INDIANAPOLIS — Fresh off the buzz from the NFL combine, with potential stars like Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariotta, and Amari Cooper in town, the city of Indianapolis shifted its gears, literally, to welcome the next set of stars, with names like Ford, Chevrolet, Ram, Isuzu and Mercedes on the marquee.
The largest work truck event in North America, the 2015 NTEA Work Truck Show, which featured more than 500,000-sq. ft. of vocational trucks and equipment, hit Indy March 4-6 with a record-setting 11,005 industry professionals attending, a mark that breaks the show’s previous attendance record of 10,408 set in 2012.
Some of the highlights of this year’s NTEA Work Truck Show:
• Mercedes-Benz introduces the Metris, its new mid-size commercial van. “We are pleased to debut the Mercedes-Benz Metris at NTEA, which is a major step in launching our midsize commercial van in the U.S. market in October 2015,” said Bernie Glaser, vice president and managing director of Daimler Vans USA, LLC.
• Ford unveiled its F-750 Tonka dump truck, which is powered by Ford 6.7-liter Power Stroke V8 diesel engine with working dump body from Truck Tech Engineers and 33,000-lb. gross vehicle weight rating. “From Generation Z to the Greatest Generation, Ford and TONKA continue to set the standards for tough trucks,” said John Ruppert, general manager, Ford Commercial Vehicle Sales and Marketing. “People of all ages have been counting on Ford F-Series and TONKA trucks to get the job done — from construction site to sandbox — for more than 60 years.”
Ford also launched Telematics powered by Telogis, which is a next-generation cloud-based fleet management solution that helps commercial customers better manage vehicles and improve customer service. “Commercial trucks have to be more than delivery boxes on wheels, and innovations like Ford Telematics are critical to helping our fleet customers succeed,” said Raj Nair, Ford chief technical officer and group vice president, Global Product Development.
• In addition to being the 2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year, the Chevrolet Colorado is letting business owners and fleet managers know that they can have it their way when it comes to customizing the back end with the introduction of the 2015 Colorado box delete option. “With the segment-leading efficiency and maneuverable size, the Colorado makes a great, flexible choice for urban businesses and fleets to make the most of a midsize truck,” said Ed Peper, U.S. vice president, GM Fleet & Commercial. “It’s ideal for utility companies requiring service bodies, as well as landscapers and other businesses needing the utility of a flatbed.”
• The Ram ProMaster features what it claims best-in-class cargo van payload of up to 4,400-lbs., and a maximum towing capacity of up to 5,100-lbs. Its 3.6L Pentastar V6 mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission delivers V6 power with 260 lb.-ft. of torque.
The ProMaster’s little brother, the ProMaster City features its proclaimed best-in-class 178 horsepower with 174 lb.-ft. torque. The fuel-efficient engine features a 2.4L MultiAir I4 Tigershark.
• Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp. (FCCC) debuted the propane-autogas S2G chassis with an initial focus on marketing the truck to the propane delivery segment, where it has received strong interest and heavy initial orders. The S2G features an 8.0 LPG engine with factory-installed CleanFUEL USA liquid propane system. The S2G also boasts 339 hp @ 4,100 — peak horsepower at lower rpm, which equals better fuel economy. “The S2G is the only complete factory installed dedicated propane engine and fuel system on the market,” said Bryan Henke, manager, product marketing, FCCC.
• A match made in truck heaven, Isuzu has partnered with Reading Truck Body. Isuzu low-cab-forward trucks are known industry-wide for performance, practicality, dependability and economy. The Reading Tool-Pro marries a lightweight aluminum body with the Isuzu NPR ECO-MAX powertrain to create a truck that optimizes fuel efficiency. It comes with standard features of a Reading premium aluminum body, and will be available through Isuzu authorized dealers for an introductory period.
• On the market in August 2014 and featured at the Truck Show, Buyers Products’ Die Cast Aluminum Truck Step, for a secure 14-in. wide by 5-in. deep usable step, is designed to fit Ford, Dodge and Chevy Trucks. The Die Cast Aluminum Truck Step is available in die cast, black powder-coated aluminum for corrosion protection. The truck step is a durable alternative to running boards and nerf bars, with a 3-in. drop for improved cab access. The step is reversible to fit driver and passenger sides and bolt-on mounting hardware is included.
• Reading Truck Body, LLC also showcased its Concept Classic Service Van (CSV) with Roll-Doors — roll-up doors on the curb and street-side front compartments, as well as full size roll-up doors at the rear cargo access.
• With just a twist of a lever, Weather Guard’s EZ-Glide System gently delivers your ladder to the right spot for back-saving loading and unloading. When the work is done, another twist is all it takes to have the ladder packed away and ready to roll.
Be sure to save the date for the 2016 event to be held at the Indiana Convention Center — March 1-2.