MONTREAL, Que. – Truck West was at ExpoCam in Montreal Apr. 12-14 and has assembled this report on some of the new products that created a stir at the show:
GM enhances medium-duty truck
GM unveiled for the first time in Canada, the new 2008 GMC W-Series medium-duty trucks, delivering more cab room, enhanced safety features and more power.
The all-new W-Series made its first appearance during Expocam in Montreal on April 12 and also meets new North American diesel emission standards.
For the first time in Canada, the new W-series will now offer gas engine models in the W3500 and W4500 in addition to the full range of diesel models.
“The success of our W-Series is a direct reflection of its ability to deliver exactly what medium-duty customers demand from their vehicle,” said Santo Giardina, marketing manager for trucks at GM. “As with other recent enhancements, the all-new W-Series was developed with direct input from those who know this vehicle best: our customers. It’s why we say that the 2008 W-Series was designed by our customers, for our customers.”
Enhancements for 2008 were especially focused on increasing driver comfort. The new line of trucks is designed with new and improved cab mounting to deliver a smoother, more comfortable ride.
The cab itself is larger and more spacious, with more side-to-side and front-to-back room. To facilitate driver ingress and egress, the 85-degree swing-out door opening is wider, as is the self-cleaning entry step.
In addition to improvements to driver comfort, the new cab is built with a number of features to improve driver and passenger safety, including low-cut side windows and larger mirrors for added visibility.
For 2008, the Isuzu overhead cam 5.2L turbocharged, intercooled, diesel engine delivers more power and reduced emissions from the previous offering. The engine covers GVW ranges from 5,443 kg (12,000 pounds) to 8,845 kg (19,500 pounds) and has a B10 durability rating of 500,000 kilometers.
The 5.2L diesel can be mated to the new Aisin A465 heavy-duty six-speed automatic with double overdrive, or with a six-speed manual transmission with all forward gears synchronized. The six-speed manual will be available later in the model year.
GM W-Series diesel models include the W3500, W4500 (regular and crew cab) W5500 (regular and crew cab) and W5500HD.
For customers who prefer a gasoline engine, W3500 and W4500 models will now be available with the Vortec 6.0L V-8 engine. For 2008, the Vortec delivers 325 horsepower and can be mated to the Hydra-Matic 4L80 four-speed automatic with lockup torque converter and overdrive.
The Vortec 6.0L is compliant with federal heavy-duty engine emission standards and California ULEV emissions requirements.
Sterling fires a Bullet into the Canadian market
Sterling Truck’s new vehicle – the Sterling Bullet – was also introduced to the Canadian market during ExpoCam.
First introduced in March at the Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, Ind., the Bullet is the latest addition to the company’s full line of Class 3 to 8 work trucks.
“Together with the Sterling 360, the Bullet makes Sterling the only commercial vehicle manufacturer in NAFTA to offer a complete line of Class 3 to 8 vehicles,” said Matthew Stevenson, director of light commercial vehicles for Sterling. “Sterling is now a true one stop shop for truck buyers in Canada as well as the US.”
Competing in the Class 4 and 5 markets, the Bullet is designed for applications including construction, residential services, landscaping, municipal services, utility, and pickup and delivery.
Available at select Sterling dealerships in late fall 2007 throughout Canada and the US, the Bullet has several standard features including a Cummins 6.7L ISB engine with exhaust brake, a power take-off prep package, and a 86.4-cm wide, 50,000 psi frame for easy body builder upfit. A number of application prep packages will also be available, including a snowplow package.
“Like all Sterling trucks, the Bullet can be customized to meet the specific demands of the Canadian market – especially applications that require trucks to work in inclement weather,” said Stevenson. “This truck was spec’d with Canadian needs in mind.”
Shell launches nationwide analysis program
Shell recently launched an instant oil analysis program through its ROTELLA Express network in an effort to help drivers prolong the life of their trucks.
Shell made the announcement during Expocam. Eighteen sites across Canada are prepared to offer drivers on-site oil analysis, including the addition of a new site in Quebec.
A ROTELLA Express technician will sample a few drops of oil and in about 10 minutes will provide the driver with a printed analysis of the truck’s engine, transmission and power steering systems.
The analysis will provide information about the condition of the oil and air filters; the condition of rings, pistons, bearings, gaskets and gears; the presence and level of contaminants, such as water, fuel or glycol; and the presence and level of metal fragments.
“The launch of the ROTELLA Express network in Canada demonstrates Shell’s commitment to supporting preventative maintenance practices in the transport sector,” says Les Markiewicz, general manager, commercial sales and marketing at Shell Canada. “We are providing ROTELLA Express dealers with a competitive edge by giving them access to top quality transportation products combined with world class services.”
