Businesses have long struggled to convince buyers to buy an Enterprise truck or a new model of SUV.
But a growing number of manufacturers are starting to capitalize on this changing landscape to tap into the growing appetite for high-tech goods and services.
Enterprise trucks, or EVTs, are an emerging category that offers some of the best-performing vehicles on the market, and the best return on investment for consumers.
The EVT market is growing rapidly, and many of the companies producing them have already invested millions of dollars into developing their products.
For some companies, this trend is a good sign.
For others, it’s not so clear.
We asked two leading manufacturers of EVTs to explore how the EVT revolution is playing out and to share their best practices for making the perfect EVT.
The companies’ executives were asked to share the key lessons they’ve learned during their efforts to make a lasting impact on the EVTs’ future.
“You know how the internet revolution was like when the internet first went live?
There were no servers, no email, no video,” said Kevin Dolan, executive vice president of the truck manufacturer Kia Motors North America.
“But we still had to build infrastructure to keep the internet alive.
We needed to build a network of servers to serve all those people, and those servers were expensive to maintain.
So, in the years that followed, we built the infrastructure.
We were still building the network.
But now we have this really powerful, scalable network.
Now the people in charge of our network have been building the infrastructure that enables people to make their own vehicles.”
To make an EVT, Kia and several of its competitors first develop a new vehicle from the ground up.
These companies then begin to assemble and test their vehicles and assemble them in a production facility.
These are often very labor-intensive processes, and Kia, for example, says it typically takes about three months to complete a single EVT vehicle.
“Then, they have to make sure that the vehicle is safe, and then they have that truck delivered to us,” said Dolan.
“That truck takes a while to make.
And it’s usually expensive.
So then they get the trucks ready to be tested in the factory, and you know, you know how this works?
You get a truck and it’s tested.
And the truck gets ready to go on the road.
But then the next thing is to make it go to a customer.
So that customer gets the truck, and it gets ready for them.
And then the customer drives it, and that customer drives the truck home.
It’s a process that takes time.
“The more vehicles that we make, the longer it takes,” said Matt Koehler, vice president for product management at Kia.
“It takes time for us to get to that point where we can deliver a truck.
And that takes some time, because it’s a huge undertaking.”
The next stage is the assembly.
Kia has to make certain that the EVTS is manufactured in a way that ensures that it meets stringent safety standards.
That process can take a year, depending on the type of vehicle, and typically takes weeks, depending upon the company.
After that, Koehlers said, the company can start shipping the EVts.
“At that point, the trucks have to be inspected, they’ve got to be built, and they’ve had a lot of customer service,” he said.
“So the customer gets their vehicle, they take it to a dealer, they get it into service.
And they have their money back.
And I think that’s the point at which it’s like the Internet, and people go on and buy their car.”
Kia’s EVT production process isn’t new.
In fact, it is the subject of several recent articles in The New York Times.
But the company says it has been working to increase production efficiency and improve customer service, and now has an automated assembly system that can be controlled from the company’s headquarters in Detroit.
It also has automated production of its truck chassis, which it says saves $100 million per year in parts and labor costs.
“It’s been a very productive process for us,” Koehlers said.
Koehnels said the company also has a number of customers that use its vehicles to help make their homes and businesses more energy efficient, which he said has been a boon to Kia’s bottom line.
“I think it’s been great for us, and I think it would be good for our customers, too,” he added.
“Because we’re able to be competitive at the low end of the marketplace.
We’re competitive at $30,000 for a vehicle.
And so it’s great for them to have that option.”
For Kia executives, one of the key benefits of automating its assembly is that it eliminates some of K