hopes to move into mass production this fall of an all-electric delivery van called the E-cell.

According to a report by the Portland Tribune, the company is still experimenting with its first handful of the step vans, but anticipates selling 3,000 E-cells in the next 30 months, says Ron Anders, technical sales manager of the custom chassis operation, based in Gaffney, S.C.

Many delivery trucks operated by the likes of Fed Ex and UPS are only driven 40 miles a day on predictable routes, Anders says. Freightliner may make two versions for that niche, one that lasts 50 miles in one charge and another with twice that range. The expectation is that the trucks will be recharged overnight.

The delivery trucks will be 12 to 14 feet long. They will be manufactured in South Carolina, not Portland.

“The main hindrance of people adopting this technology is really the acquisition price,” says Jonathan Randall, marketing and sales director for Freightliner Custom Chassis.

Though the company isn’t talking openly about its price points for the E-cell, Randall says it might cost an additional 70% to 80% more than a comparable standard diesel that sells for $50,000 to $60,000.

To encourage purchases, the company is offering a new Green for Free financing package. Buyers would pay about the same cash price as they do for a traditional step van, then get a loan for the incremental price for the electric version. Loans would be repaid via savings in fuel costs and maintenance.

Freightliner expects that E-cell buyers will recoup the extra costs in three to five years, due to lower operating costs, Randall says. “They’ll keep these trucks 10, 12 years.”

 

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Fleetwood Bounder Classic Offers Diesel Option

November 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Motorhome builder Fleetwood RV Inc. unveiled a front-diesel chassis option for its 2012 Bounder Classic Class A motorhome during this week’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

According to a press release, the platform represents a collaboration between Fleetwood RV and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC). Fleetwood said the new, front-engine diesel adds increased power and contributes to better fuel efficiency, featuring a Cummins ISB 6.7L engine, full air suspension and air brakes.

“One of the most exciting features of the new Bounder Classic diesel is that it has air brakes and air-ride,” said John Draheim, president and CEO of Decatur, Ind.-based Fleetwood RV. “It offers a premium ride and drive, which is something our customers have been asking for.”

The diesel chassis on the Bounder Classic also eliminates the “dog-house” – a hump between the driver and passenger seats. The flat floor in the cockpit allows both the driver and the passenger to have improved access to the cockpit area. It also creates additional legroom when the chairs are swiveled to be part of the living area.

Consumer research in this product category has shown potential buyers have concerns about increased noise and heat in front-engine diesel applications, which Fleetwood said has been addressed in the new Bounder Classic. The coach features a newly engineered cockpit sub-floor and engine compartment with premium thermo-acoustic liners and insulation. The result is a driver’s cabin that is quieter and has less noise intrusion than comparable gas powered coaches at cruising-speeds.

“Once again, Fleetwood RV and Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. have teamed up to provide our family of customers a product platform and features they’ve been asking for at a price they can afford,” said Draheim.

For more information on all Fleetwood RV products, call 1-800-322-8216 or visit www.fleetwoodrv.com.

 

 

 

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FCCC Launches Success Center for Dealerships

November 30, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC) launched a new initiative to further support the RV dealer network with timely company and product information, according to a press release.

The Success Center, an online Learning Management System (LMS) unveiled at this week’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky., allows registered users to access FCCC sales and service training, expert advice and virtual learning opportunities from any computer.

The Success Center provides members with a tailored educational experience based on their profile information and areas of experience. Members will have access to RV product information, sales and service training, industry news, promotions, events and service center locations. And an “Ask the Expert” section will allow dealers and service technicians to directly seek answers from qualified FCCC personnel to questions about the RV chassis.

FCCC said that depending on the member’s profile, the Success Center might point to sales tips, promote a virtual interactive tour of an FCCC chassis or recommend specific courses from its catalog.

“The FCCC Success Center LMS will offer invaluable information and training possibilities to the RV dealer and service network,” said Jonathan Randall, FCCC director of sales and marketing. “The Success Center provides another resource for them to better meet customer needs, while also keeping them up to date with the most current information about our products, services and the industry in general.”

