To be sure, no one is expecting new trucks to roll into fleets over the next year like pancakes flying off the griddle at a 24-hour truck stop. Not with truck sales projected to remain seriously soft for the rest of this year and well into next — thanks to drop-offs in freight volumes of more than 10% and the high purchase price of EPA 2010-compliant diesel engines. Last month, a new ACT Research Co. forecast predicted 2009 Class 8 retail truck sales will run 43% below 2008 levels, only recovering about half of that decline in 2010, and Class 5-7 retail sales will dip 26% for 2009, growing only 11% next year.
By sheer necessity, trucking is in hunker-down mode. Truck makers have, of course, also been hard-hit by the same economic tsunami as fleets. But by and large — with two notable exceptions — they all are continuing to roll out new truck models and various other product developments, albeit not at the dizzying pace of the boom years before the bust.
Two marques are now absent from the ranks. General Motors, fighting for its very life, stated last month it had “decided to wind down its medium-duty truck operations. Production of the Chevy Kodiak and GMC TopKick medium-duty trucks will cease by July 31, 2009.” And back in October, Daimler AG announced the close of its Sterling Trucks operation, declaring the medium/heavy truck OEM had “never met expectations.” Sterling was established in 1998 out of the truck operations Daimler purchased the year before from Ford.
Despite its ongoing bankruptcy reorganization efforts, Chrysler is moving forward with updates to its Ram line of trucks. The 2010 heavy-duty Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 models still carry the same standard engine as the 2009 models — a 5.7-L Hemi V8 with 383 hp and 400 lb-ft of torque — in addition to an optional 6.7-L Cummins turbodiesel engine cranking out 350 hp and 650 lb-ft of torque. The big change comes from a new adjusted suspension, a design enhancement aimed at improving the driving quality of these models.
Although there are similar designs borrowed from the light-duty Dodge Ram 1500 models, the heavier versions carry a front bumper that is exclusive to the 2500 and 3500 models. The larger models also feature new wheel fenders with advanced aerodynamic qualities.
As for the interior modifications, a new option is a 2-compartment console big enough to support a laptop and several piles of paperwork. Towing capability is supported by a new “Electronic Range Select” application that allows the driver to limit the highest gear manual and permit manual upshifts and downshifts, depending on the engine's speed and road's feel. Restructured trailer-tow mirrors now come with bigger convex glass, puddle lamps, and memory functions, Dodge said. The heavy-duty models are expected to enter the market this coming fall and should carry a base price of $30,000.
At the moment, the Dodge Sprinter van — built for Dodge by Daimler AG in one of two factories in Germany, disassembled, and then reassembled in a factory in South Carolina — seems to have a future as the new Chrysler-Fiat corporate structure takes shape in the United States. Sold alongside Dodge's medium-duty conventional trucks, the Sprinter won't see any changes for its 2010 model year after a big overhaul two years ago.
Measuring wider, higher, and longer than 2008 and older models, the 2010 Sprinter should continue to feature a V6 diesel as well as an optional V6 gasoline engine, along with higher maximum gross weight ratings and a range of active safety systems added as standard equipment. The Sprinter remains available in three lengths (233 in., 273 in., and 289 in.) and two wheelbases (144 in. and 170 in.) plus three roof heights, including an 84-in.-high “mega” option.
Maximum cargo capacity for the Sprinter tops out at 600 cu ft and GVW ratings are offered up to 11,030 lb for both van and cab-chassis versions.
The truck's 3-L V6 turbodiesel produces 154 hp and peak torque of 280 lb-ft and is fitted with a diesel particulate filter. The gasoline engine option is a 3.5-L V6 rated at 254 hp and 250 lb-ft peak torque. Both engines are mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission.
Other features include 16-in. wheels, high-density halogen headlamps with cornering lights, park assist that incorporates front and rear bumper sensors, power windows and mirrors, and automatic rain and light sensors to control the windshield wipers and headlights.
The big news from Ford on the light-duty side of the ledger for 2010 includes updates to the venerable F-150 pickup truck line alongside full production of its new cargo van, the Transit Connect. The Ford F-150 comes equipped with a 5.4-L, 3-valve engine, rated at up to 320 hp and 390 lb-ft of torque and mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission. It features settings of 432, all wheel drive and 434 high. A high-strength, lighter weight chassis delivers more horsepower, fuel economy, towing, and payload capacity than previously. The unique Harley-Davidson edition F-150 crew cab model sports a distinct front fascia, grille, and 22-in. forged aluminum wheels.
