As part of its continued growth in the area of commercial business, Ford Motor Co. has confirmed it will provide engines, transmissions and other parts for new U.S. Postal Service delivery vehicles.
"The U.S. Postal Service and Oshkosh will use Michigan-made engines and transmissions from Ford Component Sales to help deliver the mail," Mike Levine, Ford North America product communications manager, told the Free Press on Tuesday.
The vehicles themselves will be built by Oshkosh Defense, a subsidiary of Wisconsin-based Oshkosh Corp. Vehicle assembly will be done in South Carolina, Reuters first reported.
On Tuesday, Oshkosh told the Free Press the Ford role would be expansive.
"We’re proud that Ford Component Sales, a wholly owned subsidiary of Ford Motor Co., is joining us as a supplier," said Alexandra Hittle, director of global marketing and communications at Oshkosh Defense. "Ford is providing components across both ICE (internal combustion engine) and BEV (battery-electric vehicle) models including powertrain, drive train, suspension and cabin interior components."
She said several suppliers may also be based in the South Carolina facility.
"We are finalizing our full supplier network now and will look forward to sharing more information in the future," Hittle said.
The company expects production to begin in summer 2023, she said. And it will be up to workers whether or not they unionize, she said.
In late February, the Free Press reported that the USPS had awarded Oshkosh a government contract that could be worth up to $6 billion to build the first large-scale fleet of modern delivery vehicles in 30 years — and that Ford might have a piece of the action.
On Tuesday, Doug Chase, sales director of Ford Component Sales, said in a statement:
“Ford Component Sales is proud to provide Oshkosh Defense with key parts for both the battery electric and internal combustion engine versions of the U.S. Postal Service’s Next Generation Delivery Vehicle, including the engine and transmission which will be built in Michigan, plus suspensions and other components to help the USPS continue to deliver for the American people for years to come."
Oshkosh Defense will assemble the delivery vehicles in Spartanburg, South Carolina, according to company's website. It plans to hire 1,000 local workers, the website said.
Spartanburg County will see a $155 million investment, according to the website of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster.
This latest government contract, which was awarded after a competitive bid process that began in 2015, is for "indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity" of between 50,000 and 165,000 vehicles over 10 years, according to Oshkosh.
A Ford spokeswoman told the Free Press that Ford was unable to confirm the potential dollar value of the partnership for Ford or when the Dearborn automaker might start shipping components to Oshkosh.
Oshkosh Corporation, formerly Oshkosh Truck, is an American industrial company that designs and builds specialty trucks, military vehicles and truck bodies.
Ford CEO Jim Farley has told investors he plans to expand business partnerships that build on the company's established strengths, including commercial business.
The company announced this week another top-level hire to handle new businesses as Ford continues to see its stock price steadily climb this year.
"Electric vehicles are perfect for driving consistent routes in an urban environment, especially if there’s a large ‘home base’ they can return to every night to recharge," said Karl Brauer, executive analyst at iSeeCars.com, a car listing and data site.
"This is exactly what U.S, postal vehicles do every day across the country, and if Ford can be a key partner in converting the USPS into an EV fleet that’s a huge win for everyone — the postal service, Ford, and consumers wanting less air and noise pollution in their neighborhoods," Brauer said. "It’s not overstating it to call this a huge win for Ford."
► Peloton's new idea: Digital heart rate wearable device
Follow Phoebe Wall Howard on Twitter @phoebesaid.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Ford to build engines, transmissions for USPS delivery vehicles