Vehicle upfitting services customize standard commercial vehicles for public safety, emergency response, and specialized transportation applications. They fulfill second unit requirements for fleet managers who purchase cars, trucks, motorcycles and vans as road-ready or incomplete vehicles. According to the National Truck Equipment Association (NTEA), chassis manufacturers certify most Class 1 and Class 2 vehicles as complete. These light-duty vans and trucks comply with all applicable Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), but may still require application-specific upfitting. Most Class 3 through Class 8 vehicles are incomplete and require additional manufacturing before they can be placed into service. Typically, a second unit or body installer performs final-stage manufacturing tasks. These vehicle upfitting services adhere to requirements from the chassis manufacturer and are responsible for vehicle certification.
Vehicle upfitting services offer many different types of second-unit bodies and interior or exterior components. In general, standard equipment packages are less expensive than customized solutions. Some vehicle upfitting services install toolboxes, light bars, sirens, generators, shelving, ladder racks, or aerial lifts. Others install portable or mobile two-way radios, pagers, repeaters, satellite phones, global positioning systems (GPS), tracking devices, laptop computers, or video surveillance systems. When selecting products from vehicle upfitting services, fleet managers need to consider factors such as minimum and maximum vehicle dimensions, payload requirements, total weight limits, material loading and handling requirements, and tool and equipment storage. Body door locations and opening widths are also important considerations.
Vehicle upfitting services conform to quality standards from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and original equipment manufacturers (SAE). QS-9000 is a quality standard for suppliers of DaimlerChrysler Corporation, Ford Motor Company, and General Motors Corporation. QS-9000 is based on the 1994 edition of ISO 9001, but contains additional requirements that are particular to the automotive industry. Specifically, QS-9000 applies to suppliers of production materials, production and service parts, heat treating, painting and plating and other finishing services.