Autocar Terminal Tractor — A Good Move

Autocar Terminal Tractor @ PepsiCo Pennshauken

“It was our busy season so we had to do something pretty quickly. We had one terminal tractor that already had some issues. Our backup was not worth fixing, so we decided to rent an Autocar terminal tractor through Johnson Truck Center,” said John Tate, day lead manager, Pepsi-Cola Company.

Johnson Truck Center began selling the line a few years ago. To increase sales, Rick Roger, president of Johnson Truck Center, decided to offer a rental program. Roger has a lot of confidence in the terminal tractor’s features, including better visibility and turning radius, increased driver comfort, and a solid Cummins engine with Allison transmission.

“We wanted to increase sales growth on a really good product. So, we began offering a rent-to-own program with maintenance included,” Roger said. “Customers who choose to buy the product can get some of their rental payments applied to the purchase cost.”

The rental program provides a scheduled and unscheduled maintenance benefit, which can be performed by Johnson & Towers, or at any of Indel Power Group’s service locations throughout New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia.

After talking with Roger, this was an opportunity for Tate to try the terminal tractor without fully committing, and they could receive it right away, solving their immediate problem.

After their rental period, Tate decided to purchase the terminal tractor, which was the first Autocar purchase for Pepsi.

Tony Williams, parts, service, and sales manager for Johnson & Towers in Mt. Laurel, commented that Pepsi has been enjoying the tractor and it’s been performing well, seeing a lot of daily use, and only needing regular maintenance. “In the beginning, I was able to plant the seed about what we do, letting them know Johnson & Towers has yard trucks if they wanted to try a new one,” he said.

Williams coordinated the delivery bringing the terminal tractor from Baltimore to Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, for prep, and then on to Pepsi in Pennsauken, New Jersey.

“We had no problem getting the tractor. It operates a lot better than previous terminal tractors we’ve had,” Tate said. “We use it every single day, all day, to move trailers, loaded and unloaded, around the yard and have only had regular maintenance.”

Tate cites the terminal tractor mechanics, such as the turning ratio, combined with the power of the Cummins engine and quality of the Allison transmission, as what he likes most about the product.

Marty Watley, terminal tractor driver/operator for Pepsi, says that he enjoys the overall visibility from inside the tractor. The placement of the windows provide a clear view to see other trailers and what’s going on in the yard. Getting in and out of the cab is easier. The driver has larger foot grips and sits higher in the seat.

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Indel Power Group, LLC was founded in 2019 as a holding company for Johnson & Towers, Western Branch Diesel, Johnson Truck Center, Dovell & Williams, Diesel Outboard Solutions, and Curtis Power Solutions.

Indel Power Group companies operate out of 20+ locations throughout New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Ohio, and Kentucky. These locations supply sales and service for engines, powertrains, and related components to the on-highway, power-generation, oil/gas, construction & industrial, mining & quarry, and marine markets. The company’s 550 team members include over 220 highly trained service technicians.