Bob Enright knows trucks -- and he knows business.
He's driven heavy-duty trucks across Alaska in the dead of winter, and he's enough of a truck enthusiast to want to look under the hood to see what engine is powering the vehicle. That interest in trucks has helped bolster the career of Enright, a veteran of the heavy-duty vehicles manufacturing industry. During his four years as president of Western Star Trucks Inc., Enright led the company in garnering J.D. Power and Associates' top ranking in the Class 8 truck category for customer satisfaction.
These qualities make Enright the perfect person to lead a new truck company bearing an esteemed, historic name: Autocar. Enright has been named president of Union City, Ind.-based Autocar LLC, the newest entry in the Class 8 low-cab-over-engine (LCOE) truck market and the owner of the Xpeditor line, acquired last month from Volvo Trucks North America, Inc.
Enright hopes to increase sales of Xpeditor trucks, which primarily serve the refuse collection industry, through a simple business strategy: focus on providing products needed by the customers.
"I am honored to lead a company whose name is associated with historic achievements in the truck industry, and I will work to see that we uphold the heritage of quality, innovation and performance," Enright said.
"Bob brings an appreciation for trucks and tremendous business and operations knowledge," said Andrew Taitz, chairman of Grand Vehicle Works Holdings LLC (GVW), Autocar's parent company. "Because he can communicate effectively with the people who buy trucks and the people who make them, he'll ensure that Autocar delivers solutions for its customers."
As a result of Autocar's business strategy, buyers and dealers of LCOE trucks can expect market-driven product design and a high level of service and support, according to Taitz.
This approach has permitted the other businesses acquired by GVW, a holding company with subsidiaries in niche transportation manufacturing markets, to prosper quickly. Case in point: Workhorse Custom Chassis, formerly the P-Chassis manufacturing operation of General Motors Corp. Since its formation in 1999, Workhorse, which serves markets such as motor homes and commercial walk-in trucks, has taken market share from competitors such as Ford Motor Co. and Freightliner LLC. According to data from market research firm Polk TIPN, Workhorse's market share in motor home classes 3-5 (gross vehicle weight of 10,001 to 19,500 lbs.) has topped 60 percent. That figure is more than double the share held by GM before the acquisition and is substantially more than No. 2 firm Ford Motor Co., at 36 percent.
"The sales gains we've made in those markets demonstrate how well-received our products and services have been and validate our philosophy of focusing on the customer," Taitz said. "We are excited to execute this strategy and observe the same positive results in the Class 8 LCOE market."
The Autocar name has been in existence since 1899, when the Pittsburgh Motor Car Co. moved from Pittsburgh to Ardmore, Pa., and renamed itself Autocar.
Autocar LLC was formed in late July when GVW purchased the Xpeditor truck line and the rights to the Autocar name fro Volvo Trucks. The nameplates of the trucks will remain Xpeditor WX and Xpeditor WXLL. Also involved in the transaction were model-specific designs, tooling and otherassets, as well as the rights to procure and provide aftermarket parts that are unique to LCOEs. Neither the Volvo trademark nor any assembly facilities were included in the transaction.
Autocar is currently creating its dealer network and is expected to offer dealer agreements to many current Volvo truck dealers, as well as other suitable dealers.
Grand Vehicle Works Holdings LLC is a holding company whose subsidiaries are manufacturers of mobile home chassis, commercial truck chassis and walk-in trucks. It's headquarters are in Highland Park, Ill., and its manufacturing facilities are located in Union City, Ind., and Mexico.