Rev Group competitor drops from postal vehicle project

Potential benefit for Milwaukee firm unclear

Tim Sullivan
Photo from the 2017 IndyCar race at Road America. Les Tension Photography

Milwaukee-based Rev Group Inc. and its Turkish partner Karsan have one less competitor in their effort to land a contract to build the next generation postal vehicle for the United States Postal Service.


Michigan-based Spartan Motors Inc. announced its Utilimaster brand had stopped work as a prime contractor on the development of a functional prototype and would instead provide interior cargo solutions for another award participant, which it did not name.

In September, USPS announced six suppliers tasked with building a total of 50 prototype vehicles. In addition to Utilimaster and Karsan, those suppliers included AM General, Mahindra, Oshkosh and VT Hackney.

The firms are all vying for the contract to produce 180,000 vehicles for USPS. Rev Group, a specialty vehicle maker led by Tim Sullivan, partnered with Karsan to bid on the project. Sullivan has said if his company lands the contract he plans to produce the vehicles at Milwaukee’s Century City site.

Bringing production to Milwaukee could potentially create hundreds or thousands of jobs in an area with high levels of unemployment.

Sullivan said Tuesday it was hard to say if Spartan dropping out and helping another firm in the competition would help or hurt Rev Group’s efforts. He previously suggested that naming six companies to produce prototypes suggested USPS was looking to split up the contract.

Utilimaster has provided USPS with route delivery and other vehicles since 1999.

“When we took a close look at the economics as a result of our inability to reach a satisfactory agreement with our commercial chassis supplier, further participation in the program as the primary body builder did not meet our baseline financial targets,” said Daryl Adams, Spartan Motors president and chief executive officer.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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