California Arm of Italian Alternative Fuels Colossus
Is Now Drawing More Heavily on Parent’s Capabilities,
Will Being New Equipment to U.S., May Enter Propane
Watch for Landi Renzo USA to ratchet up its alternative fuel vehicles business, broadening strategic relationships with OEMs à la its parent in Italy, bringing proprietary Landi componentry to the U.S. marketplace, and maybe even entering propane autogas – parent Landi Renzo SpA has upwards of 30% of the global gaseous fuel vehicles market, including propane autogas vehicles.
Landi Renzo SpA does business in more than 50 countries, and supplies dozens of OEMs in Europe, China, India, South America and the United States (where a key customer is FCCC/Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp) to the tune of approximately a million vehicles a year.
The company opened a $50 million, 167,000-square-foot R&D center in its headquarters town of Reggio Emilia in northern Italy in September 2014. Beyond gaseous fuels, it is looking ahead to electrified vehicles: Landi Renzo has been investigating hybrid-electric drivelines since at least 2010.
‘The Italian Connection’
“How do we tie into the mothership a little more?” asks Paul Shaffer, who signed on executive VP for business development with Landi Renzo USA earlier this year. Reflecting on “the Italian connection,” he told F&F that the new corporate CEO, Cristiano Musi, has personally visited the subsidiary’s headquarters operation in Torrance, Calif. with a view to answering that question.
Moving beyond installation to tighter ties with U.S. OEMs – and major fleet customers – is one answer. Landi Renzo USA already supplies equipment for FCCC’s compressed natural gas-fueled MT-45 chassis for delivery trucks: “We’ve been the system supplier to UPS for a number of years,” Shaffer says.
Another prospect is increased use of such Landi Renzo-manufactured equipment as regulators and ECUs in the U.S. – and development of such equipment under the “Powering Eco-Ready Fleets” brand by the two corporate units.
That’s the strategy.
Tactically, Landi Renzo USA is streamlining its order process and generally boosting its support for natural gas vehicle operators. The company claimed the industry’s first ship-thru availability for the Ford F-150 for 2018 earlier this year (F&F, April 19), noting that the trucks will be available with such options as multiple CNG tank configurations. (Landi Renzo USA is a Ford QVM/qualified vehicle modifier.)
Ford F-150 PFDI Certification Pending
Landi more recently advised U.S. customers that while the order bank for CNG-fueled 2017 F-150s closed in May, the 2018 bank is now open, and that it’s working to certify a system that’s compliant with Ford’s new PFDI/port fuel-direct injection design for the truck’s popular 5.0-liter engine.
For the 2017 Ford F-250/350 with 6.2-liter engine and F-450/550 with 6.8-liter engine, orders will be taken until September 1 (customers, however, are urged to place their orders “asap”). For the 2018 version of the heavier Ford trucks, the order bank opens September 13, with the first job run slated for November 20 (October 2 for the F-650/750).
Three Years, 50,000 Miles
The company also this year announced a new, “industry-leading” warranty for all of its 2018 Fords: three years/50,000 miles. And, with the enhanced ship-thru process, the company says, “There are no hidden fees, dealer invoice charges, or extra transportation charges because your vehicles stay within the Ford distribution system from manufacturing to system installation and final delivery.”
Further emphasizing the practical, Landi Renzo USA has reminded customers that crash-testing is indeed required for certifying CNG vehicles, and that, “after two-day’s of frontal barrier, lateral moving barrier and rear moving barrier impact testing,” the company has completed testing of the F-250/350 CNG fuel system, making it fully compliant with federal FMVSS-303 requirements.
Safety, Safety, Safety
“Safety isn’t an area we play around with and neither should you,” the company says. “Whether you are responsible for selling CNG vehicles to end users or you’re the fleet manager specifying trucks, there is too much liability, and potentially lives, at stake to not buy CNG vehicles that are compliant with federal law.”
Landi notes that federal regulations (FMVSS-404) require CNG fuel cylinders to be inspected every three years or 36,000 miles, and that company technicians can perform and document visual and related tests at its own or customer facilities.
Including its headquarters in Torrance, Calif. and a technical center in Michigan, Landi Renzo USA has more than a dozen installation centers nationwide and ship-thru points at Ford plants in Indiana, Missouri and Ohio.
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Source: Fleets & Fuels interview and follow-up