Rev Group Inc. plans to complete final assembly of U.S. Postal Service prototype vehicles at the Century City site near North 30th Street and West Capitol Drive, chief executive officer Tim Sullivan said Friday.
The specialty vehicle manufacturer partnered with Turkish firm Karsan to bid on the contract. Karsan was one of six suppliers selected as prime suppliers for prototypes of the next generation postal delivery vehicles, USPS announced.
The other firms selected are Oshkosh Corp., AM General, Mahindra, Utilimaster and VT Hackney. The contract awards are valued at $37.4 million.
“We’re excited by the fact that we’ve been short-listed,” Sullivan said. “As long as you’re still in the game, you’ve got a shot to win.”
Sullivan moved Rev Group’s headquarters to Milwaukee from Orlando earlier this year. He said earlier this year if the company landed the USPS contract to produce 180,000 vehicles, they would be manufactured at the Century City site, potentially creating up to 2,500 jobs.
The selection of Karsan as one of six companies to produce prototypes is a step toward making that a reality, although the company may only land part of the contract, or none at all. Sullivan said the fact six companies were short-listed suggests USPS may be leaning toward splitting up the contract.
Sullivan said the plan is to produce some of the high-tech parts for the vehicles at Karsan’s innovation center in Turkey and bring the components to Milwaukee for final assembly.
“We’ve already had discussions with the city about facility requirements,” Sullivan said, although which facility on the site would be used has not been determined.
The 84-acre Century City site was once home to A.O. Smith and Tower Automotive. The city has invested millions to prepare it for redevelopment as a business park. General Capital Group has constructed a 53,160-square-foot building on the site already.
The job impact from the prototypes will not be anywhere near the level the full contract could bring. Sullivan said given the length of time USPS gave suppliers – roughly a full year – there will only be about a dozen positions in Milwaukee connected with the final assembly.
The six suppliers will combine to produce a total of 50 prototype vehicles. Half of the prototypes will feature hybrid and alternative fuel capabilities. The prototypes also will include a variety of vehicle sizes and drive configurations.
After taking delivery of the prototypes, USPS plans to test the vehicles for six months in a range of different climates, topographies, population centers and delivery environments.
The Postal Service announced it would be issuing an RFP for commercial off-the-shelf, right-hand drive delivery trucks as it continues to research the future mix of its delivery fleet.