The design of the Transit Connect cargo van was imported from its European operations and retooled for the U.S. market; it goes on sale this summer priced at $21,475, including destination charges. Powered by a Duratec 2L dual overhead cam (DOHC) I-4 engine with fuel economy rated at 22 city/25 highway mpg, the Transit Connect offers 135.3 cu ft of cargo space, a payload capacity of up to 1,600 lb, and a 4-speed transmission. It comes equipped with split rear cargo doors that open at a standard 180°, or an optional 255° door setup. The cargo area opens up to a maximum of 59.1 in. of floor to ceiling height, with load width of 48.1 in., between the wheel arches and load length of 72.6 in. — or more than 6 ft of cargo floor space. A battery-powered version of the Transit Connect, built in partnership with Smith Electric Vehicles, a part of the U.K.-based Tanfield Group of companies, will be rolled out in late 2010 as well.
Only minor changes are in the works for General Motors' Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, as well as for its Chevrolet Savana and GMC Express commercial vans. On the van side of GM's fleet ledger, the Savana and Express 2500 and 3500 models receive Hydra-Matic 6L90, 6-speed automatic transmissions and revised rear axles to help improve low-rpm torque, highway fuel economy, and overall drivability. Two new features for both van models are automatic grade braking and remote vehicle start with remote keyless entry — an option that includes two transmitters.
For its pickups, the Silverado and Sierra 1500 models will feature “FlexFuel” capability with 4.8-L, 5.3-L, and 6.2-L engines so they can run on E85 — a fuel comprised of 85% ethanol and 15% gasoline. Variable valve timing on the 4.8-L and 5.3-L engines improves fuel economy, while a 6-speed automatic transmission on regular and extended cab models with a 5.3-L V8 engine is a new option, along with a 3.08 axle ratio and fuel-saver mode standard. Side curtain air bags and seat-mounted side air bags are now standard on the 1500 models, with USB connectivity on all radios (except base model trim), enabling stored audio files to play through the audio system and battery charging for some handheld devices. Revised interior door trim and a rearview camera will be available on some models, with StabiliTrak electronic control system now standard on all 1500 models.
The Silverado and Sierra HD pickups now come with USB connectivity in center console, with the GMC Sierra HD getting OnStar 8.2 with long-range remote start and traffic probe. Finally, the Silverado and Sierra Hybrid pickups will now feature a 6-L V8 engine compatible with E85.
Refreshed just last year, the 2010 version of Honda's Ridgeline pickup will feature minor changes for now, including a body-style shift that grafts the nose of Honda's light-duty SUV (the Pilot) onto the Ridgeline. Still waiting in the wings are efforts to add an aluminum-block 4.3-L or 4.4-L V8 engine to the power plant offerings, along with a V6 diesel based on Honda's successful European-only, 2.2-L diesel model and a gasoline-electric hybrid version. Aerodynamic styling changes, especially a sleeker windshield and underbody structural changes, are also being discussed for future models as ways to improve the vehicle's current 15 city/20 highway mpg ratings. Those plans, however, are on hold pending improvements in the global automotive market outlook.
The 4-door, 5-passenger Ridgeline remains built on a closed-box, unit-body frame powered by a 250-hp, 3.5-L VTEC V6 engine. A 5-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission and a variable torque management 4-wheel drive system (VTM-4) are standard features, along with a fully independent suspension with MacPherson struts in the front and a multi-link suspension design in the rear that contributes to a smooth ride and responsive handling.
Standard equipment for towing includes an integrated tow hitch, transmission and oil coolers, heavy-duty brakes, dual radiator fans, and a wiring harness for a 7-pin trailer hookup (pre-wiring only on the RT model), with all models rated for a maximum tow capacity of 5,000 lb. Designed for 1,550-lb total vehicle payload, the Ridgeline also features a vehicle stability assist (VSA) system with active yaw control to monitor lateral stability by integrating traction control, 4-wheel drive, antilock braking, throttle control and stability control functions.
Standard safety equipment includes electronic brake distribution to help balance braking forces and a tire pressure monitoring system to alert the driver when air pressure reaches an unsafe level.
