Suppliers predict growing truck market

LOUISVILLE, KY - What a difference a few months can make. Earlier this year, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems was projecting Class 8 truck sales would drop about 5-10%. Now it's projecting the market will grow about 5%. "Overall, I think the economy has turned for us in the trucking industry," chairman Joe McAleese observed, citing growing truck orders and dropping cancellations. Truck tonnage and utilization are both seen as under control. It was a theme repeated during briefings during the Mid-America Trucking Show's media day.

PACCAR testing autonomous truck

PACCAR has produced the prototype of an autonomous truck with support from NVIDIA, a computer hardware and software developer. NVIDIA's Drive PX 2 AI technology - which is also used by Tesla -- has an SAE Level 4 ranking, which is the second-highest level of automation, exceeded only by full automation. "This is probably the largest single mass of a product that we've helped make," said Jen-Hsun Huang, NVIDIA founder and Chief Executive Officer, during a keynote presentation at Bosch Connected World.

PacLease adds 3 BC locations

BELLEVUE, WA - PacLease has added three British Columbia locations to a network that now includes 454 facilities throughout North America. Inland PacLease in West Kelowna, Peterbilt Pacific Leasing in Lantzville, and Peterbilt Pacific Leasing in Delta were among 10 new locations announced this week. "PacLease had another strong year and we're finding increased demand for those wanting to rent and lease Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks," said Jake Civitts, director of franchise operations for PACCAR Leasing Company (PacLease). "With the opening of our new PacLease locations, including three in the major markets of the Detroit and Philadelphia areas, along with Birmingham, we're well situated for continued growth."

European truck makers fined billions for price fixing

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM -- The European Union is fining five truck makers nearly 3 billion euros (Cdn $4.3 billion) for acting as a cartel to fix prices of medium and heavy-duty trucks and time the introduction of technologies to comply with emissions rules. It's the highest fines ever imposed by the EU for a single cartel - twice the previous highest amount, imposed in 2012, according to Margrethe Vestager, the European Union's competition commissioner, in a statement. MAN (now owned by Volkswagen), Daimler, DAF (owned by Paccar), Iveco and Volvo/Renault -- which together account for around nine out of every 10 medium and heavy trucks sold in Europe -- had been working together for 14 years, from 1997 until the European Commission's investigation in 2011 put a stop to it.