July 1, 2009
Dodge A number of changes dot Dodge's medium-duty Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cab truck lineup for 2010. First, an all-new crew cab increases leg room 6 in., while all-new design and exterior styling changes include a chromed lean-forward grille, new sheet metal, bumper, mirrors, headlamps, and a taller hood for more cooling capacity. For the 3500, a new Hemi V8 engine with variable valve timing


A number of changes dot Dodge's medium-duty Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis cab truck lineup for 2010. First, an all-new crew cab increases leg room 6 in., while all-new design and exterior styling changes include a chromed lean-forward grille, new sheet metal, bumper, mirrors, headlamps, and a taller hood for more cooling capacity.

For the 3500, a new Hemi V8 engine with variable valve timing (VVT) improves fuel economy up to 4%. For the 4500 and 5500 models, a 2010-compliant diesel engine is available equipped with diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) injection, part of Cummins' selective catalyst reduction (SCR) technology package for emissions control. Dodge noted the Cummins diesel engine comes with a 5 yr./100,000 mi. warranty and a beefed-up alternator now cranking out 180 amps, up from 136 amps in previous models.

The Ram medium-duty truck comes with a 52-gal. standard fuel tank; 390-mm front brake rotors and 66-mm calipers; standard diesel exhaust brakes; standard diesel 24,000-lb.-GCWR or optional 26,000-lb.-GCWR package. New comfort and convenience features include heated and ventilated seats; heated steering wheel; automatic temperature control; memory systems; express up/down windows and automatic headlamps.

An optional integrated trailer brake controller is being offered along with four all-new upfitter switches integrated into the instrument panel, each capable of running 25-amp loads using 12-gauge wires (continuous) and a dedicated underhood power distribution center. A 6-spd. automatic or manual transmission, both available with power take-off (PTO) capability, are being offered. Polished 19.5-in. aluminum wheels available on 4500 and 5500 models are optional.

Dodge noted its 2010 model medium-duty trucks will be offered to fleet customers only with an optional “B20” package that won't void engine warranties. The trucks are scheduled to arrive later this year.


The big news is that Ford's conventional F-Series medium-duty trucks won't undergo much change for the 2010 model year because the company is preparing for the addition of a new diesel engine. Dubbed the “Scorpion,” the 2011 model-year engine — on a universal V8 platform that can be configured as a gasoline or diesel powerplant — effectively replaces Navistar's PowerStroke diesel used in Ford's medium-duty line for many years.

Ford is also trying to address more of the “specific needs” of its commercial customer base by adding a chassis offering to its medium-duty lineup, an F-59 commercial stripped chassis with GVWR offerings of 16,000, 19,500 and 22,000 lbs.

Built on Ford's F-53 Super Duty motor home chassis, the F-59 is designed for parcel/courier services, food distributors, laundry specialists, construction trades and government fleets, among other various applications, according to Rob Stevens, Ford's chief engineer for trucks. The F-59 will come equipped with a 6.8-liter Triton V10 gasoline engine combined with the TorqShift 5-spd. automatic overdrive transmission, standard four-wheel ABS, and stabilizer bars fitted to both front and rear axles for large load-carrying capacity. It will be available in January 2010.

Ford is also rolling out a revised E-Series ambulance preparation package that will be available in van or cutaway configurations. It comes powered by a 6.8-liter Triton V10 gasoline engine to deliver torque comparable to diesel-powered ambulances, while helping lower the cost of ambulance acquisition for private and municipal customers. It will be available for orders later this year.

“These new commercial vehicles demonstrate our ‘One Ford’ strategy … adapting our existing resources to new market opportunities and combining innovative technologies to better deliver on the needs of our customers and end-users,” said Mark Fields, Ford's president of The Americas.


Freightliner Trucks is adding a new variant to its Business Class line of M2e diesel-electric hybrid trucks, developed jointly with hybrid drive supplier Eaton Corp. The newest version marks the first application of the Eaton parallel electric hybrid system to a hazardous-material delivery application. Initial customer Pennington Gas Service delivers propane primarily to residential customers in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana. “Pennington's proposal for a hybrid hazmat delivery truck was certainly a challenge, but after tapping our engineers and partners, such as Eaton Corp. and Signature Truck Systems, we knew that we could make it happen,” said David Bryant, vocational sales manager-hybrids for Freightliner Trucks.

The Eaton parallel system enables the truck to operate using the diesel engine alone or in combination with the hybrid electric motor. The hybrid electric motor also provides additional power to launch the truck, further improving fuel economy in high stop-and-go operations.

Medium-duty Freightliners, according to parent Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), will offer Cummins engines alongside the Detroit Diesel and Mercedes-Benz engine lines supplied by parent DTNA. This means the OEM will offer engines with both SCR and EGR technologies to meet 2010 EPA regulations in the midrange arena. Cummins will supply medium-duty ISB, ISC and ISL engines for Freightliner trucks and chassis in GVW Class 5-7, DTNA said.