Also available is the Honda satellite-linked navigation system with voice activation, which includes an integrated rearview camera for backing up and parallel parking assistance. It provides on-screen directions to more than seven million destinations.
RTL models include a 115V power outlet for laptops or other electronics devices.
Anew light commercial vehicle concept introduced by Nissan earlier this year dubbed the NV2500 is supposed to be turned into a production-line-ready light truck in 2010, though the ongoing economic downturn may affect the timing of its rollout. Nissan's Titan pickup truck is feeling the impact of the downturn more deeply, as the company is due to stop building this truck in 2010; it will be replaced in 2011 with a new pickup built in partnership with Chrysler on the Dodge Ram platform. Those plans, however, may be up in the air as Chrysler remains in bankruptcy protection.
Nissan touts its NV2500 concept as a “fresh approach” to one-box utility vans and is built to highlight multipurpose utility solutions for commercial vehicle users in North America. Its 3-zone interior is constructed to offer more flexible utility and storage solutions.
Built on a modified Titan full-size pickup, all-steel, fully boxed ladder frame, engine choices would be selected for competitive power and fuel efficiency. Other under-skin components include an automatic transmission and solid rear axle.
Dimensionally, the NV2500 offers a 147.6-in. wheelbase and measures a full 19.5 ft bumper to bumper. It stands 8 ft tall and is 6.6 ft wide. Inside, from the front of the passenger compartment to the rear door, there is room to carry objects up to 10.5 ft long with the passenger seat moved out of the way. Along with wraparound-style windshield/front door windows, the NV2500 concept features lower door glass cutouts and an oversized, fixed-glass roof panel that stretches from behind the B-pillars to the rear doors, adding a visual lightness to the design and illumination to the interior.
Additional exterior features include large, retractable outside mirrors; motorized flip-down AMP Research side and rear door steps; LED headlights and taillights; and dual-purpose tow hooks located in the grille that also serve as steps for easier access to the engine compartment.
New engine and commercial work truck packages are on tap for the 2010 model Toyota Tundra pickup, along with a spate of other new standard and optional features.
The new 4.6-L, iForce V8 engine will be available on all 2010 model-year Tundras, mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and providing 310 hp, 327 lb-ft of torque, plus fuel efficiency estimates of 15 city/20 highway mpg on 432 models.
Revised work truck packages are aimed at commercial truck buyers requiring a tough, no-frills truck. These specialized pickups include vinyl seating and rubber flooring and will be available in regular and double cab configurations with a V6 or one of two V8 engines. This includes Tundra's 5.7-L V8, which cranks out 381 hp and offers towing capacity of up to 10,800 lb. Tundra models equipped with optional work truck packages will carry a price adjustment that ranges from $195 to $1,030 less than the truck's standard MSRP, depending on the model.
Prices for the 2010 Tundra will range from $22,960 for the Regular Cab 432 standard bed with a V6 engine and equipped with a work truck package to $42,155 for the CrewMax Limited 434 with a 5.7L V8 engine. The new MSRPs reflect an average overall increase of $557.
All new models also feature a redesigned front grille and taillamps, with the Tundra-grade model equipped with a new 2-bar grille design and the Limited grade decorated with a unique billet-style grille. Additional standard equipment on all Tundra models includes driver and front passenger knee airbags, height-adjustable headlamps, and a redesigned 7-pin towing hitch connector that sits above the hitch to help avoid damage during high departure angle driving. In addition, a shelf to help organize storage space has been added to the lower glove box.
Anumber of changes dot Dodge's medium-duty Ram 3500, 4500, and 5500 chassis cab truck lineup for 2010. First, an all-new crew cab increases leg room 6 in., while design and exterior styling changes include a chromed lean-forward grille, new sheet metal, bumper, mirrors, headlamps, and a taller hood for more cooling capacity.
For the 3500, a new Hemi V8 engine with variable valve timing (VVT) improves fuel economy up to 4%. For the 4500 and 5500 models, a 2010-compliant diesel engine is available equipped with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) injection, part of Cummins' selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology package for emissions control. Dodge noted the Cummins diesel engine comes with a 5-yr/100,000-mi warranty and a beefed-up alternator now cranking out 180A, up from 136A in previous models.
