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Steve Bates’ five emerging vocational truck trends to watch


Speaking at the Canadian Fleet Maintenance Seminar, Mack sales manager for Mid-Ontario Truck Centre, Steve Bates, shared some insight into trends affecting the vocational truck market.  Here’s what he said buyers can expect to see in the coming years…

More automation: The mixer market has gone from 5-10% automatic transmissions to about 85% in the past four to five years, Bates said. He expects that trend to continue in other segments as well. “My prediction is almost every truck will be automated or automatic,” he said.

More twin steers: “I like the twin steer. It’s very stable, easy to drive and the maintenance costs are lower than a self-steering pusher axle,” Bates said. “Twin steer front axles will increase.”

More disc brakes: The upcharge of about $4,500 for a vocational truck remains cost-prohibitive for many buyers, Bates admitted, but he said disc brakes are coming. “Right now there’s a cost factor. People don’t want to spend the money. But costs are going to come down. It’s coming. In three to four years we’ll be almost fully disc.”

More stability: Stability systems are another option Bates expects to grow in popularity. They’ve been an option on Mack vocational trucks for four years, but Bates admitted there have been few takers since it’s difficult to configure the system for the specific body that’s on the truck, a process that includes some costly winter testing. “But if you’re going to order the same truck every year, it’s something that could be done,” he said.

More change: “Get used to constant change,” Bates said. “It will be continuous.” He mentioned the latest greenhouse gas rules as one example of how regulations are forcing truck manufacturers and buyers to evolve.


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