1. #1
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    Default Was Spartan ERV A Good Move For Spartan?

    For those of you that may not know, at FDIC 2012 Spartan unveiled the Spartan ERV line. The Crimson name basically went away and was renamed Spartan ERV (Emergency Response Vehicles). Included in this move was a partnership with Gimaex (a French company) to provide ladders. The Spartan rep said this would allow any builder to provide you an aerial because they could order the Spartan chassis with the ladder already mounted and all the builder had to do was the compartmentation. Have to admit that is an interesting approach.

    What I'm really interested is that Spartan also chose to no longer sell chassis to any manufacturer that builds their own chassis. Not sure if Rosenbauer developing their own chassis was the tipping point or not but it was interesting that this all occurred around the same time frame. Now instead of Spartan chassis being available to every department regardless of builder it is only available through 40 Spartan 'partners'.

    It was just kind of an interesting financial move for Spartan from my point of view, and a few others, since Spartan had kind of established itself as a "baseline" for chassis similar to how Freightliner, Navistar and Ford have established themselves. I understand that HME provides chassis in the same manner (to everyone) but they just aren't as prevalent in our part of the country.

    Not looking to debate who makes a better custom chassis and I don't have any real interest in this other can pure curiosity. It's been 18 months since this move was made by Spartan and I was just wondering if anyone had insight on how it was working out for them because personally I think they shot themselves in the foot by not continuing to provide chassis to all apparatus builders. Not to mention that they are hoping department loyalty to Spartan chassis will trump loyalty to a (competitive) builder.

    Just curious. I'm interested to see what you guys think.

    Thanks,
    Walt
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    I thought the it was Rosenbauer that decided to stop using Spartan? They wanted more control over their product, so they built their own chassis. Spartan had to do something to take control of the perception of that change-maybe they chose to raise their standards to avoid the implication that Rosenbauer dropped them because of some inadequacy of the Spartan product.

    I can understand why they want to control who they sell their chassis to. I believe it's a quality/brand issue, from a quality standpoint as well as recognition. Would you want your name tainted by some backwater one rig per year outfit?

    You don't go to a Ford dealer to buy a new Dodge. Any department that wants a Spartan chassis has to work with a dealer that carries it. Same as you go to a Pierce dealer for a Pierce chassis. Just curious as why you think that is a problem.

    That list of partners is pretty extensive-see the list here:
    http://www.spartanchassis.com/er/app.../er_riding.asp

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    It was Spartan that dropped Rosenbauer. The answer is a bit longer than that, but it was all started from the Spartan side. If you want the long version, I can certainly post it. And even though the list of partners is long, I think Rosenbauer accounted for around 50% of their (Spartan) chassis sales. And Spartan sells chassis, they don't quality control anything about what goes on them, so you can have a junk body on a good chassis.

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    What I don't understand is why Spartan didn't continue to sell chassis to E-One, Ferrara, KME, Pierce, Rosenbauer and Sutphen. (I'm sure there are names I have omitted that build their own chassis.) Reason I don't understand is that it seemed like Spartan collectively sold quite a few chassis to these builders and you would see the Spartan/Brand X combination. From my point of view, regardless of the exact number sold, that accounted for consistent sales. Maybe not a huge amount but it provided sales and kept the end user in your product. By ceasing to sell to anyone that builds their own chassis Spartan gave up these sales. I'm just curious if the Spartan ERV line has taken off like they anticipated and made up for what I see as lost sales. I also understand that the builders who produce their own chassis probably have no problem with this because now they may be selling more of their own chassis instead of building on a Spartan.
    From an image point of view I would think Spartan would take pride in the fact that a department chose their chassis over a chassis the builder offers.

    Gunnyv, that is the point. Prior to the move in April 2012 the department could pair a Spartan chassis with basically any builder they wanted. Now the department has to go with one of Spartan's partners (thought I counted 40 of them excluding Spartan ERV) if they truly want a Spartan chassis. Spartan was an option to every department regardless of who built the body. Granted, if the builder offers their own chassis they will try hard to get you into theirs but at the end of the day, if they wanted the bid they would build on the Spartan.
    I don't have a problem with the move, I'm just curious to see how it is working out. To me it doesn't make sense but there is a reason I drive fire apparatus instead of run a company that produces them.

    Bigjim54, I would be interested to hear the long answer.

    Thanks,
    Walt
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    FFWalt: I'll try to explain as painless as possible. Rosenbauer (RB) wanted their own chassis to be able to bid against specifications that called out that the cab/chassis/body all had to be built by the same manufacturer. It is the same for Smeal, Toyne, Alexis, SVI and all those other Spartan partners, they don't build their own chassis. It's the same reason you can buy an HME chassis or a complete HME apparatus. They are able to bid both ways. So as I understand it, the RB chassis would only be bid when the specification was proprietary. They figured they wouldn't be building a large number because bidding the chassis would only occur when necessary. RB would still use IH/FL/Ford/Spartan/HME chassis as needed. I think they believed that the Spartan chassis would still be the most popular. The how and what of what happened next, I don't have the details. But Spartan cut RB off. At that time I think RB was about 50% of Spartans chassis sales. I don't understand how you cut off your best (and one of you longest) customers that is competing against the Crimson (now Spartan ERV) line but continue to sell to all the others that are, wait for it... competing against the Spartan ERV line. Of course you would expect Spartan gives themselves the best discount so the other bidders are at a slight disadvantage, that's just smart business. So it forced RB to step up production of their Commander chassis. I have heard that the initial expectation was to sell 50 RB chassis a year, but they have taken orders for over 30 a month on occasion. The belief that customers would only buy on a Spartan chassis were incorrect. Once you sit in the RB chassis you will realize they actually did their homework, it is a very nice ride.