Professional development through the Success Center also meshes with FCCC’s Driving Success rewards program. Driving Success allows enrolled salespeople who sell motorhomes on FCCC chassis to earn points which can be cashed in for awards such as merchandise, travel and event tickets. Users earn points for taking courses through the Success Center that can then be redeemed through Driving Success.

 

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FCCC, Enova Promote EV for Commercial Fleets

November 16, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) and Enova Systems Inc., a leading developer of proprietary hybrid-electric and all-electric drive systems and drive system components for the emerging green commercial vehicle market, today (Nov. 16) launched a program to make electric vehicles more accessible to commercial fleets.

The Green for Free program allows fleet executives to purchase all-electric vehicles for the cost of a diesel-powered commercial vehicle. The savings fleets incur from the reduced maintenance and fuel savings of the electric vehicles (EVs) is then used over a period of time to cover the incremental expense for the technology.

The “Green for Free” program will utilize the FCCC All-Electric Walk-in Van (WIV) chassis powered by the Enova drive system. Fleets with set routes in pickup and delivery applications are ideal for the Green for Free program because they have predictable drive routes and return each night to the company depot. FCCC is already well-established in the market and can provide immediate volume, which is required to reduce high-cost components, such as batteries. Additionally, the project looks to focus on disciplined duty cycles, utilizing 80% of the battery daily, versus design for extended range.

“FCCC and Enova recognize that the ‘Green For Free’ program is necessary in order to make all-electric vehicles more affordable, and therefore more accessible, to fleets,” said Bob Harbin, FCCC president. “We want to help those fleets interested in reducing their energy consumption and environmental impact by enabling them to purchase more alternative-fuel vehicles at one time because of the reduced upfront costs.”

Enova and FCCC developed an integration method for both new and retrofit applications. FCCC’s all-electric chassis is built upon the FCCC MT-45 chassis — known for its durability and GVWR of 14,000 to 19,500 lbs. — which is capable of handling heavy payloads. FCCC maintains a dominant market share in the WIV chassis market, which it expects to continue to expand.

FCCC and Enova plan to deploy a total of 3,000 alternative-fuel vehicles within a two-year time frame beginning no later than the third quarter 2012 as a result of the ‘Green for Free’ program.

 

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Freightliner to Show New Platform in Louisville

November 14, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., Gaffney, S.C., will be introducing a new RV chassis and powertrain during the Nov. 29-Dec.2 National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

According to a press release, the exclusive chassis will “broaden FCCC’s industry-leading RV product lineup, ensuring that FCCC chassis can meet the needs of every customer.”

The company will hold and unveiling for media on Tuesday in the FCCC booth No. 2024 at 9:30 a.m. Bob Harbin, FCCC president and CEO, Tony Sippel, FCCC RV product manager and a guest speaker will speak during the event.

In the release, Freightliner stated: “Through the constant advancement of new chassis technologies, the RV industry presents an ever-developing landscape. And Freightliner, committed to innovation, driver comfort, maneuverability and reliability, has a reputation for continuing to deliver technology that sets the bar in the RV industry.”

 

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Freightliner to Debut High-Horsepower Chassis

October 5, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC), Gaffney, S.C., will introduce a high-end tag-axle chassis with an engine new to the RV industry at the 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.

”It’s going to be a high-horsepower chassis,” said Jonathan Randall, FCCC director of sales and marketing. ”It is going to be for high-end Class A coaches with a powertrain (engine) that people will be familiar with in the bus business or shell conversions.”

While declining to go too much into detail, Randall said the diesel-pusher platform will have a 54,000-pound GVWR, matching the highest rating of any of its current chassis, and it will be equipped with a 13-liter engine. A 16-liter version with higher GVWR already is in the planning stages, he said.

Currently, the highest-rated engine offered on a Freightliner tag-axle chassis is a Cummins ISL with 450 hp.

Also at the show, the Daimler Trucks North America LLC subsidiary expects to see more Class A pushers in 34-foot range built on Freightliner XC straight-rail chassis. ”It’s not really new, other than the straight-rail business had been pretty dead,” he said. ”But some manufactures are moving to down-sized pushers.”

