A new market | TSLN.com

A new market

Shaley Lensegrav
for Tri-State Livestock News

Located in Belgrade, Montana, Acela Truck Company produces heavy duty quality trucks that provide accessibility to job sites that are virtually impossible to reach with other trucks currently on the market.

The company is now entering the agriculture industry through partnering with other implement dealers to offer a multi-use truck line.

Acela takes surplus military vehicles from the department of defense, rebuilds them, and sells them into commercial markets that have challenges with access to difficult locations.

Their products include the high end 4×4 or 6×6 Monterra trucks which are fully rebuilt from the frame up and Family of Medium Tactile Vehicles, or FMTV trucks that are thoroughly inspected and reconditioned with over 50 new parts.

“Agriculture can be a huge market for us. We’re trying to enter the market with an open mind that we can solve a lot of problems in the agriculture world.” Ross Feenstra, Acela Truck Company

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Both the Monterra and FMTV reconditioned trucks are the same vehicle with a few differences.

The Monterra, starting around $95,000, is stripped down to the frame, rebuilt with over 650 parts, and offers a one-year bumper to bumper warranty.

FMTV reconditioned trucks, starting at $30,000, are mechanically inspected and improved by over 50 replacement parts. The FMTVs do not offer a warranty or a civilianized cab.

Initially, Acela's primary customers used the trucks for mining, mountain utility projects, plowing, and other jobs with access issues; however, the company is now debuting a line of trucks to the farming and ranching industries.

"Agriculture can be a huge market for us," says Ross Feenstra of Acela. "We're trying to enter the market with an open mind that we can solve a lot of problems in the agriculture world."

The high mobility trucks from the Acela thrive in any conditions. They tackle rocky, sandy, or snowy terrain with ease, can ford up to 50 inches of water, and can reach up to 74 miles per hour on the highway.

Unlike the average pick-up, Acela's trucks can haul three round bales in three feet of snow which saves ranchers time and hassle. "We eliminate the plowing process," explains Acela Truck Company President David Ronsen.

One unique feature that helps the trucks through rough terrain is the central tire inflation system.

With the push of the button you can adjust the tire pressure to four different preset psi settings. These preset modes include Highway, Cross-Country, Sand/Mud/Snow, and Emergency.

In one test drive, the company had a truck going through four and a half feet of snow and initiated the "Emergency" mode. This setting reduces the tires down to 17 pounds per square inch which maximizes the surface area and causes the tires to mimic a track vehicle.

To further their relationship with the agriculture community, Acela Truck Company will be at the Montana AgriTrade Exhibition held at the ExpoCenter and Montana Pavilion in Billings, Montana, Feb. 15-17.

Acela Truck Company and their sister company, FMTV Truck Sales, have recently partnered with C5 Manufacturing who produce Chisholm Trail Bale Beds. Both companies are excited to bring superior quality to the agricultural market through the pairing of these two products.

In addition, Acela is looking to partner with other agricultural dealers that specialize in implements or other pre-integrated products that would assist farmers and ranchers with their operations.

Versatility is a major quality of Acela's products. This allows consumers to change the truck's purpose seasonally, weekly, or daily. In winter the truck can be used for plowing and feeding in snowy conditions, and then in the summer firefighting systems can be attached to the same vehicle.

Ronsen, who has been involved in second stage manufacturing businesses since 1994, says that he has had the most fun developing this product. "We continue to astonish ourselves in the capabilities of the truck—they're a lot of fun!" He says.

When the company first started test driving the trucks Ronsen said "I've got a $100 dollar bill in my pocket for anyone who can break it." That bill remains in his pocket today.

Company employees can take the trucks home on weekends to test drive them, and under supervision, numerous children of the employees have also driven the trucks. Acela's trucks are easy to operate, but heavy duty and capable to handle any job.

Ronsen stresses that once you see the trucks they sell themselves.

Although the trucks can more than handle highway speeds, Ronsen explains that it is hard to get very far because "you end up spending 20-30 minutes at a gas station because people are curious and want to ask questions about the truck."

While the company is experiencing great success, they have also had to overcome challenges.

Because they are using military trucks, they must meet specifications set by the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) and undergo federal agency background checks. Along with that, the cabs on some trucks are no longer manufactured, which requires Acela to fabricate products to complete the rebuilding process.

Looking into the future, Acela has plans to enter additional markets.

Currently they are working with several industries and plan to launch a fire truck program soon. Later in the spring, they are also looking to expand into the expedition vehicle market.

Today there are about four major truck manufactures that produce 90 percent of trucks available on the market. These large companies don't want to produce a truck that they can't sell millions of, which has left a deficiency in available vehicles.

Acela aims to remedy that through offering the best extreme-duty high-mobility truck in America.

Ronsen explains, "What we sell is access—you can't put a dollar value on that."

For more information about Acela Truck Company call 406-924-3535 or visit their website at http://www.acelatruck.com and http://www.fmtvtrucks.com