When roofing contractors branch out each day to their respective jobsites, it’s a safe bet some of them are driving flatbeds, panel vans, and conveyor trucks, some with truck-mounted cranes or truck-mounted booms.

Dodge is led by three powerful, capable and durable work trucks, including the 2008 Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs.


When roofing contractors branch out each day to their respective jobsites, it’s a safe bet some of them are driving flatbeds, panel vans, and conveyor trucks, some with truck-mounted cranes or truck-mounted booms.

And whether it’s a large commercial contractor, a nationwide distributor that operates a fleet of more than 4,500 vehicles, or a two-man work crew, those in the roofing industry have one thing in common - they all have to get to the jobsite.

Here’s a look at what some of the major vehicle manufacturers and dealers are offering contractors this year.

Dodge has a new line of trucks in 2008, including Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs.

Dodge

Maintaining its commercial vehicle onslaught while conquering new territory and setting new commercial standards, Dodge’s goal is to continue to extend its bold, Ram-tough heritage into the commercial vehicle market.

Led by three powerful, capable and durable work trucks, the 2008 Dodge Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs, which will compete in the Class 3-5 medium-duty segments, the brand’s commercial program is anchored by the 2008 Dodge Sprinter, the market’s top-performing full-size van, and the all-new 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan cargo van.

“The commercial vehicle market is white space for the Dodge brand,” said Mike Accavitti, Director of Dodge Brand SRT Marketing and Communications, Chrysler LLC. “We continue to fill this space with bold, powerful and capable commercial-grade vehicles.”

According to Accavitti, the overall commercial vehicle market is defined as all vehicles sold to businesses, organizations and individuals who use their vehicle primarily for business purposes.Two subsets further define the market: dealer commercial sales of one to 49 units and fleet sales of 50 or more vehicles.

In 2006, overall commercial vehicle sales increased 30 percent. Of the16.2 million vehicles sold in 2006, 5.3 million (33 percent) were commercial vehicles. Within the dealer commercial subset, three million new vehicles were purchased, with 18 percent comprising commercial vehicle sales. Dealer commercial sales also account for 34 percent of all pickup and chassis sales and represent 78 percent of full-size van sales.

“Dealer commercial sales represent a critical segment in our industry given that nearly one out of every five new vehicles sold in the U.S. is a commercial vehicle,” Accavitti said.

In the marketplace less than a year, the Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab bolted to the forefront and captured the No. 1 ranking in U.S. retail registrations and market share from the perennial leader, the Ford F-350, in the Class 3 conventional chassis cab market. In addition, in April of 2007, the Dodge Ram 3500 Chassis Cab’s sales and market share surpassed the Chevy Silverado Chassis Cab, the perennial runner-up to the Ford big rig.

With the introduction of the all-new 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs earlier this year, Dodge’s Ram-tough heritage and legacy extends to the Class 5 medium-duty segment.

Designed to deliver maximum up-time while showcasing dominant commercial capability, durability and dependability, the 2008 Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs were formulated to be “the ultimate chassis cabs for commercial customers looking for dynamic, capable work trucks.”

“With the addition of these two all-new work trucks, Dodge offers a full line of Class 2-5 commercial trucks,” said Accavitti. “This solidifies our commercial strategy while offering our customers one-stop shopping for both their passenger vehicle and commercial transport needs.”

The Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs compete in the Class 4 and 5 segments with a gross vehicle weight range of 14,000 to 19,500 pounds. Targeted at small-business tradesmen, fleet customers and traditional chassis cab users, the new Dodge Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs round out Dodge’s commercial vehicle lineup.

The Ford F-150 Midbox is a professional mobile storage solution that will be new on the market in 2008. The F-150 Midbox is available on both the regular and super cab models.

Ford

The Ford F-150 Midbox is a professional mobile storage solution that will be new on the market in 2008. The F-150 Midbox is available on both the regular and super cab models, and Rick Pogue of Arrowhead Building Supply in St. Louis agreed it should be a good seller for contractors.

“The Ford Midbox is a cool concept,” Pogue said. “I have seen this product and it told me that someone is really thinking about what people want. Everything we design and build must add value for the user or it’s not worth anything to them.”

At Battlefield Ford in Virginia, they offer American Roll-Off ARS Series trucks to roofing contractors, many of which may be driving a lift-bed/scissor truck used for removal of debris and delivery of materials to the roof.

Carl Accorda, assistant commercial sales manager at Battlefield Ford, said they offer custom products built to suit contractors’ fleet needs. “We can build a frame to suit your needs,” Accorda said. “We can build any hoist length, cylinder configuration, or make a special frame for an existing chassis all at a competitive price.”

Accorda said removable and replaceable cylinder pins versus the competition’s permanently welded-in-place pins constitute another feature Battlefield Ford is known for. “Our hinge is welded directly to your chassis, giving your frame added strength,” he said.

Isuzu

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America Inc. announced the availability of its 2008 F-Series lineup of Class 6, 7 and 8 low cab-forward trucks that feature increased horsepower and a variety of wheelbases to meet a larger range of medium-duty applications.

The F-Series is offered in three models: FVR single-axle trucks have a 25,950-pound gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR); FTR single-axle trucks have a 25,950-pound GVWR; and FXR models are available as single-axle trucks with a 33,000-pound GVWR or as tandem-axle units with a 56,000-pound GVWR.

Meanwhile, the Isuzu 6H diesel engine in the FTR and FVR has been increased from 210 horsepower to 215 horsepower with 560 foot-pounds per foot of torque. And the FXR diesel engine has been increased from 250 horsepower to 260 horsepower for the single-axle version and from 275 horsepower to 300 horsepower for the tandem-axle model.

F-Series wheelbases are now available from 152 inches to 260 inches to accommodate 16-foot to 32-foot bodies. Previous wheelbases ranged from 170 inches to 236 inches. Also, Allison 2550 six-speed automatic transmissions are standard on the FTR and FVR models. Allison 3000 and 3500 six-speed transmissions are standard on the FXR single-axle and tandem-axle models, respectively.

Freightliner

Freightliner Trucks announced that the Business Class® M2™ Body Builder Resource CD is now available for download on www.M2bodybuilder.com.

Body builders, upfitters and dealers can now visit the site to download pertinent chassis and electrical information they need to work on the Business Class M2 family of trucks.

Chassis and electrical information for the M2 106, 106V, 112 and 112V will now be updated on an ongoing basis and be available online. The Business Class M2 is Freightliner Trucks’ medium-duty vocational truck, with some applications reaching into the heavy-duty segments as well. The M2 106 serves vocations such as distribution and services, utility, refuse and emergency vehicles. The M2 112 is ideal for heavier applications, such as construction, agriculture, lumber and snow plowing.

Peterbilt

For the second consecutive year, J.D. Power and Associates’ 2007 Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study ranked Peterbilt highest in conventional cab medium-duty customer satisfaction, while Chevrolet topped medium-duty truck dealer service satisfaction.

Four factors determined the overall satisfaction ranking for the conventional truck award. They are, in order of importance, vehicle performance, quality, warranty, and cost of ownership. Peterbilt scored highest, followed by Kenworth, GMC Truck, Hino, Freightliner, and Chevrolet.

Overall satisfaction for the dealer service segment is determined through six factors: dealer facility, service quality, service delivery, service initiation, service advisor, and price. Peterbilt, GMC Truck, Hino, and Kenworth followed Chevrolet in the rankings.

The study, now in its 15th year, measured customer perceptions of 2005 model-year Class 5, 6, and 7 commercial vehicles, and was determined from responses of more than 1,541 primary maintainers.