Walk-in vans, also known as stepvans are vans that provide the driver of the vehicle access to the cargo area through a sliding door. This allows the driver to stand up and go directly from the driver's seat to the cargo area without going outside to open a roll-up door or cargo doors. That also saves the driver from having to check traffic to open their door. In doing so time is not wasted going in and out of the truck. Once the package is in hand the driver can then come back through the cab area, step out of the truck on the curb side and not into traffic to quickly and safely deliver the package. Time is almost cut in half making a walk-in van type vehicle ideal for package delivery services. Vehicles can be customized by the manufacturer or one who purchases the truck for a variety of applications. See our customer step van page for the many conversion done in the past.
Union City Body Company, Grumman Olson, and Utilimaster were some of the most popular names for walk-in van type vehicles in the 1970's and '80's. Today only Utilimaster holds their original name.
Morgan Olson, now owned by J.B. Poindexter & Co., Inc, previously Grumman Olson, began their idea of a lighter aluminum truck because of demand in the market from laundry companies in Brooklyn, NY. As of yet there were only steel bodied trucks that just weighed too much. The first truck was called a Kurbside and as the years progressed other models like the Kabmaster and Kurbmaster were introduced. Today, Morgan Olson provides the comfortable Morgan Olson Route Star walk-in van type vehicle. Chassis types for the walk-in van include Freightliner MT45 or MT55, Ford E-350 and E-450 Series, and Ford F59. Multiple options are available to customize your van for your specific needs. From seating to shelving to safety to multiple style bumper choices, Morgan Olson has the most options available for you to choose from. Morgan Olson also is the only manufacturer that advertises that it will refurbish your old walk-in van and make it like new again. Their newly updated website clearly illustrates who they are and what they can do for you.
Union City Body Co
Union City Body Co., probably being one of the oldest companies with an original start date of 1898, introduced their own line of walk-in vans in 1950. They were manufactured by Utility Truck Distributors Inc. as a division of Union City Body Co. (UCBC). In 1957 UCBC discontinued offering their step van body to Ford and Dodge and signed an exclusive agreement with Chevrolet and GMC Truck and Coach division. During the 1970s and 80s they began providing vans to large fleets such as UPS and with revised bodyworks their bodies could be placed on International, Freightliner and Navistar chassis in addition to GM. By 1997 they realized that it was inefficient to have one company make the body and another to make the chassis so they convinced GM to sell them their Commercial and Motorhome Chassis Division. The chassis division became Workhorse Custom Chassis.
UCBC built four delivery truck models with 64 different sizes and a medium duty van in 14 sizes. Some of their larger customers included UPS, Fedex, Aramark, USPS, Airborne and Frito Lay. UCBC estimates they built 500,000 aluminum walk-in van type vehicles since 1950. The name Stepvan came from UCBC as one of their trucks was called Stepvan. Just like everyone calls a tissue a kleenex, (Kleenex is a brand name) and hook and loop tape velcro, (Velcro is a brand name) the walk-in van is called a Stepvan. UCBC came up with a good name and it stuck.
In 2005 UCBC was sold to Utilimaster Corporation and its Workhorse Custom Chassis division to International Truck and Engine Corporation, a division of Navistar. Today Utilimaster is the OEM supplier of Utilimaster and Union City Body parts.
Utilimaster was established in 1973 and was one of UCBC's chief competitors. Utilimaster manufactures commercial vehicles which include; walk-in vans for package delivery, bakeries, uniform and miscellaneous utility fleets. Customers included Fedex, USPS, UPS, Airborne, Purolator, Penske, Ryder, Cintas and many other well known companies. Utilimaster became a commercial delivery leader by the late 1970's and the number one user of the Ford Chassis. Later other chassis suppliers include Freightliner, Ford, Workhorse and Isuzu. In 2009 Spartan Motors, Inc. acquired Utilimaster from John Hancock Life Insurance Company.
Utilimaster's latest innovation for the walkin van industry is the Reach van. This van comes on an Isuzu chassis with a 3.0L diesel engine. The van is also more aerodynamic than most other walkin vans and has a variety of other "green" features not found in other walkin vans. The new Utilimaster Reach van is trying to revolutionize the industry with its added safety, green, and performance features.