Heavy Duty Trucking

DEC 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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T hese may be the best of times for American truck builders and many of their customers. Orders overall and for some manufacturers are at an all-time high, with Class 8 sales ex- pected to exceed 300,000 this year. And more of the same is predicted for next year. Fleets, exercising pent-up demand and hustling to haul all the freight they can handle, are buying new trucks to replace worn-out iron. They would buy more if they could find drivers for them. Vocational sales are likewise up substantially as the economy in general and construction in particular have rebounded from the Great Recession. Many heavy-truck products are fresh or have received new components, and often come stan- dard with telematics capabilities that allow owners to keep close tabs on what their vehicles are doing Builders report order upswings of 20% and more, along with gains for proprietary diesels and automated transmissions. UPDATE AS ECONOMY BUILDS, ALMOST EVERYBODY'S BUYING Tom Berg • Senior Editor no matter where they are. Builders are promoting safety technology as a way to cut accidents. Fleet managers report that the latest diesels deliver good fuel economy that helps pay off higher purchasing costs. And while still not perfect, pollution-reduc- tion equipment is more reliable than predecessor models. One component slowly gaining favor is the 6x2 axle arrangement, where only one of the tandem's axles is driven and the other is "dead." On a high- way tractor, this cuts weight and reduces parasitic friction because power and torque course through fewer sets of gears. Concerns about traction are addressed with suspensions that automatically send weight from the dead axle to the driven one when the driver locks the differential or when wheel slip is sensed by electronic controls. Because North American operators have long preferred "live" 56 HDT • DECEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com

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