 

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FCCC Earns Daimler’s Premier Lean Mfg. Honor

April 26, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

Recycling efforts at FCCC plant. Ceremony at left was in 2009m marking the company's Zero Waste to Landfill achievement.

Recycling efforts at FCCC plant. Ceremony at left was in 2009, marking the company's Zero Waste to Landfill achievement.

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) earned top honors from parent company Daimler AG, which recently chose the Gaffney, S.C.-based company as its global leader in the human infrastructure component of its lean manufacturing processes.

FCCC won the award for great strides made during the past two years against key performance indicators (KPIs) in areas such as product quality, labor efficiency, environmental impact and lead time, according to a news release. Each of those accomplishments is central to the Truck Operating System employed by Daimler Trucks within all of its plants.

FCCC achieved that progress despite facing a challenging industry environment shaped by changes in heavy-duty emissions regulations.

FCCC manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van, and school bus and shuttle bus markets.

“The global recognition of FCCC’s lean manufacturing processes and our team’s efforts reflects our commitment to improvement, and our desire to serve our customers more efficiently and effectively,” said Bob Harbin, FCCC president. “And by utilizing what we learned in competing for the award with Daimler plants around the globe, we’re sharpening our lean manufacturing skills even further, ultimately improving the high-quality, durable and reliable products our customers expect.”

With roots in the 1960s, lean manufacturing centers on the notion that customers should only pay for steps toward the making of a product or the delivery of a service, and that the producers should shoulder any other associated costs. To that end, lean manufacturing improvements are categorized into five “pillars” of the effort: human infrastructure, standardization, quality focus & robust processes, just-in-time, and continuous improvement.

Daimler AG awards just one top honor for all of its companies in each of those areas.

The human infrastructure component encompasses all policy deployment processes within a lean manufacturing facility, which FCCC addressed by coupling goal-setting concepts with problem-solving tools.

Some of the notable successes which garnered the Daimler award for FCCC were a:

  • 55% improvement on delivery days.
  • 11.4% improvement in direct labor efficiency.
  • 45%;  improvement on 30-day in-service claims.
  • 39.5% improvement in environmental impact.

In fact, the FCCC manufacturing plant’s October 2009 achievement of its Zero Waste to Landfill initiative, which eliminated solid waste throughout the facility, marked a major milestone on several fronts.

FCCC became the first chassis manufacturer and first company within the trucking industry to achieve Zero Waste to Landfill status in the United States, achieving its goal three months ahead of schedule.

FCCC’s Zero Waste to Landfill program and comprehensive recycling efforts resulted in elimination of solid waste disposal throughout its entire facility. Joining an elite group of solid waste-free manufacturing facilities in the United States, FCCC went from disposing 250,000 pounds per month of solid waste in January 2007 to disposing zero pounds by October 2009.

The FCCC facility recycles materials such as plastic, paper, aluminum, cardboard, metals, wood and nylon. The company’s commitment to clean air technologies is in line with its parent company, Daimler AG’s global initiative called “Shaping Future Transportation.” Launched by Daimler in November 2007 in Stuttgart, Germany, the initiative is focused on reducing category emissions pollutants, carbon dioxide and fuel consumption.

Despite winning the award from Daimler, FCCC executives are determined to continue to seek quality and process improvements to improve ROI for customers.

“Even though we’ve been recognized by Daimler, we’ll continue to take strides to better understand what our customers value and how we can implement that into our processes to give them the best product at a competitive price,” FCCC Operating Unit Manager Joe Bradshaw said.

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Freightliner Grows 24/7 Factory-Direct Service

April 21, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

Freightliner Custom Chassis logo Already the only chassis manufacturer to offer 24/7 factory-direct support of its motorcoaches, Freightliner  Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) is expanding its service with a powerful resource that customers can fit into their pockets.

Launched in early 2011, FCCC’s 24/7 Direct initiative created a constantly available, easily accessible network with the goal of providing customers the best possible assistance and answers to even the most complex chassis issues, according to a news release.

