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ACT: Supply and demand-side triggers impacting heavy CV markets

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ACT Research said that with Class 8 and trailer backlogs out more than 10 months, the fleets who are normally in the market this time of year have already placed their orders. (The Trucker file photo)

COLUMBUS, Ind. — ACT Research said Wednesday that the heavy commercial vehicle markets continue to benefit from a still-broad spectrum of supply and demand-side triggers.

Three of the key considerations ACT has been reviewing include the fact that freight rate markdown is from record levels, the addition of new technologies such as better fuel economy, safety technologies and automated manual transmissions that weren’t available or being spec’d three to four years ago, and increased demand being generated for drop-and-hook operations to keep drivers (and freight) moving.

The information was contained in ACT’s Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest report, which provides monthly analysis on transportation trends, equipment markets, and the economy.

“Preliminary December Class 8 data marked slowing orders, but that slowing must be viewed in the context of near-record backlogs,” said Kenny Vieth, ACT’s president and senior analyst. “With Class 8 and trailer backlogs out more than 10 months, the fleets who are normally in the market this time of year have already placed their orders in the rush to get into the queue that began mid-year.”

Vieth said that while the supply-demand balance for fleets is softening at the margins, demand for heavy commercial vehicles remains strong, and upside production pressures in the first half of 2019 are considerable, given those big backlogs.

“Additionally, slower freight growth, an easing of driver supply constraints, the resumption of the long-run productivity trend, and strong Class 8 tractor fleet growth are expected to increasingly pressure rates and by extension, trucker profits in 2019,” he said.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer, and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasting services for the North American and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies. More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

For more information about ACT’s Commercial Vehicle Dealer Digest, go to http://www.actresearch.net/services/publications/commercial-vehicle-dealer-digest/.

 

 

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Equipment

ACT Research: Trailer production robust, component supply challenges easing

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Frank Maly, director–CV transportation analysis and research at ACT Research said the recent opening of OEM trailer order boards has been met with a dramatically lackluster response by fleets, catching most OEMs by surprise. (Courtesy: ACT RESEARCH)

COLUMBUS, Ind. —  Trailer industry net orders continued the year-over-year slide that begin at the end of 2018 and that is now negative for seven consecutive months with preliminary July data showing that trend continuing.

So says this quarter’s issue of ACT Research’s Trailer Components Report, which, however, also notes that manufacturers continue to produce trailers at near-record levels.

“Through June, trailer net orders are down more than 43% year-over-year, and the order board horizon has remained in the November/December timeframe this entire year,” said Frank Maly, director–CV transportation analysis and research at ACT. “Additionally, fleets were clamoring to order additional trailers earlier this year for 2019 delivery, frustrated by a lack of available production slots and OEMs’ unwillingness to accept orders for 2020. After the early-year enthusiasm, the recent opening of OEM order boards has been met with a dramatically lackluster response by fleets, catching most OEMs by surprise. And, high cancellations have also churned industry backlogs for the latter part of the year, indicating that 2019 may well close weakly and provide little support for the beginning of 2020.”

Maly also noted that despite the dramatic order weakness, OEMs continue to produce at near-record levels, and lacking any turnaround in order volume as the year closes, OEMs could reduce those rates further, attempting to stretch existing backlogs until the fleet order pace rebounds.

Regarding trailer components specifically, the report said that while some component issues have caused higher red-tag/incomplete issues in late 2018 and early 2019, there has been less mention of component challenges as this year has progressed.

“The potential impact of tariffs is the only possible headwind to relatively benign component constraints occurring mid-year,” Maly said.

ACT Research is a publisher of commercial vehicle truck, trailer and bus industry data, market analysis and forecasts for the North America and China markets. ACT’s analytical services are used by all major North American truck and trailer manufacturers and their suppliers, as well as banking and investment companies.

More information can be found at www.actresearch.net.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Volvo Trucks introduces enhanced Turbo Compound engine in VNL models

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The next generation Turbo Compound engine from Volvo Trucks provides up to an additional 3% improvement in fuel efficiency over the current 13-liter Turbo Compound engine, the D13TC. This new engine delivers up to 11% fuel savings overall compared to model-year 2015 trucks. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — Volvo Trucks North America is introducing the next generation of its Turbo Compound technology, providing up to an additional 3% improvement in fuel efficiency over the current 13-liter Turbo Compound engine, the D13TC.