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    Walt here is a Toyne/Spartan Quint that was delivered to Independence, Mo
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    That's a really nice truck. I drove it a few thousand miles in various parts of the east as a demo unit, before it went to Independence. It drove very well on the highway. Never got to operate the ladder, but those who did spoke very highly of it.

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    Bigjim54,

    Thanks for the info and you see my point. I'm just wondering if it played out as well financially as Spartan thought it would.

    SFD_E73_RET,

    Is that a Gimaex ladder from Spartan or another brand? They used to use RK until Rosenbauer bought RK. That's probably another story. Not sure who they went to after that. When we were looking for a ladder we didn't deal with them since they don't offer a mid mount.

    Thanks,
    Walt
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    Bigjim54,

    Thanks for the info and you see my point. I'm just wondering if it played out as well financially as Spartan thought it would.

    SFD_E73_RET,

    Is that a Gimaex ladder from Spartan or another brand? They used to use RK until Rosenbauer bought RK. That's probably another story. Not sure who they went to after that. When we were looking for a ladder we didn't deal with them since they don't offer a mid mount.

    Thanks,
    Walt
    Walt as you may know, Spartan owned Crimson and Crimson Aerials and when they decided to part ways with rosie and rebrand they also decided to make some of their aerial products available to some of their customer/partners. The Independence quint is a Spartan Aerial that was a Spartan/Crimson designed ladder. As far as Mid-Mounts, Toyne does now offer a mid-mount quint or truck and the 28' mid-mount lattitude boom appliance and there are more aerial options coming soon for Toyne.

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    Default Spartan

    Herb what were you thinking, Turkeys are birds, how did I know they couldn't fly! Or in other words just because it's corporate doesn't mean it is smart.

    This was not the first case of biting the hand that feeds in American business and it won't be the last.

    Actually they already did it two years earlier when they started plastering " A Spartan Company" all over Crimson stuff.

    Miss the firehouse - don't miss the other.....stuff.

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    Correction,

    Toyne does not offer a mid-mount, just rear mount products.

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    SFD_E73_RET,

    Pretty sure Toyne didn't make mid mounts. Remember just over a year ago at a conference one of our guys was talking with the Toyne rep at his booth as I walked by and brought me into the conversation because we were getting ready to do a mid mount. Verified that they didn't build mid mounts and then the rep said "But we could". Didn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling because I don't think turning a rear mount into a mid mount is as simple as relocating the turn table.

    Walt.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    What I don't understand is why Spartan didn't continue to sell chassis to E-One, Ferrara, KME, Pierce, Rosenbauer and Sutphen...[clip]...Prior to the move in April 2012 the department could pair a Spartan chassis with basically any builder they wanted. Now the department has to go with one of Spartan's partners (thought I counted 40 of them excluding Spartan ERV) if they truly want a Spartan chassis. Spartan was an option to every department regardless of who built the body. Granted, if the builder offers their own chassis they will try hard to get you into theirs but at the end of the day, if they wanted the bid they would build on the Spartan.
    Just a quick comment on this (I've so far refrained from opining on the rest of the thread) - you won't find any Spartan/Suthpen or Spartan/Pierce rigs delivered in the modern era. These manufacturers build exclusively on their own chassis, so if a customer was dead-set on the Spartan chassis, they'd have to look elsewhere than these two.

    Even before the Spartan decision to stop selling to competing chassis builders, both KME and E-One were beginning to only build on the Spartan chassis in very select cases.
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    Quote Originally Posted by BoxAlarm187 View Post
    Just a quick comment on this (I've so far refrained from opining on the rest of the thread) - you won't find any Spartan/Suthpen or Spartan/Pierce rigs delivered in the modern era.
    Sutphen delivered 2-3 trucks on Spartan chassis in the last 10-15 years. We were still offering to build on them up until Spartan cut off certain outside chassis sales, but very few customers wanted them when they could go sole source.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FFWALT View Post
    SFD_E73_RET,

    Pretty sure Toyne didn't make mid mounts. Remember just over a year ago at a conference one of our guys was talking with the Toyne rep at his booth as I walked by and brought me into the conversation because we were getting ready to do a mid mount. Verified that they didn't build mid mounts and then the rep said "But we could". Didn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling because I don't think turning a rear mount into a mid mount is as simple as relocating the turn table.

    Walt.
    The ladders are installed by the ladder manufacturer. So the "but we could" is not at all ominous. Toyne (or any other body builder, for that matter, would be installing the pump and plumbing plus body fabrication and installation. If someone wanted a Toyne/Spartan mid mount ladder, the chassis would be built in Charlotte, Mich. It would then go to Spartan ERV's ladder facility in Ephata, Pa. to have the ladder installed, and from there to Toyne in Breda, Ia. to be completed. Same process even for a Spartan ERV truck. Charlotte to Ephrata to Brandon, S.D.
    Last edited by chiefengineer11; 11-17-2013 at 03:11 PM. Reason: Additional info

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    Other than Sutphen, I don't think that there are any builders of fire apparatus that build there ladders and chassis at the same location ? most get driven or truck shipped over the road to the final plant.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodbridge View Post
    Other than Sutphen, I don't think that there are any builders of fire apparatus that build there ladders and chassis at the same location ? most get driven or truck shipped over the road to the final plant.
    Sutphen doesn't build their ladders and chassis' together. All Sutphen chassis' are built in Springfield, OH. The ladders are built at either Dublin, OH or Hilliard, OH where the pump and body are also built.

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    What products are built at there White Lake, N.Y. plant ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Woodbridge View Post
    What products are built at there White Lake, N.Y. plant ?
    Stainless and aluminum pumpers, tankers, and mini's.

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