The Ram medium-duty truck comes with a 52-gal standard fuel tank; 390-mm front brake rotors and 66-mm calipers; standard diesel exhaust brakes; standard diesel 24,000-lb-GCWR or optional 26,000-lb-GCWR package. New comfort and convenience features include heated and ventilated seats; heated steering wheel; automatic temperature control; memory systems; express up/down windows, and automatic headlamps.
An optional integrated trailer brake controller is being offered along with four all-new upfitter switches integrated into the instrument panel, each capable of running 25A loads using 12-gauge wires (continuous) and a dedicated underhood power distribution center. A 6-speed automatic or manual transmission, both available with power take-off (PTO) capability, are being offered. Polished 19.5-in. aluminum wheels available on 4500 and 5500 models are optional.
Dodge noted its 2010 model medium-duty trucks will be offered to fleet customers only with an optional “B20” package that won't void engine warranties. The trucks are scheduled to arrive later this year.
The big news is that Ford's conventional F-Series medium-duty trucks won't undergo much change for the 2010 model year, because the company is preparing for the addition of a new diesel engine. Dubbed the “Scorpion,” the 2011 model-year engine — on a universal V8 platform that can be configured as a gasoline or diesel powerplant — effectively replaces Navistar's PowerStroke diesel used in Ford's medium-duty line for many years.
Ford also is trying to address more of the “specific needs” of its commercial customer base by adding a chassis offering to its medium-duty lineup, an F-59 commercial stripped chassis with GVWR offerings of 16,000 lb, 19,500 lb, and 22,000 lb.
Built on Ford's F-53 Super Duty motor home chassis, the F-59 is designed for parcel/courier services, food distributors, laundry specialists, construction trades, and government fleets, among other various applications, according to Rob Stevens, Ford's chief engineer for trucks. The F-59 will come equipped with a 6.8-L Triton V10 gasoline engine combined with the TorqShift 5-speed automatic overdrive transmission, standard four-wheel ABS, and stabilizer bars fitted to both front and rear axles for large load-carrying capacity. It will be available in January 2010.
Freightliner Trucks is adding a new variant to its Business Class line of M2e diesel-electric hybrid trucks, developed jointly with hybrid drive supplier Eaton Corp.
The Eaton parallel system enables the truck to operate using the diesel engine alone or in combination with the hybrid electric motor. The hybrid electric motor also provides additional power to launch the truck, further improving fuel economy in high stop-and-go operations.
Medium-duty Freightliners, according to parent Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), will offer Cummins engines alongside the Detroit Diesel and Mercedes-Benz engine lines supplied by parent DTNA. This means the OEM will offer engines with both SCR and EGR technologies to meet 2010 EPA regulations in the midrange arena. Cummins will supply medium-duty ISB, ISC, and ISL engines for Freightliner trucks and chassis in GVW Class 5-7, DTNA said.
The Business Class M2 106 continues to be the “true utility player” in the Freightliner medium lineup, said the OEM. It comes standard with the MBE900 engine and features a chassis designed to support a wide variety of bodies and chassis-mounted equipment. Key vocational features include standard multiplex wiring system, clear frame rails from back of cab, and availability of a range of horizontally mounted exhausts. An optional Cummins diesel engine is available on the M2 106. Productivity features include up to a 55° wheel cut, set back front axle and a swept-back bumper. A 2,500-sq-in. windshield, low-profile dash, and an aerodynamic sloped hood provide “outstanding visibility of the road and work around you,” said Freightliner. In addition, the truck boasts a spacious and comfortable interior along with wide door openings, low step-in heights, and interior and exterior grab handles to help reduce fatigue and offer easy entry and exit.
Freightliner's Business Class M2 106V and M2 112V medium-duty trucks are designed for heavy-duty vocational applications requiring a front engine PTO and front frame extensions. A front engine PTO allows powering a variety of equipment from snowplows to refuse packers. The OEM says the PTO shaft, which is a standard feature on these trucks, runs below the radiator, not through it, for optimal cooling and reliability. Front frame rail extensions are standard and provide a solid mounting point for hydraulic pumps, winches, front stabilizers, and snowplows. The M2 106V medium-duty truck features MBE or Cummins engines, and the 112V comes standard with the MBE4000.
