US Postal Service getting ready for what could be the largest fleet purchases ever image

The US Postal Service’s Long Life Vehicle seems to be ready for retirement after almost 30 years in active service, with the company facing soaring maintenance costs for the aging fleet and in need of extra cargo space.

Facing growth from demand coming from the new generation of online shoppers, the US Postal Service has decided to call automakers to propose their commercial vans – one of them could win the honor of replacing the boxy Long Life Vehicle and turn into the backbone of the service’s delivery fleet from 2018. The agency has already announced a scheduled meeting with potential bidders next week in Washington, with a summer schedule for prototypes, testing for 2016 and the final contract award in 2017. The bid to replace the US Postal Service fleet might turn out as one of the largest fleet buys ever – the specifications advanced by the Postal Service to potential bidders call for a purchase of 180,000 vehicles at $25,000 to $35,000 apiece, making the contract worth $4.5 to $6.3 billion.

Naturally, with such a low asking price, government fleet sales are not really a profit boon – but when it comes tot the Postal Service contract the massive size might make it worth the while for the global commercial van producers – Ford has the Transit, Daimler has the Sprinter and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has the ProMaster product line. The European-style vans have been well received in the US over the past decade because they come with numerous advantages over the traditional body-on-frame trucks – especially when it comes to fuel economy. The potential to save on fuel costs is probably a crucial criteria for the Postal Service, with the current fleet gusting as much as 154 million gallons of gasoline annually – or what US oil refiners can sell in a week.

Via Automotive News