On the eve of its 90th birthday, Utility Trailers unveiled a new dry van product and announced a manufacturing plant expansion to keep up with burgeoning trailer demand.
“We anticipate a 30% increase in our output this year— we just can’t build trailers fast enough,” said Hal Bennett, Utility’s president, at the recent Mid-America Trucking Show. “When all is said and done this year, we hope to reach a total annual production goal of 31,000 units.”
To help reach that goal, Utility is investing $11.5 million to overhaul its manufacturing plant in Marion, VA. It could hire up to 200 more workers this year in an effort to improve productivity 10%, he said.
“Even the flatbed trailer market is returning after three long years, so we need to make sure we can keep up with demand,” Bennett said. Utility has five plants in the U.S., employing 3,000 workers, as well as a network of 100 dealers.
Utility also hopes to grow its market share in part through its latest product, the 4000 DX dry van trailer, which weighs 450 lb. less than its current models, said Jeff Bennett, vp-product development. The 4000 DX can be equipped with an optional Hendrickson suspension package that features Michelin’s X-One wide base single axle tire, further reducing the trailer’s weight and improving fuel economy anywhere from 4% to 11%, he said.