This new engine delivers up to 11% fuel savings overall compared to model-year 2015 trucks. Other improvements include enhanced efficiency over a wider range of applications, more engine ratings and a new EE Extra Efficiency drive mode, according to John Moore, product marketing manager at Volvo Trucks North America.

The new D13TC will be available for order in the fourth quarter of 2019 and go into production at the end of the first quarter of 2020.

“We developed our first generation of the Turbo Compound engine in 2017, and since then almost 300 million miles have been logged, validating the up to 8% fuel-savings benefits,” Moore said. “This new D13TC builds upon this game-changing engine technology, further increasing fuel efficiency by up to 3% over the current D13TC engine, saving approximately $1,200 per year per truck, based on the average fuel price and 125,000 miles per year.”

Volvo Trucks’ new D13TC offers three individual drive modes, Dynamic Torque, an additional 405 horsepower rating, and the next evolution of the Volvo Trucks’ patented wave piston design. These updates enable further-increased fuel efficiency over a wider range of loads, vehicle speeds and engine RPMs. This offers a broader use of applications compared to the first generation of the D13TC engine, which was designed specifically for over-the-road, long-haul applications for trucks loaded at 80,000 pounds.

The three individual drive modes available with the new D13TC engine are extra efficiency, economy and performance.

Moore said these modes will allow the driver to better optimize fuel efficiency for the vehicle with desired performance, depending on application, topography and driving conditions. This new engine also features a wider RPM efficiency band, which enables top fuel efficiency for longer periods of time.

Dynamic Torque is an incremental torque system designed to provide the right torque at the right time.

Rather than operating in silos of high-torque and low-torque modes, Dynamic Torque automatically sets a torque level dependent upon the weight of the truck, the grade and the road conditions at any given time.

Dynamic Torque also features an automatic 12th gear lockout on heavy loads with Adaptive Gearing engine ratings. A kick-down switch along with performance drive mode allow access to full torque for customers requiring it on demand. This simpler, more effective system on the new D13TC engine will provide an even more consistent improvement in fuel efficiency across different applications, enabling customers to cut costs on a wider range of operations.

The new engine also features a revised wave piston, designed and patented by Volvo Trucks. The improved design optimizes wave technology to evenly distribute the air/fuel mixture in the cylinder, burning the fuel more consistently than a traditional piston. Volvo’s design increases the compression ratio from 17:1 to 18:1 while maintaining up to a 90% reduction of soot in the cylinder, further improving fuel efficiency in the engine.

“The individual drive modes allow drivers new heights in fuel efficiency without sacrificing performance. We are also taking it to the next level with a simpler torque package that delivers the right torque at the right time,” Moore said. “Not only is it cutting edge when it comes to sustainable use of diesel in the transportation industry, but it is the most fuel-efficient Volvo engine on the market for our customers, with trucks running cleaner at a reduced cost.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mack Trucks increases uptime offering with dynamic maintenance

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Mack Trucks today introduced dynamic maintenance, offering customers a more predictive tool to enhance maintenance planning and increase uptime. (Courtesy: MACK TRUCKS)

RACINE, Wis. — Mack Trucks Thursday introduced dynamic maintenance, a connected vehicle service focused on proactive vehicle maintenance planning and fleet operations efficiency.

“Mack is focused on providing customers options to improve their total cost of ownership through connected vehicle services. Enhancing maintenance planning utilizing existing vehicle telematics and data analytics is yet another way in which we accomplish this. Vehicle technology and data provide us the capability to ‘customize’ planning so that it’s specific to a vehicle and its operation,” said David Pardue, vice president of connected vehicle and contract services for Mack Trucks. “This enables customers to optimize planned downtime.”

Mack’s dynamic maintenance service further expands the partnership with Noregon, an IoT (Internet of Things) company specializing in connected vehicle solutions.

Mack’s unique approach utilizes the Noregon platform to enhance the dealer user interface and brings the decision-making process closer to the customer through the dealer.

Dynamic maintenance leverages data intelligence from vehicle data analytics, combined with enhanced software features from Mack GuardDog Connect telematics, the Noregon platform, and Mack’s ASIST service communications process to more accurately reflect planned maintenance needs and replace traditional ‘set mileage scheduled’ plans.

Currently, dynamic maintenance is targeted to powertrain-related maintenance services. “This is just another step forward in our connected technology journey,and will help our dealers prepare for changing and future vehicle maintenance opportunities,” Pardue said.

For more information, please visit a Mack dealer or www.macktrucks.com.

 

 

 

 

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