Heavy Duty Trucking

DEC 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

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64 HDT • DECEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com Volvo T he 2016-model VN series (shown), scheduled for production in early 2015, will have enhanced aerody- namics, notably with sculpted bumper and side skirts to move air to the sides and away from wheels. The VNL670 sleeper also has a newly contoured roof to deposit air on the van trailer's roof and keep it flowing rearward. I-Shift AMT's oil cooler is redesigned to minimize pumping losses and has quick-disconnect lines for easy mainte- nance. Adaptive Gearing, an 11th/12th-gear adaptation of downspeeding introduced with the I-Shift XE pack- age, will be available for bulk haulers. On-highway series includes VNL and VNM with long and medium-length hoods with several sleeper options. VNX heavy-haul tractor with the 16.1-liter D16 is a recent addition; on/ off-road VHD comes as a truck and tractor, and the low- profile VAH daycab and sleeper, built on a VHD chas- sis, serves auto haulers. Volvo emphasizes its own D16 and the higher-volume 10.8-liter D11 and 12.8-liter D13, but also offers the Cummins ISX15 diesel and Cummins Westport natural gas engines in certain VNs. Western Star D aimler's premium brand just introduced the 5700XE (shown), a distinctively styled aero model aimed at owner-operators and image-conscious fleets. It has sculpted fenders, hood and grille, and a specially end- capped bumper that all smooth air flow. The 5700XE is said to be aerodynamically second only to Freightliner's Cascadia series, and promises fuel savings of up to 7.2% compared to a base 4900 model. It may replace the semi- aero 4900FE, and will come only with Detroit diesels. Detroits and Cummins' ISX15 can be had with versions of the 4900, and the ISL9 and DD13 in the lighter 4700. The medium- hood 4800 comes only with the DD13, and the extreme-duty off-road 6900DX gets Detroit DD15, DD16 or Series 60 diesels. Most models can be set up with vocational specs, and the 4900 remains popular as a logging truck in Canada, where the make originated. something not seen since the heady days of the late 1990s. "One of the broader trends we're seeing in the industry, which has cer- tainly impacted the increase in new truck sales, is faster trade cycles," said Jodi Presswood, vice president and general manager of Navistar's heavy product line. "New truck buyers in larger fleets would typically trade at four, five or even six years. We're seeing those trade cycles change to where some customers are trading as early as three years. Presswood offered a couple of potential explanations. "Certainly, many customers are seeing improved freight levels and freight rates, and are more willing to invest in new technology. But the rapid pace of fuel efficiency improvements across the industry is driving shorter trade cycles as the operating costs and fuel efficiency advantages are too great to be ignored and driving new equip- ment purchases." And some buyers are watching costs carefully. "Large fleets are very sophisticated businesses that understand their operating costs down to the pennies," said Swihart at Kenworth. "As a result, fleets are increasingly interested in investing in product technologies up front that reduce operating costs down the road. These major fleets are driving many of the product innovations to- day which are resulting in more tech- nologically advanced truck systems that achieve higher fuel economy, are more comfortable to drive, and are safer on the road." ■ UPDATE

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