While some OEMs have told FleetOwner there will be no gaps in their offerings of diesel-powered light- and medium-duty trucks during the switchover to EPA 2010-compliant engines, that will not be the case with some General Motors products.
Truck diesel engines built after December 31st must meet the more stringent EPA emissions rules and will do so with new engine aftertreatment technology. But according to a GM executive, the OEM has stopped taking orders for van models as it will not begin production of its new 2010-compliant diesel engines until May.
“We have had a surge of orders for diesel-powered vans,” GM’s Dan Tigges, full-size truck product manager, said at the recent Truck Product Conference sponsored by the National Truck Equipment Assn. (NTEA). “Because of that, we cut off orders for diesel vans last week. We will build those trucks, probably until early December. After that, we will have a five-month dark period on diesel engines—January through May. After May 24, we will start production with the new diesel engine. These will be 2010 trucks. We will come out with 2011 model year trucks in late August.”
The story is much the same for GM’s pickup and chassis cabs models.
“We anticipate cutting off orders for full-size pickups in late November,” Tigges said. “We will continue to build trucks into the first quarter of 2010 using engines that are still in the pipeline. January to February, we will be done producing regular cabs and crew cabs. We will then have a three-month dark period during which we will produce no diesel-powered work trucks. We will be back in business with the new engines in May 2010 for regular and crew-cab models,” which will be designated 2011 models.
The off time for GM’s extended-cab models will be even longer. These trucks have been produced at the GM assembly plant in Pontiac, MI, but the company is closing that plant October 1st and will be moving production to Fort Wayne, IN.
“That will impact production during the last quarter of the year,” Tigges said. “We will be back in production of gas models in January. But heavy-duty extended cab pickups with diesels will not be back in the market until July of next year, and the extended cab chassis cab will not be coming back into production.”
Production of full-size 2010 vans is in full swing, Tigges added, noting that production of gasoline-powered models is expected to run without interruption throughout the model year.
By contrast, other light/medium-duty OEMs appear unfazed by the engine-technology transition. “There will be no gap” in offering diesel engines in 2010 or 2011 truck chassis, Jennifer Edwards, spokesperson for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp., told Fleet Owner. “We are ready to go with 2010-compliant [Cummins] engines and will begin building units with these engines on Jan. 1, 2010.”
Likewise, spokesperson Anne Marie Gattari said Ford will have no gap in its diesel offerings to customers. “The engines in our 2010 model Super Duty trucks are built by our supplier, Navistar,” Gattari told FleetOwner.
“We are projecting to meet customer demand for diesels for 2010 model year trucks using the Navistar engine,” she continued. “With the [start of the] 2011 model year, Super Duty will get the Ford-designed, Ford-engineered, Ford-built 6.7-liter Power Stroke, which we showed at the Texas State Fair last week. Our Ford F-150 pickup does not currently have a diesel, nor are there plans” to offer one in that truck.Navistar’s Workhorse subsidiary was also contacted about the status of their 2010/2011 diesel-powered truck chassis offerings.