Two Indiana vehicle manufacturers were awarded contracts from the U.S. Postal Service to build prototypes for the next generation of postal vehicles.

The South Bend Tribune reported that Bristol-based Utilimaster, a subsidiary of Spartan Motors Inc., and South Bend-based AM General and  were among six companies chosen for the USPS Next Generation Delivery Vehicle Prototype awards.

Vehicle design plans submitted by the companies were chosen by the Postal Service, which collectively awarded $37.4 million for the contracts. The move comes as the Postal Service plans to replace its aging fleet with advanced vehicles that provide better fuel efficiency and zero-emission capability.

 AM General was awarded $8.75 million and Utilimaster received $3.67 million, according to the Postal Service.

The companies will be given a year to design and build the prototypes, which will have a variety of sizes and drive configurations. A total of 50 will be developed. The Postal Service will then test the vehicles over a six-month period before awarding replacement contracts.

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