Utilimaster Corporation

Utilimaster Corporation is an American company that makes walk-in vans[citation needed] (also known as step vans), parcel delivery vans (PDVs) and truck bodies. It was founded in 1973 in Wakarusa, Indiana. Previously owned by Holiday Rambler and then Harley-Davidson, it was bought by senior management along with an investment group led by Kirkland Messina for $65 million in 1996. Currently ISO 9001 and QS-9000 certified.

On November 19, 2009, Spartan Motors announced it would be acquiring Utilimaster for $45 million in an all-cash transaction.[1] Spartan Motors, Inc. designs, engineers and manufactures specialty chassis and vehicles for the recreational vehicle, fire truck, ambulance, emergency-rescue and defense/specialty markets. The company's brand names include Spartan, Crimson Fire, Crimson Fire Aerials, and Road Rescue. The company employs approximately 1,000 workers at facilities in Michigan, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota and Texas. Spartan reported sales of $844.4 million in 2008. The Road Rescue division was sold to Allied Specialty Vehicles in 2010 by Spartan.[2]

, a former competitor from Union City, Indiana, was bought by Utilimaster Corp. for an undisclosed amount on November 16, 2005. Union City Body had bought the General Motors chassis and commercial truck business in 1998.[3]

Utilimaster's customers include FedEx, United States Postal Service, UPS, Canada Post, Purolator, Airborne, Budget, Penske, , Frito-Lay, Keebler, Krispy Kreme, IBC, Canadian Linen and Uniform Service, Cintas, AmeriPride, Verizon, , and Home Depot.[4]

In 2011, Isuzu and Utilimaster announced plans for Utilimaster to assemble the Isuzu Reach in their Wakarusa, Indiana, plant. It is a commercial van offering over 35 percent better fuel efficiency.[5] On February 14, 2012, Utilimaster announced it would move from Wakarusa, Indiana, to nearby Bristol, Indiana.


Walk-in vans

Also known as step vans, it was the first of many products Utilimaster Corporation led the market with. Many large delivery fleets prefer the walk-in design because of the productivity and safety benefits. The driver can quickly enter and exit from the curbside (safer than exiting into traffic) as a result of the cab door design. Traditional commercial vehicles are built with swing out driver and passenger doors that require additional time to open/close and do not easily allow the operator to carry goods while operating the door.

The Utilimaster vehicle provides superior delivery efficiencies as a result of the ability for the driver to enter and exit the vehicle with packages in hand (versus entry and exit through a sedan door). The full height cab and cargo area allow drivers to use the vehicle as a mobile office. Operators can enter and exit the cargo area without bending over (cargo van) or leaving the vehicle to enter through the rear (dock truck). In many fleet operations, Utilimaster vans provide a service life in excess of twenty years.

Vehicles can be customized to include a variety of modular interior packages (refrigerated service, mobile maintenance, shelving and bins, laundry, bread or ladder racks).

Truck bodies

These are finished cabs that simply have a box attached to the back before painting. They tend to be larger diesel trucks used by Budget and Old Dominion. They can haul more, larger products than the other trucks produced. Access to the cargo area in these trucks is through a rear door and sometimes through a side-access door. There is rarely, if ever, access available through the cab to the cargo area. These boxes are generally produced with wood flooring and wood slats on the interior walls.


Technology options include back-up cameras, a front end detection system, an obstacle detection system, Geotab's telematics system and a sonar back-up detector


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