The Business Class M2 106 continues to be the “true utility player” in the Freightliner medium lineup, said the OEM. It comes standard with the MBE900 engine and features a chassis designed to support a wide variety of bodies and chassis-mounted equipment. Key vocational features include standard multiplex wiring system, clear frame rails from back of cab, and availability of a range of horizontally mounted exhausts. An optional Cummins diesel engine is available on the M2 106. Productivity features include up to a 55-deg. wheel cut, set back front axle and a swept-back bumper. A 2,500-sq.-in. windshield, low-profile dash and an aerodynamic sloped hood provide “outstanding visibility of the road and work around you,” said Freightliner. In addition, the truck boasts a spacious and comfortable interior along with wide door openings, low step-in heights, and interior and exterior grab handles to help reduce fatigue and offer easy entry and exit.

Freightliner's Business Class M2 106V and M2 112V medium-duty trucks are designed for heavy-duty vocational applications requiring a front engine PTO and front frame extensions. A front engine PTO allows powering a wide variety of equipment from snowplows to refuse packers. The OEM says that the PTO shaft, which is a standard feature on these trucks, runs below the radiator, not through it, for optimal cooling and reliability. Front frame rail extensions are standard and provide a solid mounting point for hydraulic pumps, winches, front stabilizers and snowplows. The M2 106V medium-duty truck features MBE or Cummins engines, and the 112V comes standard with the MBE4000.


New walk-in van powertrain options are the big news for Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp.'s (FCCC) 2010 models. The vehicle acceleration rate management system (VARMS) and the load-based shift scheduling (LBSS) are both touted to achieve more than an 8% increase in fuel economy versus a comparably spec'd vehicle without these features, FCCC noted.

Working with engine manufacturer Cummins, testing included the development and validation of VARMS. This optimized programming system, implemented for use with the Allison 1000/2000 series transmission, includes a means for programming the vehicle's acceleration rate and has been integrated with the chassis powertrain components.

Acceleration rate management, which holds a vehicle's speed to a predetermined rate, provides improved fuel economy and vehicle component life, FCCC said. VARMS is engaged at low speeds to discourage fast starts, thereby improving fuel economy and tire life, and will disengage automatically to allow the vehicle to meet the operational requirements of normal driving conditions.

LBSS, on the other hand, is designed to calculate real-time vehicle load and operating grades and then select the appropriate shift schedule for the task at hand. As the load of the vehicle changes, the transmission calibration can switch between performance-based shifting and economy mode. LBSS automatically selects between an Economy 2,200 rpm variable shift schedule or a Performance 2,500 rpm variable shift schedule based on the actual load and grade in which the vehicle is operating. “Our goal was to maximize fuel economy without sacrificing needed performance,” said Jonathan Randall, FCCC's director of sales and marketing.

The company is also adding an alternatively powered powertrain to its chassis mix and pilot testing a hydraulic hybrid walk-in van chassis. Built on FCCC's MT-55 chassis, this hydraulic hybrid is designed and engineered in partnership with Parker Hannifin Corp. to address environmental and cost-savings concerns, Randall said.

He added that based on preliminary testing, the hybrid improves fuel economy between 50 to 70% via recovery of braking energy; improves engine efficiency; and is equipped with a unique “engine-off” feature that shuts off the truck's engine when stopped or at idle, restarting it when needed.


Not much about Hino's 2010 models will change as the company prepares its 2011 models to meet new, stricter U.S. emissions regulations due to go into effect Jan. 1, 2010. Hino says it's going to use SCR to meet these regulations.

“The EPA 2010 emissions regulation calls for more than an 80% reduction in NOx over the 2007 emissions regulation, and we believe … the [best] solution to meet this challenge is SCR,” said Glenn Ellis, vp-marketing and dealer operations for Hino Trucks.

He added that DEF required to operate engines equipped with SCR is going to be available through all 180 Hino dealers across the U.S. “Because most medium-duty trucks come back to a single domicile every night, we do not see the availability or the maintaining of the appropriate level of DEF in the trucks to be an issue,” Ellis said.

Aside from performance, the “look” of medium-duty trucks is becoming increasingly important to both improve resale value and aesthetic appeal, said Tim Wenger, product development manager for parts at Hino. For that reason, Hino has addied a range of exterior trim accessories under the label “HinoStyle” for its 2005 through 2010 model-year trucks. These are made from 304-grade stainless steel with non-corrosive and non-magnetic properties. HinoStyle accessories include sun visors, hood deflectors, bumper covers, door handle trim, window and cab trim, anti-sail mud flaps, steps and step covers.

Rolled out last November, Wenger noted all HinoStyle stainless steel accessories (excluding electrical components) carry a 12-month, unlimited-mileage product warranty against defects in material or workmanship. “Our new stainless options give drivers the ability to ‘trick out’ their vehicles, and we have seen increasing demand and popularity for this specialty line,” he pointed out.