The new 24/7 Direct service cards are being mailed this month to all purchasers of new motorcoaches built on an FCCC chassis dating back to Jan. 1, 2011. They’re printed with key support contact information and the customer Vehicle Identification Number to serve as a valuable quick reference, and an embedded USB flash drive makes the card a virtual library of chassis data.

By simply flipping the drive out from one end of the card and plugging it into a computer, a customer gains access to a wealth of information including warranties, maintenance schedules, EPA 2010 emission technology featuring selective catalytic reduction (SCR), vendor categories, website links and entire user manuals. Plus, with a gigabyte of memory on board, there’s plenty of room for additional downloads and updates, enabling customers to utilize the USB for personal storage.

“FCCC wanted to develop a resource that would enable our customers to easily access all of the essential information they need about their chassis,” said Dave Hoover, senior manager of customer support at FCCC. “The 24/7 Direct card and USB drive is compact, but it contains volumes of information that will be important to our customers.

“This is just another example of FCCC’s commitment to our customers and furthers our ‘Driven By You’ mission. And with our around-the-clock direct access to FCCC chassis experts, the 24/7 Direct program offers an unparalleled support system, no matter where our customers are on North America’s roads.”

FCCC’s customer assistance phone line (1-800-FTL-HELP) is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week by a team of well-qualified customer service advisors who all have hands-on plant experience and boast an average experience level of 16 years. To complement their expertise, on-the-ground support can be found at more than 400 FCCC service locations in North America. More than 90 of those locations are also part of the Freightliner Oasis Network, a group of dealerships across the country dedicated to serving FCCC RV customers.

The Freightliner Oasis Network is specifically tailored to the RV customer. Each service location has specially trained RV service technicians, separate bays for RV service, secure parking for RV customers and additional amenities specifically for RV owners.

FCCC manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van and school bus and shuttle bus markets. FCCC is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC, a Daimler company.

Visit the FCCC website at www.freightlinerchassis.com for additional FCCC news and product information.

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Newmar Management Plans New Road Tour

April 5, 2011 by · 1 Comment 

The Newmar Family Road Show team.

The Newmar Corp. team.

Newmar Corp. announced today (April 5) that the four members of their management team that toured the country last year are “hitting the road” again in 2011.

Newmar President Matthew Miller, Chairman and CEO Richard Parks, owner Mahlon Miller and Vice President of Sales and Marketing John Sammut (shown from left in photo), accompanied by their spouses, will travel nearly 5,000 miles starting on May 31 through 14 Eastern states, according to a news release.

Along the way, these four members of the company’s management team will visit 12 dealers and one of Newmar’s largest suppliers, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) in Gaffney, S.C. The trip will also include the executives spending a week attending Newmar’s Kountry Klub International Rally in Essex Junction, Vt., in their motorhomes, where they will RV alongside several hundred owners of Newmar recreational vehicles.

This year’s “Go Newmar” Road Show is being sponsored by FCCC. All four Newmar motorhomes being driven by the traveling team are built exclusively on Freightliner chassis with Comfort Drive Steering. The four Newmar products represented in the fleet are Ventana LE, Ventana, Dutch Star and Mountain Aire brands.

The RV dealers being visited during the tour are:

  • Mt. Comfort RV – Greenfield, Ind.
  • Buddy Gregg Motor Homes – Knoxville, Tenn.
  • Tom Johnson Camping Center – Marion, N.C.
  • Adventure RV – Greer, S.C.
  • Terry Labonte RV – Greensboro, N.C.
  • Dick Gore RV World – Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Independence RV – Winter Garden, Fla.
  • North Trail RV – Dania Beach, Fla.
  • Beckley’s Camping Center – Thurmont, Md.
  • Tom Schaeffer RV – Shoemakersville, Pa.
  • Dave’s RV – Danbury, Conn.
  • Wilkins RV – Bath, N.Y.

More information to follow on the “Go Newmar” Road Show including a travel schedule will be posted at a later date on www.newmarcorp.com and www.facebook.com/gonewmar.

Sendoff of Newmar management team for October 2010 road tour.

Sendoff of Newmar management team for October 2010 road tour.

