Finding Trailers and Reefer Units

Nov. 1, 1999
LOCATING information on trailers, truck bodies, or refrigeration units now may be as close as a computer keyboard. More and more trailer and body builders

LOCATING information on trailers, truck bodies, or refrigeration units now may be as close as a computer keyboard. More and more trailer and body builders have turned to the Internet to promote their products. Some sites contain detailed specifications of the products offered. Others provide general information along with a list of contacts for gathering more details. In almost every case, trailer, truck body, or refrigeration web sites provide a brief history of the company.

Following are descriptions of the web sites of four of the nation's largest refrigerated trailer builders and the two major refrigeration unit manufacturers. Great Dane starts with a no-nonsense home page with easy access to information about the company and its products. In addition to buttons for general information about company history, product lines, contacts, and job opportunities, the Great Dane site makes its branch location list a priority. That list is the first option at the top left of the home page. Clicking on the "Explore our site" button provides a complete list of Great Dane branches. Scrolling down the list allows a visitor to find the physical address, telephone, and fax number for each branch.

The company history details the formation of Great Dane in 1900 and follows it through its evolution from The Savannah Blowpipe Company to The Steel Products Company to its current name of Great Dane Trailers in 1958. Product listings include the whole Great Dane catalog of freight vans, refrigerated trailers, and platform trailers.

A lengthy page accessed by the "Careers" button describes the work environment at Great Dane and the company's expectations of employees. It says that Great Dane may not be the place for everyone, but invites resumes from interested applicants by mail or e-mail. An online job posting will be available soon. Trailmobile's web site opens on a busy home page with shifting graphics. A photo in the center of the page changes to show a range of company products, and a flashing hand points to an offer for special pricing on parts and accessories. Behind the "What's New" button, visitors find announcements of recent developments such as the purchase of controlling interest in Mond Industries, the Canadian trailer builder. A staff list and company history can be reached by clicking the "About Trailmobile" button.

Other buttons on the opening page lead to a complete list of Trailmobile's dealer network and a description of the company's products and its parts distribution network. Another button leads to information about industry safety awards sponsored by Trailmobile for the motor carrier industry.

Trailmobile's web site provides two features not found on other web sites. The first is a series of links to other truck- and trailer-related sites. The second, and most intriguing, is a list of current products available for sale at its branches. One indication of the tight trailer market can be seen in the availability of only two refrigerated trailers among 10 branches on the day the site was visited. Utility Trailer Manufacturing offers a simple, easy-to-navigate web site that provides a short statement of company history and a product list on the opening page. Large buttons at the bottom of the page allow visitors to find a complete dealer list under three headings: US, Canada, or Mexico.

Clicking the "Trailers" button leads to a list of the company's product line of refrigerated, dry van, platform, and tautliner trailers. Detailed descriptions of each product are available. The refrigerated trailer description details the Utility 2000R truckload highway refrigerated van and the company's Grocery 2000 trailer for wholesale grocery and supermarket distribution. This section also describes Utility's Centerseal trailer for foodservice distribution.

The web site provides a list of company contacts and a page for e-mail messages. Wabash National devotes the majority of its home page to financial data. Just below a photo of one of its hot-selling dry vans, the company lists three recent press releases, each of which leads the visitor to a financial announcement. Below the updates section is a series of five links leading to stock price quotations.

A short company profile (with a link leading to a description of Wabash's hometown Lafayette IN) says Wabash national believes itself to be the largest manufacturer of trailers in the US. The profile lists the company's products.

A link to product pages gives visitors access to details on Wabash National products. This data includes extensive descriptions, photos, and specifications for Wabash National refrigerated trailers. It provides the exact material and construction techniques used to build reefer vans. Other links provide company locations and an e-mail contact list. Carrier Transicold opens its web site on a page of clean graphics with a button for every part of the company including truck and trailer refrigeration, marine systems, container products, transport air-conditioning, and replacement parts. A welcome page offers an overview of Carrier Transicold, and other buttons detail the company's global reach.

Clicking the "Truck & Trailer" button leads to a page noting the increased market share of Carrier Transicold and new markets for the company in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, Asia, and Australia. This section states that Carrier Transicold has manufacturing capability in France, Canada, Singapore, India, China, and Brazil as well as the US. It calls attention to the range of refrigerants available in Carrier Transicold units-R-22, R-404A, and R-134a.

Another button on the home page leads to links to recent press releases on Carrier Transicold and its dealer network. Clicking on the release title results in display of the entire release and associated illustrations. The site contains an e-mail system for reaching Carrier Transicold personnel. Thermo King's web site opens with a graphic illustration of the company's mission and global markets. A rough-looking blue globe with green continents turns out to be a scoop of ice cream when the visitor scrolls to the bottom of the page. Buttons to reach subsequent sections of the site appear as type blocks on the ice cream globe.

Clicking the "Features" button leads the visitor to recent articles about Thermo King and its customers. The "About Us" button leads to a page of links including Thermo King's Year-2000 statement, locations of its plants and container parts depots, and a corporate history which makes use of the company's print brochure.

The "Products" button takes visitors to a page that leads to detailed product specifications. A visitor must select a product type and the area where the product will be used such as single compartment trailer applications in North America. Once that selection is made, the visitor is given a list of available products. These links can be followed to detailed specifications for each product.

The "Career Opportunities" button leads to Thermo King's and Ingersoll-Rand's university campus recruiting schedule listed by institution.

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