Vehicle Provider Increases Production to Accommodate Uptick in Grocery Deliveries

The Shyft Group's Utilimaster receives influx of orders from grocers
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
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Vehicle Provider Increases Production to Accommodate Grocery Deliveries
Utilimaster's Velocity vehicle includes the ability to carry fresh and frozen goods.

As many food retailers look to accommodate the growing consumer demand for grocery delivery, Utilimaster, The Shyft Group's go-to-market brand, has increased production of its lineup of refrigerated vehicles suited to meet the challenge. During the past several months, the company has received orders for more than 500 refrigerated and other units from grocery chains around the country.

The latest Gallup research affirms an uptick in online buyingshowing that nearly a quarter (23%) of people are ordering groceries online, nearly double the 11% share from the pre-pandemic (i.e., "normal") year of 2019.

"Consumers expect reliable, on-time service with their grocery delivery orders. Utilimaster understands this need and provides a wide range of vehicles to meet efficient and safe grocery delivery demands," said Daryl Adams, president and CEO of The Shyft Group. 

Utilimaster offers a wide range of temperature-controlled vehicles, including multi-temp vehicles that can span GVWR (gross vehicle weight rating) classes and are designed to deliver a variety of foods at their optimal temperatures, including fresh, frozen, cold and ambient- temperature goods, within the same vehicle. The company's unique ability to sell and service vehicles across the GVWR Class 1-7 spectrum include:

  • Velocity: Utilimaster's latest addition to its delivery lineup now includes the ability to carry fresh and frozen goods. The vehicle is unique in its small format and large cargo capacity, providing the nimbleness, comfort and fuel efficiency of a cargo van, with the accessibility and capacity of a walk-in van.
  • Walk-in Step-Vans: With a highly adaptable cargo area and multiple side and rear-door configurations, it offers maximum versatility and interior design features.
  • Cargo Van Upfits: This model provides customer-specific purpose-built storage configurations for high-frequency, urban and suburban grocery delivery.

"As more customers in urban, suburban, and rural areas seek grocery delivery solutions, our commitment to provide diversified vehicle offerings has increased in response. Adding the Velocity, an agile and adaptable last-mile delivery vehicle, to our temperature-controlled vehicle lineup has gotten the attention of grocers and food suppliers of all sizes across the country," said Chad Heminover, president, Shyft Fleet Vehicles and Services. "In addition to our broad vehicle lineup, Utilimaster produces refrigerated vehicles across our manufacturing footprint, so we are uniquely positioned to meet customer needs, from both a manufacturing and distribution standpoint."

The Shyft Group is a provider of specialty vehicle manufacturing, assembly and upfit for e-commerce-driven parcel delivery, as well as the broader commercial, retail and service specialty vehicle markets. It's organized into two core business units: Shyft Fleet Vehicles & Services and Shyft Specialty Vehicles. Based in Novi, Mich., the company employs approximately 2,900 associates across campuses, and operates facilities in Michigan, Indiana, Maine, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, California, Arizona, Texas, and Saltillo, Mexico. The company reported sales from continuing operations of $676 million in 2020. For its recent second quarter ending June 30, it achieved record sales of $244 million.

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