Monday, January 27, 2014

New Van & Truck Products to Re-Energize the Upfit Market by Mike Antich

A number of all-new van and truck models will be entering the commercial fleet market over the next several years. As a result, there will be a corresponding increase in upfit products and packages for these new van configurations.

2015 Ford Transit, High Roof

“The onset of new-model configurations, such as the all-new Ford Transit and Ram ProMaster, gives fleets more choices, removes some old standby options, and increases the amount of configuration effort to adapt upfitting needs to the new models and configurations,” said Steve Swedberg, truck engineering & ordering specialist for Emkay.

Will the surge of new van products re-energize the upfit market?

“In short, yes, but the answer deserves more perspective. The van market may see slight to flat growth in calendar-year 2014 because of Ford’s delayed migration in the van market. Ford is the market-segment leader. The migration from the E-Series, a 50-year market segment leader, to the new Transit starts with Job 1 in April 2014,” said Partha Ghosh, director, vehicle supply chain for ARI. “Additionally, the E-Series will have a shortened model-year, and the vehicle itself is in its final build-out this year, which can mean flat to modest growth, contingent on Ford’s actual production in the 2014 calendar-year. Building on the earlier growth expectations, this market segment should see stronger growth in outlying years — beyond 2014 — thanks to the increasing versatility of these new vans entering the North American market. The economic indicators are trending positively, boding well for the overall strength of the U.S. market, which should have a direct, positive effect on all vehicle production.”

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