Just got your September 2009 issue… When I saw the full-page ad for GM medium-duty trucks on page 16, I was puzzled because I thought they were being discontinued. Then on page 62, you had an article about the last TopKick rolling off the line on July 31, 2009, and they have ceased production of these units and had not been able to sell the line off. Do you think GM paid for this ad with our bailout money? Is this just to clear out their inventory on lots? Didn't make much sense to me to be running a full-page ad for out-of-production models.
On another note, our company has older Ford/Sterling dump trucks, some of which we have been running for 29 years and still use on a daily basis. With Daimler Benz now discontinuing Sterling, we are losing our parts source for three trucks. Do you know how many of these Ford/Sterling units are still used on a daily basis? They just drop the line, and no one seems to even notice all of us millions of little companies that can't afford new fancy equipment and keep the old stuff going every day to make a living. I know of at least 10 heavy-duty Ford trucks still in service on our little island of 36 square miles.
Change keeps coming, but it will be a long time before we ever see a 2010 DEF engine powering a truck out here in rural America. When Washington enacts all these new standards, they don't give much thought to the impact on all of us running older equipment. We hardly have any trucks with antilock brakes yet! The new Ultra Low Sulfur diesel fuel was a nightmare for us to put into effect — and now we have to put additives in year round to protect old injection pump systems from being damaged, including all our old off road construction equipment. But yet we have no engines that require this fuel other than two to three newer pickups around. America runs on small business you know, so they say.
Lou G. Small Jr.
Owner, Small's Excavating,
Washington Island, WI
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF JIM MELE REPLIES:
While GM has ceased production of its medium-duty trucks, it continues to advertise to support its many dealers who do have substantial numbers of trucks waiting for customers. That's not just the right thing to do, but I strongly suspect that GM is contractually obligated to continue its marketing program for some period. Also GM may still be trying to sell the TopKick/Kodiak line to another manufacturer, so it makes sense for them to continue promoting the brand names. In any event, I don't think bailout money has been used to pay for advertising of any kind.
Even though the Sterling brand has been discontinued as a new truck, Daimler has committed to supporting the many units it has out there with parts. That's good business, and it's business that third-party manufacturers will also continue to compete for.
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