The Shyft Group, Inc.

2013 Spartan Gladiator with Evolution fascia

Spartan Motors, Inc. (NASDAQSPAR) is an American automobile design company that designs, engineers and manufactures specialty chassis, specialty vehicles, truck bodies and aftermarket parts for the recreational vehicle (RV), emergency response, government services, defense, and delivery and service markets. The company started in 1975 as a direct result of the bankruptcy of Diamond Reo.[3] It is currently based in Charlotte, Michigan, and employs approximately 2,300 workers[1] at facilities in Michigan, Arizona, California, Florida, Indiana, Missouri, Nebraska, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Wisconsin, and Mexico. Spartan reported sales of $707 million in 2017.

Chicago Fire Department Academy engine - 2012 Spartan Gladiator

History

In 1974, Lansing, Michigan-based Diamond Reo Trucks was forced into bankruptcy. Diamond Reo had been the largest customer of the Form-Rite Corporation in Charlotte, Michigan, and Form-Rite was owed a considerable amount of money for plastic parts they had supplied to Reo. During the bankruptcy hearings, Form-Rite president Charles R. McManamey learned of a significant contract that Reo had just won for custom fire truck chassis. From connections made through the hearing, McManamey was able to draw together the additional talent and knowledge required to build such trucks.

During the establishment of Spartan Motors, Inc., then a wholly owned subsidiary of Form-Rite, manufacturing was set up in Form-Rite's 12,000 square foot warehouse at 426 Sumpter Rd.[4] in Charlotte. Charles McManamey was named Spartan Motors’ chairman of the board.[4] Former Reo vice president of engineering and marketing George W. Sztykiel became Spartan's president.[4] Ron Partee, former Reo manager of original equipment manufacturing, stepped in as the vice president of sales.[4] Spartan's vice president of engineering was former Reo director of engineering John Knox.[4] Kenneth C. McManamey, former Form-Rite production engineer and supervisor served as Spartan's manager of operations.[4]

Sztykiel, Partee, Knox, and Ken McManamey all donated their time to build the first chassis on speculation.[4] By January 1, 1976, the chassis was completed. Within weeks it had been sold to FMC in Tipton, Indiana[3] and Spartan had 16 custom fire truck cab & chassis orders as well as an order for a one-of-a-kind 140,000 pound GVW coal carrier.[4]

In March 1976, Spartan Motors employed 12 former Reo employees,[4] including Reo's ex-quality control manager Theodore C. Huff, former staff engineer-chassis at Reo Lawrence E. Karkau, and Gerald L. Geary who had been assistant manager of truck design at Reo. Charles McManamey's sons James and Donald also worked for Spartan Motors, as well as several other part-time workers.

The company quickly outgrew the Form-Rite warehouse, and within a few years construction was started for a new facility on Reynolds Road in Charlotte. The McManameys sold their stock in the company and in 1984 Spartan went public, trading on NASDAQ under the symbol “SPAR”.

Facilities

Spartan Motors operates facilities in the following places:

Active subsidiaries

Spartan Chassis, Inc.

Spartan Metro Star

is involved in the engineering, manufacturing and marketing of chassis and aftermarket parts for emergency-response, recreational vehicle (RV), defense and specialty vehicles. Spartan Chassis' beginnings date back to 1975 when the Diamond Reo Trucking Company of Michigan went bankrupt. A group of four young Diamond Reo engineers saw an opportunity to strike out on their own and continue doing what they loved to do—build trucks—and build them well. George Sztykiel, Bill Foster, Jerry Geary and John Knox sacrificed everything they could to establish Spartan Motors, Inc.; taking out second mortgages on their homes for capital and pinching every penny to make their endeavor successful.[citation needed]

Commercial fleet and work trucks

Utilimaster Corp.

Utilimaster Corporation is a manufacturer of walk-in vans and commercial truck bodies for the delivery and service marketplace. Utilimaster designs, develops and manufactures products to customer specifications for use in the package delivery, one-way truck rental, bakery/snack delivery, utility and linen/uniform rental businesses. The company serves a diverse customer base and also sells aftermarket parts and accessories. It was founded in 1973 in Wakarusa, Indiana. Previously owned by Holiday Rambler and then Harley-Davidson, it was later acquired by senior management along with an investment group led by Kirkland Messina in 1996. In November 2009, it was purchased by Spartan Motors.

Strobes-R-Us

On December 17, 2018 Spartan ERV announced its acquisition of Strobes-R-Us of Pompano Beach, Florida.[6] Strobes-R-Us is a provider of upfit services for government and non-government vehicles.

