Heavy Duty Trucking

DEC 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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DECEMBER 2014 Trucking's Most Respected Business Report First aluminum F-150 rolls off assembly line – Ron Schultz Global on-highway truck sales and product support manager, Caterpillar Inc. T g s t R e hotline F ord last month built its first aluminum-body 2015 F-150 pickup truck, and production of the vehicle is now under way at the 100-year-old Ford Rouge Center in Dearborn, Mich. Ford plans to deliver the 2015 F-150 to dealers in December in the U.S. It will go on sale in 90 global markets in 2015. Fleets with special orders will get their trucks in February. The start of production was marked with a media event, which was presided over by Bill Ford, Ford's executive chairman and great-grandson of company founder Henry Ford. Much has been made of Ford's gamble to revamp its top-selling vehicle, and the nation's top-selling truck for nearly four decades, with an aluminum body that reduces weight by about 700 pounds. Yet early driving impressions have been favorable, and the move is expected to significantly improve fuel economy. Ford has lightened the weight of the truck and increased its capa- bilities over the 2014 model. The 2015 F-150 can tow up to 1,100 more pounds and haul up to 530 more pounds in payload, according to Ford. The aluminum alloy is more dent- and ding-resistant and if paint is chipped, it will not rust. Fleets will be able to improve mpg by 5 to 20 percent, according to the company. When asked later about the risks of using aluminum in the body in the F-150, Ford said, "Yes, it's a risk, but it's a risk worth taking. You can tell the difference in the handling and performance." – Chris Wolski, Contributing Editor Keep up with the latest news each day at www.truckinginfo.com Read the full interview at www.truckinginfo.com/schultz Third-quarter GDP grew at annual rate of 3.9%; revised figure better than expected. Leading Econom- ic Index, used to forecast economy in next three to six months, rose in October by 0.9% to 105.2, pointing to continued economic growth into early 2015. New home sales, up 0.7% in October for annual rate of 458,000, is 1.8% higher than a year ago, as housing market continues modest but steady recovery. Indus- trial production edged down 0.1% in October after rising 0.8% in September. Meanwhile, manufac- turing output increased 0.2% for second consecutive month. New orders for manufactured durable goods in October were up slightly following two months of declines, but excluding transportation fell 0.9%. Manufacturing output (Federal Reserve) New Home Sales (U.S. Commerce Department) Leading Economic Index (The Conference Board) Q: The Cat Truck started with the CT660 with a setback steer axle in 2011. Why did it take almost three years for the axle-forward CT681 to come out? A: Part of the process in our NPI, new product introduction, is rigorous testing of the product and getting customer feedback on the 660 and prototypes of the 681. We got feedback on what was needed on that axle-forward model – the simple, "industrial" styling, for example. We'll have the 680 [an axle-forward tractor] in 2015, and we continue to evaluate our expansion. We might have something else [to announce] in mid year. Q: The project to develop a 15-liter diesel with Navistar was dropped. What are Cat's plans for that size engine? A: We continue to offer the CT13. We're getting close on announcing our strategy on engines, but I can't say anything about that now. GDP (U.S. Commerce Department) ECONOMIC INDICATORS h o t R A Q & Green: Positive Yellow: Concern Re d: Negative Durable goods orders (U.S. Commerce Department) 20 HDT • DECEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com +3.9% +0.7% +0.2% +0.4% 105.2 TM

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