Gas: Meeting customer demands

Jan. 1, 2013

Losing something makes you appreciate it all the more. That sums up some of what Isuzu Commercial Truck of America felt when General Motors shut down its medium-duty truck business back in 2009—leaving Isuzu without a gasoline engine for its line of cabover trucks.

“We had a significant [number] of customers who used gasoline engines in their trucks, so that was definitely a blow,” relates Brian Tabel, Isuzu’s retail marketing manager.

N-Series gasoline trucks had been assembled by GM at its plant in Janesville, WI, a facility that ceased operations in 2009. But in May 2011, Spartan Motors started production of Isuzu N-Series trucks equipped with a Vortec 6L small-block V8 gasoline engine at its factory in Charlotte, MI. That engine produces 297 hp. and 372 lbs.-ft. of torque.

Not only did the absence of a gasoline N-Series seem to make the hearts of medium-duty fleets grow fonder, Tabel says, but demand for that gasoline spec ramped up as well.

“One of our N-Series trucks equipped with a diesel costs about $8,000 more than one spec’d with a gasoline engine,” he explains. And that is before the higher price of diesel fuel as well as the cost of diesel exhaust fluid required for the selective catalytic reduction system are factored in.

Suddenly, Isuzu found that customers who’d traditionally bought only diesels were giving gasoline a try.

“Typically, low-mileage operations get the best return on a gasoline spec, where trucks are averaging 25,000 mi. a year,” Tabel says. “Now, however, with the price gap so large, fleets with medium-duty trucks averaging 30,000 to 35,000 mi. per year are benefitting from the switch to gasoline.”

It helps that Isuzu’s latest iteration of its gasoline-powered N-Series cabover comes mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with double overdrive and lock-up torque converter, whereas previous N-Series gasoline models were only offered with 4-speed automatic without such additional features.

About the Author

Sean Kilcarr | Editor in Chief

Sean previously reported and commented on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry. Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...