INSIDE LOOK: Oshkosh Defense prepares to build first order of new USPS mail trucks
SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - With an order for 50,000 Next Gen Delivery Vehicles (NGDV) already in, Don Bent says his team at Oshkosh Defense is busy preparing the assembly line.
Oshkosh Defense, known for their military vehicles, has been retrofitting the old Rite Aid distribution center in Spartanburg County’s Flatwood Industrial Park since last June. The company was awarded the bid to create new trucks for USPS last February.
Bent, chief operating officer of Oshkosh Defense, said they are installing equipment to create the production line. FOX Carolina News toured the facility and saw the crews preparing to insert giant vats for paint into the concrete floor. We also walked through the heat chambers that will be used to cure the paint jobs.
The NGDV come with a new look and each change has a purpose.
“They have that that large windshield and then that low sloping hood,” said Bent. “The reason for that low sloping hood is in case while [the mail carrier is] looking into a mailbox [and] something were to run out in front of them … they could easily see it when they turn their eyes back in front of them.”
Other improvements include air conditioning, higher mirrors that are able to go over mailboxes, 360-degree cameras and more package space.
As crews work to transform the facility, some lawmakers in Wisconsin, the company’s home state, argue the production should be brought back north.
Senators Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) with U.S. Representatives Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and William Timmons (R-S.C.) fired back by sending a letter to U.S. Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.
“Oshkosh Defense and USPS chose Spartanburg because it is the best city in the country to complete this contract. A change now would be detrimental to the American people. We appreciate you acting responsibly in the interest of all Americans, and we urge you to continue to not let political disagreements distract from that important work,” the letter said in part.
While the transition from military to mail might seem odd to some, Bent said they’re doing the same thing they’ve always done.
“We have always worked to protect the occupants of the vehicle,” he said. “Really we’ve just brought that same approach to the Next Gen Delivery Vehicle.”
Bent said they are already hiring for some positions, which can be found here, but the bulk of the hiring will begin next spring. There are more than 1,000 positions that will need to be filled.
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