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Independence RV Hosts ‘Ask the RV Experts’

January 18, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

"Ask the Experts, Jan. 27-30

"Ask the Experts, Jan. 27-30

Independence RV, a dealership in Winter Garden, Fla., will host a series of information gathering seminars and one-on-one sessions for first-time and full-time RVers Jan. 27-30.

The free, four-day “Ask The RV Experts” event will feature RV manufacturer representatives for approximately 30 RV-related products and accessories, according to a news release. The RV industry information exchange will be held at Independence RV. The setting will be casual and relaxed with plenty of question and answer sessions to expand RV product and accessory knowledge leading to better purchasing decisions and an enhanced RV lifestyle.

Newmar Corp. will have representatives available from its Nappanee, Ind., headquarters to discuss new product line features and amenities in the 2011 model year for Bay Star, Canyon Star, Ventana, Dutch Star and Mountain Aire motorhomes. Representatives from Newmar’s exclusive chassis manufacturer, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., will be on-site to answer the important questions related to chassis development and manufacturing. Freightliner will address the latest 2010 emissions standards issues and why “Simple, Clean, Reliable (SCR) technology is the preferred method over Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR), and what it means to the RV owner and the vehicle’s horsepower.

The “Ask The RV Experts” seminars are appropriate for the first-time RVer to the full-time RV enthusiast.  ”Seminar topics will include Winegard RV antennas and interfacing with DirecTV, tow bar vs. tow dolly – which is the safer and more cost effective? What’s the latest in tow braking technology? Learn about the newest development in RV power steering as Newmar representatives discuss its exclusive Comfort Drive Steering System. The latest in awning material and design technology will be demonstrated showing the simplicity and ease of extension and retraction of these sun shielding devices. The dirty business of holding tank systems and technology will be cleared up with one simple seminar,” the release stated.

“This is RV show season and most fairgrounds are overrun with RV attendees who may not feel they can have the undivided attention of RV industry experts to ask their important questions,” said Chuck Simpson, general manager of Independence RV. “An event like the ‘Ask The RV Experts’ will provide a relaxed and unhurried environment conducive to learning more about the RV lifestyle.”

Free seminars will be held daily beginning at 11 a.m. and concluding at 4 p.m. Representatives for all manufacturers will be on hand for one-on-one question-and-answer interaction. Freightliner Custom Chassis will provide complimentary hot dogs and soft drinks each day of the event.

Independence RV with over 25 years of serving Central Florida’s RVing needs is located at 12705 W. Colonial Drive in Winter Garden.  All 2011 Newmar motorhomes are in-stock and will be on display from 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, and 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (407) 877-7878.

The schedule of “Ask The RV Experts” informational seminars follows:

Thursday, Jan. 27

  • Dave Garl,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Newmar Product Line Q&A.
  • Jeremy Buckmeier,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m.,  Freightliner Chassis Q & A.
  • Chris Crawford,  11 a.m., Winegard Antenna and RV Satellite TV.
  • Chris Crawford,  3 p.m., Sani-Con Holding Tank Systems.

Friday, Jan. 28

  • Dave Garl,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Newmar Product Line Q & A.
  • Jeremy Buckmeier,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Freightliner Chassis Q & A.
  • David Jones,  11 a.m., Tow Bars vs. Tow Dolly.
  • Chris Crawford, 1 p.m., Winegard Antenna and RV Satellite TV.
  • Doug Ralston,  3 p.m., Tow Bars/Tow Braking/Tire Minders.

Saturday, Jan. 29

  • Dave Garl,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Newmar Product Line Q & A.
  • Jeremy Buckmeier,  9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Freightliner Chassis Q & A.
  • David Jones,  11 a.m., Carefree Pioneer Awning.
  • Chris Crawford,  1 p.m., Sani-Con Holding Tank Systems.
  • Doug Ralston,  3 p.m., Tow Bars/Tow Braking/Tire Minders.

Sunday, Jan. 30

  • Chris Crawford, 11 a.m., Winegard Antenna and RV Satellite TV.
  • Chris Crawford,  3 p.m., Sani-Con Holding Tank Systems.
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