On June 13, 2019 Spartan announced their purchase of the assets of General Truck Body ("GTB") of Montebello, California.[7] Spartan will begin operating a production facility located in Montebello, California. Going forward, the facility will be used to manufacture and assemble custom aluminum and composite-side truck bodies, refrigerated trucks, stake body trucks, curtain side and moving vans, last mile delivery vehicles and upfits, and other Work Driven Design™ vocational solutions across GVWR Classes 1-7. GTB joins Spartan's Fleet Vehicles and Services ("FVS") business unit. It will go-to-market under the Utilimaster brand.

Royal Truck Body

On September 20, 2019 Spartan Motors announced its acquisition of Royal Truck Body (Royal), a leading, California-based designer, manufacturer, and installer of service truck bodies and accessories.[8]

Former subsidiaries

Spartan Emergency Response Vehicles

Spartan Gladiator and Countryside (both Pingree Grove, Illinois)

Spartan Emergency Response Vehicles (Spartan ERV) is a manufacturer of custom fire trucks and other rescue vehicles. Spartan ERV manufactures pumpers, tankers, rescues, aerials, quick-attack/urban interface vehicles and other emergency-rescue vehicles from its facilities in Nebraska, Pennsylvania and South Dakota. After several years of supplying chassis for fire trucks, Spartan acquired fire apparatus body manufacturers Luverne and Quality Manufacturing in the mid-1990s. Luverne used its early expertise in the automotive and heavy truck industries to begin building fire apparatus in 1912. Quality got its start six decades later, catering to the Southern firefighting market. In 2003, Luverne and Quality were consolidated under the names Crimson Fire and Crimson Fire Aerials. In 2011 Classic Fire of Ocala, FL is acquired and becomes a new Crimson Fire manufacturing facility for Classic Series fire trucks.[9] In 2012, Spartan Motors, Inc. announces new brand Spartan ERV, formerly known as Crimson Fire and forms a Joint Venture with Gimaex.[9]

In Jan 2017 Spartan ERV acquired fire apparatus manufacturer Smeal Fire Apparatus Co.[5] This acquisition included subsidiaries of Smeal, Ladder Tower Company, and US Tanker.

On February 3, 2020 Spartan Motors announced the sale of its Spartan ER division to the REV Group.[10] The sale included the entire Spartan ERV division:

  • Spartan Custom Cabs,
  • Smeal Fire Apparatus,
  • Ladder Tower Company, and;
  • US Tanker.

Road Rescue

Road Rescue is a manufacturer of ambulances. It was sold in 2010 to Allied Specialty Vehicles.[11]

Defunct subsidiaries

Carpenter Industries, Inc.

Carpenter Industries was a manufacturer of school buses, transit buses, and step vans. Carpenter was founded in 1919; Spartan purchased it in 1998, but closed it down in 2001.

Military supplier

Since 2005, Spartan has provided automotive integration,[clarification needed] final assembly and paint, inspection and shipment of more than 30 variants of vehicles under the MRAP & ILAV Programs. Spartan continues to support the sustainment of these vehicles for America's leading defense contractors. In 2006, Spartan began manufacturing military vehicle chassis as a supplier to two companies, Force Protection Inc (FPI) and General Dynamics.

References

  1. ^ a b "US SEC: Form 10-K Spartan Motors, Inc". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Retrieved March 9, 2018.
  2. ^ MIGenWeb Archives" 1998 Charlotte Shopping Guide obituaries.
  3. ^ a b [1]" New Truck Factory Grows Out Of Diamond Reo Savvy
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Charlotte Republican-Tribune March 18, 1976" Heavy Trucks Now Made In Charlotte
  5. ^ a b c Hamilton, Samara (2016-12-13). "Spartan Motors to Acquire Fire Apparatus Maker Smeal" (PDF). spartanmotors.com. Retrieved 2018-05-16.
  6. ^ Hamilton, Samara (2018-12-17). "Spartan Motors Acquires Strobes-R-Us". Retrieved 2019-10-29.
  7. ^ Hamilton, Samara (2019-06-13). "Spartan Motors Purchases Assets Of California-Based General Truck Body". Spartan Motors. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  8. ^ Hamilton, Samara (2019-09-19). "Spartan Motors Acquires Royal Truck Body". Spartan Motors. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  9. ^ a b "Spartan ERV Rescues" (PDF). Spartan ERV. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  10. ^ Hamilton, Samara (2020-02-03). "Spartan Motors Announces Business Transformation to Focus on its Delivery and Specialty Vehicle Segments, Divests Emergency Response Business Unit". Spartan Motors. Retrieved 2020-02-03.
  11. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-07-25. Retrieved 2013-05-27.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External links