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July 6, 2011 Vol. 7, No. 14

One of the industry issues I keep an eye on is counterfeiting. Despite strong efforts to keep this problem in the limelight, especially by Bendix, it never seems as if we have a handle on it. Fake brake parts, to take just one example, continue to make it onto the market. And nobody ever seems to get prosecuted.

All the more amusing then — but also a bit disturbing — is the tale of two guys selling counterfeit Scania clothing at England’s Truckfest show in 2009. The Swedish truck maker tipped off the authorities, and this sorry pair were recently jailed for two months!

Their company was also fined about $8000 and they were ordered to pay another $13,000 or so each within half a year or face a further three-month prison sentence. As well, they were ordered to pay costs of about $5000 to the local council for some reason. Court costs, presumably.

Now, that’s England and this is North America, so comparisons are maybe a stretch. We’re also dealing with local lads vs. mysterious offshore enterprises. Nonetheless, when I read about this one my first thought was, I’d sure like to see such successful prosecutions when it comes to the phony brake valves or wheel fasteners we see too often.

I’ve yet to hear that a fake polo shirt caused an accident. Can’t say the same about fake truck parts suffering from bad metallurgy.

SCANIA AND MAN ABOUT TO MERGE? It looks as if only regulatory approval is required before the Munich-based truck maker MAN is merged with Scania within Volkswagen. VW now owns some 53.7% of MAN shares along with 71% of Scania. And to confuse things just a smidge, MAN itself owns 17% of the Swedish truck maker.

This story has actually been building for years, and it’s no small deal. The combination of the two truck outfits creates an enterprise big enough to do serious battle with Daimler and Volvo.

MAN, incidentally, has roots going back to 1758 when it started life as the first ironworks in the Ruhr region of Germany. Cool.

GOING BACK TO BRAKES, MERITOR recently hosted a webinar for a small group of journalists to talk about the new FMVSS 121 stopping-distance requirements that take effect on August 1. Chad Mitts, general manager of the company’s brake operation, and Joe Kay, its chief engineer, led the way. The chat focused on the differences between air disc brakes and good old S-cams and how they can both meet the new standard.

The requirement, incidentally, demands that a 3-axle tractor grossing under 59,600 lb be able to stop in 250 ft from 60 mph instead of the present 335.

Meritor spent five years developing solutions to the challenge, aiming to better the regs by at least 10%. In practice their targets were drum brakes that stop at 225 ft on average and discs that can stop a truck at 215 ft on average. They made it, of course, though the air disc has long been up to the task.

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Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to

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