The goal of the analysis is to provide drivers with a list of hidden or emerging problems from contaminated oil or worn parts. The report will also provide recommended actions to correct any problems before they become serious.
Wireless providers dial into truck market
Two of Canada’s largest wireless communications providers are increasing their presence in the truck industry with improved wireless fleet management solutions.
Rogers Communications and Telus have both recently released product suites specifically designed for the trucking sector, utilizing GPS technology to offer fleets tracking and logistics solutions.
After an extensive two-year review of North American solution providers, Rogers selected WebTech Wireless of Burnaby, B.C., to be the exclusive application provider to power its new wireless asset tracking and logistics solution – mFleet.
mFleet is a Web-based offering for a variety of fleet types ranging from long-haul to municipal vehicles. mFleet offers fleet managers and operators real-time automated vehicle mapping, intelligent management reporting and vehicle diagnostic reports.
Using mFleet’s Locator hardware with GPS and engine diagnostic technology, messages from vehicles connect in real-time to mFleet Quadrant, a secure, Web-based hosted mapping and reporting software, over the Rogers Wireless network.
“mFleet is the latest example of Rogers investing in innovative wireless business solutions that reduce operational costs and improve customer satisfaction,” said Mansell Nelson, vice-president of business development, Rogers Wireless. “Rogers has a long history supporting wireless fleet solutions, and we’ve selected the best, most cost-effective wireless solution to take the guess-work out of fleet management for customers.”
mFleet aims to provide fleet managers the ability to improve truck and trailer productivity, while reducing downtime and increasing truck utilization. Each customer receives automated driver timesheets, custom geofencing, odometer readings and maintenance scheduling.
Refrigeration units can be monitored remotely and recorded to ensure the proper temperature of perishable goods or medicines are met. As well, untethered trailers and other mobile assets can be continuously monitored against unauthorized activity.
Telus meanwhile launched its Fleet Tracking Bundle, a real-time tracking solution using GPS modems installed in vehicles.
technology bundle aims to provide companies with the ability to track their mobile assets, improve operations, productivity, service levels and safety using the Telus 1X wireless data network across North America.
“Whether it’s short- or long-haul trucking, service/delivery vehicles or couriers, GPS optimizes route scheduling, reduces fuel consumption and enhances customer service – benefits once cost-prohibitive for all but the largest enterprises,” said Jim Senko, vice-president, mobility solutions, Telus Business Solutions. “Telus’ Fleet Tracking Bundle makes it accessible and cost effective for any size company to maximize business value from GPS technology.”
Telus GPS solutions are currently available in four graduated tiers, allowing carriers to determine the level of service that best suits their operation.
The tiers range from handset-based navigation (currently available in Alberta, B.C. and southern Ontario); handset tracking; handset tracking with dispatch capabilities; and fleet tracking.
Volvo VHD now available with sleeper cab
The rugged Volvo VHD vocational truck and tractor are now available with a factory-installed 42-inch sleeper cab, designated the VHD 430. The Volvo VHD 430 is designed to provide customers with a comfortable and efficient sleeper without sacrificing reliability or performance in demanding vocational applications. The VHD was previously only available with a daycab. Volvo showcased the new VHD 430 to the public for the first time at ExpoCam.
“The VHD has always given drivers an outstanding working environment, with a strong emphasis on safety, along with the durability that our vocational customers demand,” says Brent Weary, regional vice-president, sales and marketing for Volvo Trucks Canada.
“Now, with the VHD 430, we can put this great vocational truck to work in applications that require a sleeper.”
The VHD 430 is customizable and comes as a 6×4, 8×4 or 8×6 tractor or truck, in axle-forward and axle-back configurations.
Volvo officials say the one-piece 42-inch sleeper on the VHD 430 is as strong and rugged as the rest of the truck, having passed the Swedish Cab Impact Test, the most demanding cab structure and impact testing in the world.
The sleeper’s one-piece design aims to eliminate the compromises necessary to mount aftermarket sleeper boxes, including the risk of reduced structural integrity from cutting away the back wall, and to eliminate the risk of water and air leaks at the seal between sleeper boxes and cabs.
The one-piece construction is also designed to create less noise intrusion and better thermal insulation. The entire cab and sleeper is covered by Volvo’s cab structure warranty of 72 months/750,000 miles/15,000 operating hours.
The VHD 430’s sleeper has 118 cubic feet of space and includes a full-length bed, with windshield and sleeper curtains inside.