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Summer 2015 Cup O’Joe

Can you just hear Jack Nicholson saying “HERE’S JOHNNY” in the movie The Shining. Similarly, the situation we have today with the railcar shortage is “I’M BACK”!! Yes indeed, our rail car shortages and shipping issues are BACK. Every OEM is feeling this effect.  Just recently, we have been heading toward the magic number of 17 million vehicles built per year in the USA and we are now there.


This rail car problem can drop our industry to its knees. The OEM’s with all of their existing plants, plus new plants coming on line, can build the volume the customers need but the OEM cannot ship that volume. Sometimes during these rail car shortages, the ship-through process takes one on the chin but the truth of the matter is whether a truck is shipping from a ship-through upfitter or direct from the assembly plant that built the truck, they are still vying for the same rail car space. There are sometimes alternatives to our shipping processes though. When you need vehicles immediately, work with your Auto Truck Account Manager to find any solution available for all your transportation issues.


Are you brave enough to forecast our economy for the next 2-5 years? If so, then please share your crystal ball. My fear is from the economy being so strong for the last five years or so, we have become complacent to the long-range goal. For example, how do you explain the wild 100 to 200 point swings in the DJIA on a daily basis? It is crazy. We don’t need any economical miracles here. We just need to steadily, firmly continue to move the economy forward.


Of course, any time the word “Greece” enters the news, you can expect at least a 100-point drop in the DJIA. Who knew Greece swung that big of an economic bat. Isn’t Greece about the size of Cleveland with the economic impact of Poughkeepsie, NY?


Communication might look different in the future. There may only be electronic communication between us. Similar to the adage if you want to get hold of your kids- text them- they will write back in a nanosecond. Don’t call them. You will never hear from them. Therefore, the challenge is to communicate so everyone “hears” the message. This communication method might very well be electronic messaging of some sort. The same method may work well with employees- text message and they will read it- tell them the same message verbally and it might not get through. This is the era we are living in today. Maybe dumping the QWERTY keyboard and going to all voice recognition could be advantageous!


I believe most of you are aware of Auto Truck’s new 80,000 sq. ft. upfitting facility in Kansas City, MO. Our plant is somewhat dedicated to the new Transit Van and the F150 pickup using ship thru services from Ford’s Claycomo plant. It has not even been a year since we started production in KC and yet we have successfully completed numerous small and large volume projects. This facility is amazing and is totally set up for upfitting. If you are near the Kansas City, MO area, please stop in for a tour. You will be impressed.


Auto Truck has also opened a new 40,000 sq. ft. facility in O’Fallon, MO back in December. The plant has been awarded ship thru for the new 2015 Chevy Colorado and GMC Canyon, Chevy Express and GMC Savanna, and Chevy City Express. The facility has the capacity to upfit more than 20 vehicles concurrently with 2 acres of storage. This expansion allows Auto Truck to continue to support a wide variety of users and applications, serving both regional and national customers and fleets.


GM announced the week of May 25th they will be spending $1 BILLION at their Fort Wayne Assembly plant. This plant sits across the street from our Auto Truck Group Fort Wayne, IN upfitting and ship-through facility. The GM plant, which originally opened in December 1986, is about a nine iron distance from our Fort Wayne Fleet property which opened a few months later in March 1987. We have had a very good run with this GM plant, and we are really looking forward to long and prosperous working relationship with our GM customers on the products produced in Fort Wayne for many years to come.


Our newest facility is located in Maple Shade, NJ. It is an amazing facility and set up for upfitting. We moved into a portion of an existing building about a year ago, and have plans on taking over the entire building in the very near future. The purpose of having this location is to service our East Coast customers who are located in that regional area. With this additional facility, the total number of Auto Truck Group facilities now totals eleven (11):

  • Bartlett, IL
  • Fort Wayne, IN
  • Huntington, IN
  • Louisville, KY
  • Denver, CO
  • Colorado Springs, CO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • O’Fallon, MO
  • Fort Worth, TX
  • Maple Shade, NJ
  • Mississauga, ON, Canada


If you have not yet joined the NTEA, please sign up today. What better way to represent our industry’s association. No excuses!


To all my fellow fisherman/women – The Spring fishing season has been prosperous. I caught an 11# Steelhead on the Big Manistee River in Michigan in the middle of a snowstorm, and a 45” Muskie in a Northern Indiana lake, both caught on a fly rod! So get out there and sling some flies and lures or take a walk or ride your bike and just relax with a cup O’Joe

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By admin, 03.06.15

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