It is profane, to describe the mission of utility vehicles as being, to transport burdens and that, as cheaply as possible. The enormous pressure of commercial efficiency is often overlooked in view of their size and the perfect exterior finish which they present. In general, the weight-limit of 3,5 tons (actually the overall weight, defines the utility vehicle. This means, in the most unfavourable case, a pay-load of only 1 ton, which is achieved by the smallest class of light-delivery-vehicles (LDV's).
It's difficult to describe the definition 'distribitor-traffic', because sometimes LDV's transport goods from the manufacturer to the final customer throughout Germany, and even further. If we look at the definition liberally, the trucks, without trailer, whose limit of 7,5 tons, which are no longer as common as the LDV, belong in this classification. Relatively seldom these are also found with a light trailer.
Perhaps the distributor traffic is limited to those vehicles which don't have a sleeping cabin and remain over-night in the vehicle park of the operator. This is much more seldom in the case of the long-distance haulage of up to 40 tons (44 tons in the case of containers). The semi-trailers are very much in the majority here, because of their uninterrupted, flat loading surface and their one-man maneuverability. Indeed the possible pay load is not always fully exploited. Here, quite often volume is required.
If goods arrive, e.g., from the Far East by ship in containers, they are accordingly forwarded either by rail or by truck, sometimes even in self-sufficient systems with air-conditioning powered by an extra combustion engine. The combination of road and rail, of course for the entire truck/trailer unit, is also possible, e.g., when Alpine tunnels are used to protect the environment. What's left now, are the construction-site vehicles, which apart from the engine and chassis, because of their varied superstructures, have little in common with the vehicles mentioned above.
As already mentioned, the two u-shaped frame rails with lower stability towards the ends, and which are joined to each other at suitable places either by rivets or welds, can be found in almost all heavy utility vehicles. However, alone their height varies greatly, which strongly influences their articulation of the axles. The earlier, common leaf-springing has given way to arms and air suspension anyway. Recently, following the buses, also the trucks no longer avoid independent suspension.
Nonetheless, one can still describe the suspension and chassis as being universal. The monocoque body, as in the motor car and often also the LDV, is not used, because of the multiple superstructure variations. These, as tippers and container carriers quite often double the stability, indeed, they also cause the undesirable lowering of the possible pay-load. This, by the way, can be seen in all utility vehicles which carry some sort of auxilliary equipment, e.g., cranes or integrated forklifts to be used for loading or unloading. 05/12