New walk-in van powertrain options are the buzz for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.'s (FCCC) 2010 models. The vehicle acceleration rate management system (VARMS) and the load-based shift scheduling (LBSS) are both touted to achieve more than an 8% increase in fuel economy versus a comparably spec'd vehicle without these features, FCCC noted.
Working with engine manufacturer Cummins, testing included the development and validation of VARMS. This optimized programming system, implemented for use with the Allison 1000/2000 series transmission, includes a means for programming the vehicle's acceleration rate and has been integrated with the chassis powertrain components.
Acceleration rate management, which holds a vehicle's speed to a predetermined rate, provides improved fuel economy and vehicle component life, FCCC said. VARMS is engaged at low speeds to discourage fast starts, thereby improving fuel economy and tire life, and will disengage automatically to allow the vehicle to meet the operational requirements of normal driving conditions.
LBSS, on the other hand, is designed to calculate real-time vehicle load and operating grades and then select the appropriate shift schedule for the task at hand. As the load of the vehicle changes, the transmission calibration can switch between performance-based shifting and economy mode. LBSS automatically selects between an Economy 2,200 rpm variable shift schedule or a Performance 2,500 rpm variable shift schedule based on the actual load and grade in which the vehicle is operating.
The company also is adding an alternatively powered powertrain to its chassis mix and pilot testing a hydraulic hybrid walk-in van chassis. Built on FCCC's MT-55 chassis, this hydraulic hybrid is designed and engineered in partnership with Parker Hannifin Corp. to address environmental and cost-savings concerns.
He added that, based on preliminary testing, the hybrid improves fuel economy between 50% to 70% via recovery of braking energy; improves engine efficiency; and is equipped with a unique “engine-off” feature that shuts off the truck's engine when stopped or at idle, restarting it when needed.
Not much about Hino's 2010 models will change as the company prepares its 2011 models to meet new, stricter U.S. emissions regulations due to go into effect Jan. 1, 2010. Hino says it's going to use SCR to meet these regulations.
Aside from performance, the “look” of medium-duty trucks is becoming increasingly important to improve resale value and aesthetic appeal, said Tim Wenger, product development manager for parts at Hino.
For that reason, Hino has added a range of exterior trim accessories under the label “HinoStyle” for its 2005 through 2010 model-year trucks. These are made from 304-grade stainless steel with noncorrosive and nonmagnetic properties. HinoStyle accessories include sun visors, hood deflectors, bumper covers, door handle trim, window and cab trim, anti-sail mud flaps, steps, and step covers.
Rolled out last November, Wenger noted all HinoStyle stainless steel accessories (excluding electrical components) carry a 12-month, unlimited-mileage product warranty against defects in material or workmanship.
As Navistar International prepares to meet the 2010 EPA emissions standards with its line of MaxxForce engines, which deploy their own advanced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology, only a few changes are expected to be made to its medium-duty truck models this year. However, some of these moves will be significant.
Navistar's medium-duty DuraStar and its severe-service WorkStar truck models will be available equipped with optional Bendix ESP (electronic stability control) technology. The system delivers full-stability performance for a variety of applications, from ambulance and fire trucks to utility, government, and construction vehicles. Bendix ESP is an ABS-based stability system capable of recognizing and assisting with rollover and vehicle under- and over-steer driving situations as well as a variety of road conditions.
On another front, to keep DuraStar and other Navistar truck models equipped with quality parts, the company is introducing MaxxPower , a new global brand of proprietary components for all of its vehicle brands. These products are engineered and tested to meet the demands of numerous vocations and applications.
MaxxPower products are designed and engineered by and for Navistar trucks and buses as original equipment and are factory-installed. According to the OEM, MaxxPower components are backed by Navistar's comprehensive distribution network with replacement parts and warranty handled through the International Truck, IC Bus, and Workhorse dealer networks.
Not much will change for Isuzu's 2010 model year, leaving intact much of the redesign its low-cab forward (LCF) vehicles received for the 2008 model year. Engine output now sits at 205 hp at 2,400 rpm for the 5.2-L overhead cam, 4HK1-TC turbocharged, intercooled diesel engine, with torque getting a similar boost to 441 lb-ft at 1,850 rpm. That engine covers GVW ranges from 12,000 to 19,500 lb.
