The American Trucking Associations’ Management Conference & Exhibition was, as always, a huge event, bringing together trucking heavyweights from across North America. And it was extremely busy in terms of product announcements. Nothing Earth-shattering was announced at the show but there was a steady stream of news reported by OEMs and equipment providers. Here’s a rundown of what caught my attention:
Mack’s mDrive now standard: Following in the footsteps of sister brand Volvo, Mack has made its slick automated manual transmission standard equipment on the Pinnacle highway tractor. The mDrive is currently being spec’d on about 50% of new Mack Pinnacles. This move is largely symbolic – you can still spec’ a manual and save a few bucks in the process – but the standardization of the mDrive is a testament to the popularity of the automated manual and the confidence Mack has in the product. Making mDrive standard will also likely result in a higher uptake than it already enjoys. I’ve driven the mDrive and I wouldn’t buy a Mack truck without it. More here.
Demand for Daimler’s DT-12 exceeds supply: Sticking with transmissions of the non-stickshift variety, Daimler announced demand for its DT-12 automated manual has exceeded its expectations just one year after its release. I’m not surprised. When Daimler first announced its expectations for the DT-12, I wrote in Hooked Up that they were being too modest with their projections and that this product would enjoy stronger and quicker success than they were counting on. I got that one right. Speaking at a journalist roundtable at ATA, Daimler Trucks North America head Martin Daum said the company projected demand for the new transmission to reach 6,000 units in 2014 and it is on track to sell 15,000 of them. “We could easily have sold more than 20,000 if we had more capacity,” he added. Next year’s demand is pegged at 25,000 units or more and capacity will ramp up as DTNA brings production to North America and its Michigan Detroit plant.
The most fuel-efficient ProStar is showcased: Navistar, for its part, showcased what it claims to be its most fuel-efficient ever International ProStar. What makes this truck the best ever? Well, the ProStar in itself is an aerodynamic tractor but the new SmartAdvantage powertrain from Eaton and Cummins is now available, giving it some extra fuel efficiency. See a pattern here, folks? Automated manuals are here to stay and for good reason – they are driving greater fuel economy, not to mention improved safety. More here.
Daimler to build medium-duty engines: Daimler also announced it will be bringing Detroit-branded medium-duty engines to the North America market in 2016. The new DD5 and DD8 are currently in development and will be configured for North American duty-cycles, the company announced at ATA. They’ll initially be built in Mannheim, Germany, with production moved to Detroit by 2018. And that’s not the only way DTNA plans to extend its reach into new areas; it also announced it’s launching its own suite of active safety systems, including adaptive cruise control and active braking assist. We’ll have more on these systems soon.
James Menzies is editor of Truck News magazine. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 15 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies. All posts by James Menzies