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Delivery Fleet Customizes Low Cab Forward Truck

May 2017, Business Fleet - Feature

by Amy Winter-Hercher - Also by this author

Harmony Outdoor's new Chevrolet Low Cab Forward features a customized flat bed to better transport its power equipment to customers.   
Harmony Outdoor's new Chevrolet Low Cab Forward features a customized flat bed to better transport its power equipment to customers.

Don Harter was counting the days until Chevrolet brought back a new Low Cab Forward truck (LCF). In fact, Harter’s delivery fleet was the first small business to take delivery of the 2016 LCF.

Along with his new LCF, Harter also runs a 2013 Chevrolet Silverado Dually for hauling Massey Ferguson and Toro compact and utility tractors.

“Now that Chevrolet is in the LCF business, I can consolidate my business with one company for sales and service,” said Harter, owner of Harmony Outdoor Equipment. “It makes our entire organization more efficient.”
Before purchasing the LCF, Harter used an Isuzu NPR for his company’s deliveries. The lack of Isuzu dealerships in his area made it difficult for Harter to service the truck.

The nearest Isuzu dealership was up to an hour away, which meant that when service was needed, the NPR would be out for two to three days. Besides, “Our local Chevrolet dealer tried to service the Isuzu but couldn’t,” Harter says.

Located in Auburn, Ind., Harmony Outdoor Equipment sells and services tractors and large and midsize zero-turn mowers for contractors and homeowners. Covering a 75-mile radius, the LCF is on the road daily, having picked up and delivered the company’s power equipment since last summer. So far, it already has more than 13,000 miles on it, according to Harter.

Better Ride, MPG

Harter chose the LCF chassis with the 5.2L diesel engine powertrain. With a starting MSRP of $39,775, the LCF is available with a 6.0L V-8 gasoline engine or the 5.2L diesel engine, with the choice of a regular cab or crew cab.

To fit multiple pieces of power equipment at once, Harter worked with a local trailer company to create a custom 18-foot flatbed with a 4-foot dovetail ramp — with a winch and a few toolboxes. Harter talked with his Chevy salesman after the bed was designed to see if it would work with the LCF chassis. The flatbed was put on the chassis without needing any modifications. With the customized flatbed, four or five pieces of power equipment can fit at once.

“Our custom-designed truck makes it easier for my employees to load the equipment on and off the bed,” said Harter. “And my driver likes sitting higher in the LCF versus traditional trucks. The visibility is much better.”
Harter and his driver also love the maneuverability of the LCF, especially when making deliveries in neighborhoods. He refers to it as driving almost like a car.

“With the LCF, we can go into a neighborhood with a cul-de-sac and spin right around,” said Harter. “With trailers, you can get stuck when going onto narrow streets.” So far, Harter’s driver has averaged from 14.5 to 16 miles to the gallon with the Chevrolet LCF’s newer engine technology. In his 2010 Isuzu NPR, his driver averaged 8 mpg.

“When my Chevy salesman told me that I could get 12 to 13 miles per gallon with the diesel LCF, I thought he was just being a good sales guy,” said Harter. “But our LCF is getting even better mpg than that.”

Faster Maintenance

Harter takes his LCF and Silverado for service to his local Summit City Chevrolet dealership, which is closer than the Isuzu dealership and allows him to service the LCF usually in a day.

Harter leased his LCF through General Motors’ Right TRAC leasing program. The five-year lease offers lower monthly payments and unlimited mileage — with no wear-and-tear charges.

“At the end of the lease, I can either buy the LCF or give it back,” said Harter. “So far, the truck is working very well for my company. At this point, I’m planning to buy the truck and then lease another one.”

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