Isuzu's new 5.2-L diesel can be paired with the Aisin A465 heavy-duty, 6-speed automatic with double overdrive, or with a 6-speed manual transmission. It will be equipped with SCR technology to comply with 2010 emissions rules starting next year. Todd Bloom, VP-marketing, noted Isuzu is planning a 4-cylinder, SCR-equipped diesel for its lighter range of trucks.
Isuzu still offers a gasoline-fueled Vortec 6-L V8 engine for the N-Series, delivering 325 hp and 360 lb-ft of torque, driven through the Hydra-Matic 4L80 4-speed automatic transmission.
Isuzu N-Series diesel models include the NPR, NPR HD (regular and crew cab), NQR (regular and crew cab), and NRR. The gasoline engine is available in the NPR and NPR HD models. It's available in four different wheelbases and can accommodate truck bodies ranging from 10- to 20-ft long, and body/payload combinations weighing between 6,829 lb and 9,411 lb.
Kenworth Truck is expanding its lineup in the vocational and municipal markets “significantly” with the rollout of the medium-duty Kenworth T470 model. The new truck is powered by a 9-L Cummins ISL engine rated for 345 hp and 1,150 lb-ft of torque. Other features include a range of manual and automatic transmissions; 12,000-lb to 22,000-lb rated front axles; 21,000-lb to 26,000-lb rated single-rear axles; and 40,000-lb to 46,000-lb rated tandem-rear axles.
The T470's fixed grille hood has a 50.5-in. bumper setting for convenient installation of a front engine PTO, said the OEM. The hood allows full extended frame rails for a heat-treated, 120,000 psi steel frame without the need for cutouts, according to the company.
Halogen projector headlamps are standard equipment, and the interior of the T470 features the same, high-quality multiplexed dash installed in Kenworth's Class 8 models with a large panel for convenient installation of body controls and gauges. The Kenworth Driver Information Center is standard in the T470 and the Kenworth Extended Day Cab is available as an option. The spacious cab enhances driver comfort with an additional 6 in. of length and 5 in. of cab height compared to Kenworth's traditional day cab, noted the OEM. The Kenworth T470 is available for order.
The previous model to join the KW medium lineup was the Class 5 T170 straight truck, which is offered in a 432 configuration with a GVWR of 19,500 lb. Standard power is provided by a Paccar PX-6 diesel engine rated at 200 hp and 520 lb-ft of torque. Other standard specs include an 8,000-lb front axle; 11,500-lb rear axle; hydraulic brakes; and low-frame height chassis with 19.5-in. wheels and tires. The T170 can be spec'd with a manual or automatic transmission. Also continuing in the Kenworth medium range with no major changes announced are the Class 7 T370, Class 6 T270, and T270 hybrid-electric conventional models, the Class 6 K260 cabover, and the Class 7 K360 cabover.
Peterbilt Motors Co. has grown its medium-duty hybrid offerings with the addition of a Class 7 diesel-electric hybrid designed for applications such as beverage and regional delivery that require a trailer. The Model 335 Hybrid uses the Eaton diesel-electric hybrid drive system. This uses an electric motor to assist the Paccar PX-6 diesel engine with supplemental torque for up to 25% fuel economy gains in local-haul service, said the OEM. The system stores energy during stopping through regenerative braking and then reuses it for acceleration; fuel use, emissions, and noise are greatly reduced, according to Peterbilt.
Along with the Eaton hybrid system, the Model 335 Hybrid tractor features the proprietary in-dash 7-in. Paccar Hybrid System Monitor. The unit's display provides information on fuel economy and battery state of charge, allowing the driver to modify behavior to maximize fuel economy. The display also provides full diagnostic capabilities for the hybrid system, including system operating status.
According to Peterbilt, its lineup of medium-duty production hybrids includes the Model 330 Hybrid with a non-CDL option for short-haul P&D applications, and the Model 335 Hybrid for P&D and beverage applications, as well as municipal and utility operations.
Peterbilt is continuing to offer crew-cab conversion options for customers seeking additional cab space and a 4-door crew cab for its medium-duty Models 325, 330, 335m and 340. The conversion options extend the BBC length to 157 in. and use a one-piece fiberglass roof extension to increase interior height up to 61 in. The conversion options also increase the driver's interior cab space by adding 52 in. to the length of the cab and making the width at the rear 84 in. Crew-cab options include an extended horizontal exhaust pipe, separate heater or heater/air conditioner, exterior access steps, carpet and custom trim packages, as well as DuPont Imron Elite base/clear paint. Bench and bucket seats are available in addition to fire service self-contained breathing apparatus (SCBA) seats.
