Spartan to Roll Out Several Innovations During FDIC 2013

Many of the more than 900 exhibitors that participate at the Fire Department Instructors Conference (FDIC) choose the show as their springboards for new products. “FDIC is the one North American tradeshow where we see the supply base as a group put its best foot forward,” says John Sztykiel, president and CEO, Spartan Motors, Inc. To that end, both Spartan Chassis and Spartan ERV will have plenty of new things to showcase.

Sztykiel adds, however, that he expects to see the industry highlight the “best of the best” and not necessarily the newest. “Certainly, the primary focus is new product introduction, and we expect to see a number of new offerings in 2013. I would not be surprised, however, to see many suppliers highlight the ‘best of the best’ or premium offerings as they always do. Sztykiel states this is how Spartan will differentiate itself this year. “We will have a solid representation of premium products—best of the best—but our focus is on being relevant to the customer,” he says. “So, what will shine through and resonate with customers are Spartan’s ‘price-performance’ breakthroughs—the MPA 65-foot and the Spartan Concept Utility Vehicle. These products reset the value equation and we are very interested to see the customer response to them.”

Among new product introductions at FDIC 2013, Spartan Chassis will be showcasing a concept utility vehicle that can be made available in all degrees of finish, depending on the needs of the fire apparatus OEM or dealer, with a custom built interior and/or exterior. “A baseline multifunction rescue body (walk-in), that, when upfitted, will go to the market for less than $150,000 (price to the end-user). This is intended for all departments with a particular focus on those municipalities which are not well funded,” says Sztykiel.

Another product Spartan Chassis is introducing is the Series 75, a cab and chassis with a mounted 75-foot aerial ladder. We are very confident in this product’s ability to quickly ramp to volume levels as it immediately extends our 44 OEM partner’s product portfolios,” Sztykiel says.

“We are also introducing the Latitude—a one-of-a-kind device that redefines versatility by combining multiple functions into a single device,” Sztykiel asserts. These include a boom that elevates 28 feet, lifts up to 1,000 pounds, provides both hydraulic and compressed air to deliver power where it is needed, offers 6,000 watts of halogen light, and features an elevated master stream.

The Spartan Mobile HotSpot Concept delivers communication anytime, anywhere, and in any situation, according to Sztykiel, through interconnected cell/satellite capability. “Without effective real time communications, it has proven to be very difficult to provide great emergency response service,” he says, adding that he said such a vehicle should be in every fleet.

For Spartan ERV, the highlight of the event is the announcement of the Multi-Function Pumper Aerial (MPA) 65’ with a 65-foot ladder. “The MPA 65’ is very well suited to the market we face today wherein 80 percent of the fleet (installed base) maintains apparatus that are 15 years old or more,” says Sztykiel. “These departments are largely comprised of volunteer firefighters and are not well funded. Many are found in C and D counties and do not have an aerial. The primary barrier is the cost of acquisition and the MPA 65’ removes that barrier at a price of $350,000 to $425,000.” The product was conceived, designed, engineered in record time and is the result of the Gimaex/Spartan ERV joint venture.

Additionally Spartan Chassis has introduced an interactive video game, “Charge the Line.” The game allows participants and their friends to challenge each other and compete to extinguish the greatest number of fires in two minutes. It’s not as easy as it may sound. While navigating narrow city streets lined with buildings, people, and moving vehicles, you must find the fires and suppress them as quickly as possible.

This year, both Spartan Chassis and Spartan ERV will have feature actress Andrea Roth from the show “Rescue Me” in both FDIC booths. Andrea will assist Spartan in “Celebrating the Virtues of the Fire Service.”

According to Sztykiel, tradeshows like FDIC offer multiple benefits such as brand image enhancement, demand generation, and new customer contact. “However, there is another we place great value on—VOM (Voice of Market),” he says. “We are a ‘customer-centric’ organization so VOM is a staple of our new product development approach and FDIC provides a very efficient means to gather feedback on new products/services and un-met needs from a broad cross-section of the emergency response market, particularly decision makers.”

FDIC is a tradeshow that is evolving, and for the better,” Sztykiel concludes. “There is an expanding international dimension which is a clear benefit to show exhibitors such as Spartan Chassis and Spartan ERV. These global growth opportunities are, in many cases, creating incremental demand for NFPA products and OEMs such as Spartan. We leverage FDIC to drive our international business.”

Spartan and Spartan ERV are located at booths 2510 and 2423.

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