GAFFNEY, S.C.—G&K Services, a Minnetonka, Minnesota-based corporation, and a North American market leader in branded-identity apparel programs and facility services, recently purchased 34 new diesel-powered walk-in vans from Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation (FCCC). They join G&K’s nationwide fleet of roughly 1,800 vehicles, virtually all of which are gasoline-powered.
All 34 diesel walk-in vans are Freightliner MT-45s outfitted with 16-foot bodies, Mercedes-Benzâ engines and Allison® transmissions. “I-State Freightliner and FCCC worked closely with G&K to configure the chassis to their specific application,” says Brian Caudell, FCCC Technical Sales Manager. “That meant road-speed limiting them and making sure they had the optimum rear-axle ratio required to handle the terrain and the unique demands placed on them.”
Thirty of the new diesel walk-in vans have been tested in G&K’s San Diego/Los Angeles, California, market since last April. The other four diesel walk-in vans were tested over the same time frame: two in Eau Claire, Wisconsin and two in Nashville, Tennessee. Dave Kent, G&K National Fleet Manager, believes that all 34 have surpassed the company’s high expectations for increased fuel efficiency, reduced maintenance costs—and especially durability.
G&K chose San Diego/L.A. as a test market because of its high-mileage routes. Kent says that the Eau Claire, Wisconsin, tests demonstrated the chassis’ capability of handling longer routes in cold weather. The Nashville vans negotiated hilly, pothole-ridden roads and construction areas that had caused suspension problems for the older, gasoline-driven vans. “We rebuild front ends here frequently,” Kent says. “But so far, these new MT-45s have held up very well.”
The new diesel walk-in vans have extended maintenance intervals. “Overall, maintenance in general is very much improved from what we experienced with our old vehicles,” says Kent. “These MT-45s are very dependable. And fuel economy has improved significantly over the gas engines. Our drivers love these diesel walk-in vans, because they’re 16,000 GVW versus 10,000, they’ve got a heavier ‘truck’ feel and they handle loads better. So far, the performance of these trucks has been outstanding. We have high hopes for this Freightliner MT-45 route truck in our fleet.”
Joe Snyder, FCCC Product Manager—Commercial Vehicles, adds, “G&K Services has placed a lot of faith and trust in FCCC and our MT chassis, and through our performance we intend to build a strong relationship with them.”
Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation manufactures premium chassis for the motorhome, delivery walk-in van, school bus and shuttle bus markets. It is a division of Freightliner LLC, the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner produces and markets Class 3 – 8 vehicles under the Freightliner, Sterling, Western Star and Thomas Built Buses nameplates and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world’s largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.
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