Peterbilt said its crew-cab conversion is done in partnership with three separate suppliers — Bentz Transport Products, Schwable Trucks, and Weldon Manufacturing — “to provide all the necessary components to convert a medium-duty, 2-door day cab into a 4-door crew cab.”
Not a lot is changing for UD Trucks' 2010 model-year units. Both Nissan Diesel America and its parent company, Japan's Nissan Diesel Motor Co., are now subsidiaries of AB Volvo after the Swedish truck and equipment maker acquired them in March 2007.
Nissan Diesel is targeting the 2011 model year for major upgrades to its UD line as it plans to unveil a new proprietary medium-duty engine equipped with SCR emissions control technology developed in concert with Volvo. That new engine will be offered with a wider selection of manual and automatic transmission options, whereas UD models currently only have one manual and one automatic transmission model from which to choose. According to the company, the increased transmission options will allow Nissan Diesel to offer UD trucks in new segments, such as the refuse collection and recycling markets, where off-road capability is a must-have.
Details on the new engine and transmission options won't be released until September, when pre-production 2011 test models hit the road. The company stressed, however, that the new engine will provide more horsepower and torque to end-users and that the SCR system and diesel particulate filter will be packaged together in a single “module” on the vehicle. The SCR system's DEF tank is going to hold 8 gal of liquid, which should be enough so a truck with a standard 50-gal diesel fuel tank does not have to load up on DEF every day.
The big changes for Mitsubishi Fuso's 2010 model year are going beyond the trucks themselves, affecting the entire company. Germany's Daimler AG owns some 85% of Mitsubishi Fuso (which is nestled within Daimler's global truck division), and Daimler plans to “realign” the company through the end of 2010, eliminating 2,300 jobs, closing two production plants, and, more importantly, cutting the number of Fuso truck models by 50% and parts by 30% by the end of next year.
In the short term, Fuso has reduced inventory levels 45% since the fourth quarter of 2008 and decreased expenses by 20% since the first quarter of 2009. The company implemented temporary shutdowns of its plants and headquarters and minimized spending on non-product-related initiatives, with labor costs reduced via base pay reductions for management and non-management levels, management bonus reductions, and work-sharing initiatives, including overtime reduction and the release of non-full-time employees. Long term, Fuso is expecting higher sales in international markets outside Japan. Over the past six years, Fuso's international sales have grown from 52% (of volume) in 2003 to 78% in 2008, the company said, with higher relative international sales expected to continue and minimal long-term growth expected in the Japanese commercial vehicle market.
To compete better internationally, Fuso continues to focus on developing more aerodynamic and “streamlined” cabs with fewer chassis variations. The heavier Fuso FK and FM Series models offer prime examples of this change. By sporting aerodynamically designed cabs with lower wind drag coefficients, the company says these vehicles are easier to operate and achieve better fuel economy. The interior is a soft oval design coupled with many upgrades to boost driver comfort.
The company also is introducing a new version of its Canter Eco Hybrid light-duty truck. The latest version, currently released only in Japan at this point, offers fuel economy of approximately 11.0 km/L of fuel for the 2-ton chassis, and 10 km/L for the 3-ton version.
First released in July 2006, the Canter Eco Hybrid with its parallel hybrid system significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions while providing easy operation on the job. Sales of the Canter Eco Hybrid have exceeded 600 units since its launch, the company noted.
Workhorse Custom Chassis is focused on tighter integration with Navistar International, its parent company, in terms of both executive staffing and products. The OEM rolled out its new W16D chassis this year, which featured the first appearance of the International MaxxForce 5 V6 diesel engine. Mated to an Allison 1000 Series automatic transmission, the MaxxForce 5 produces 200 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. Other key W16D features include high-performance Brembo 4-wheel disc brakes, a 50° wheel cut, and an electronic instrument cluster with full instrumentation and information center.
A prime example of Navistar-Workhorse synergy at work is the recent integration of the International MaxxForce 7 diesel engine with Workhorse's W20/W22 chassis as well as the MaxxForce 5 powering the W16D.