Imagine if a company offered to sell you a new car without seatbelts. Whether you wear seatbelts or not, you know why they are required: to stop you from flying through the windshield in an accident. You also know that cars and trucks without them aren’t allowed on the road. You’d probably think the company was some sort of fly-by-night scam operation that was going to be shut down before they could even deliver your vehicle.
And yet, companies are selling vehicles with a similarly fatal flaw. The Tennessee-based manufacturer Fitzgerald Glider Kits, for instance, is in the business of buying up wrecked or otherwise not roadworthy old 18-wheelers, rebuilding the outdated engines and other drive train components, and then installing them in brand new vehicle bodies, or “gliders,” as vehicles without powertrains are called. Fitzgerald and other smaller manufacturers like Phoenix Inc. in Indiana and Harrison Truck Centers of Iowa have already ramped up from 1,000 to 10,000 kits a year since 2010 and are likely to grow.
Fitzgerald’s business model is primarily designed to circumvent Environmental Protection Agency regulations on diesel emissions.
Read more in my Fortune Blog