As Navistar International prepares to meet the 2010 EPA emissions standards with its line of MaxxForce engines, which deploy its own advanced exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) technology, only a few changes are expected to be made to its medium-duty truck models this year. But some of these moves will be significant.

Navistar's medium-duty DuraStar and its severe-service WorkStar truck models will be available equipped with optional Bendix ESP (electronic stability control) technology. The system delivers full-stability performance for a variety of applications, from ambulance and fire trucks to utility, government and construction vehicles. Bendix ESP is an ABS-based stability system capable of recognizing and assisting with both rollover and vehicle under- and over-steer driving situations as well as a variety of road conditions. “Truck customers are constantly looking for ways to prevent crashes and improve the safety of their fleet,” said Jim Hebe, senior vp for North American sales operations. “With this latest stability system, we can provide maximum rollover mitigation and help prevent loss-of-control situations that often result in rollovers on dry, wet, snow- and ice-covered roads.”

On another front, to keep DuraStar and other Navistar truck models equipped with quality parts, the company is rolling out a new global brand of proprietary components for all of its vehicle brands dubbed MaxxPower. These products are engineered and tested to meet the demands of a wide variety of vocations and applications.

MaxxPower products are designed and engineered by and for Navistar trucks and buses as original equipment and are factory-installed. According to the OEM, MaxxPower components are backed by Navistar's comprehensive distribution network with replacement parts and warranty handled through the International Truck, IC Bus and Workhorse dealer networks.


Not much is going to change for Isuzu's 2010 model year, leaving intact much of the redesign its low-cab forward (LCF) vehicles received for the 2008 model year. Engine output now sits at 205 hp. at 2,400 rpm for the 5.2-liter overhead cam, 4HK1-TC turbocharged, intercooled diesel engine, with torque getting a similar boost to 441 lbs.-ft. at 1,850 rpm. That engine covers GVW ranges from 12,000 to 19,500 lbs.

Isuzu's new 5.2-liter diesel can be paired with the Aisin A465 heavy-duty, 6-spd. automatic with double overdrive, or with a 6-spd. manual transmission. It's going to be equipped with SCR technology to comply with 2010 emissions rules starting next year. Todd Bloom, vp-marketing, noted that Isuzu is planning a 4-cyl., SCR-equipped diesel for its lighter range of trucks.

Isuzu still offers a gasoline-fueled Vortec 6-liter V8 engine for the N-Series, delivering 325 hp. and 360 lbs.-ft. of torque, driven through the Hydra-Matic 4L80 4-spd. automatic transmission.

Isuzu N-Series diesel models include the NPR, NPR HD (regular and crew cab), NQR (regular and crew cab) and NRR. The gasoline engine is available in the NPR and NPR HD models. It's available in four different wheelbases and can accommodate truck bodies ranging from 10 to 20 ft. long, and body/payload combinations weighing between 6,829 and 9,411 lbs.


Kenworth Truck is expanding its lineup in the vocational and municipal markets “significantly” with the rollout of the medium-duty Kenworth T470 model. “Kenworth is expanding its product line while other truck manufacturers are exiting the market,” said Gary Moore, assistant gm for marketing and sales. He said the T470 is aimed at snowplow, dump, mixer, winch, refuse, and other heavy front-axle vocational and municipal applications. The new truck is powered by a 9-liter Cummins ISL engine rated for 345 hp. and 1,150 lbs.-ft. of torque. Other features include a range of manual and automatic transmissions; 12,000- to 22,000-lb. rated front axles; 21,000- to 26,000-lb. rated single-rear axles; and 40,000- to 46,000-lb. rated tandem-rear axles.

The T470's fixed grille hood has a 50.5-in. bumper setting for convenient installation of a front engine PTO, said the OEM. The hood allows full extended frame rails for a heat-treated, 120,000 psi steel frame without the need for cutouts, according to the company.

Halogen projector headlamps are standard equipment and the interior of the T470 features the same, high-quality multiplexed dash installed in Kenworth's Class 8 models with a large panel for convenient installation of body controls and gauges. The Kenworth Driver Information Center is standard in the T470 and the Kenworth Extended Day Cab is available as an option. The spacious cab enhances driver comfort with an additional 6 in. of length and 5 in. of cab height compared to Kenworth's traditional day cab, noted the OEM. The Kenworth T470 is available for order.

The previous model to join the KW medium lineup was the Class 5 T170 straight truck, which is offered in a 4×2 configuration with a GVWR of 19,500 lbs. Standard power is provided by a Paccar PX-6 diesel engine rated at 200 hp. and 520 lbs.-ft. of torque. Other standard specs include an 8,000-lb. front axle; 11,500-lb. rear axle; hydraulic brakes; and low-frame height chassis with 19.5-in. wheels and tires. The T170 can be spec'd with a manual or automatic transmission. Also continuing in the Kenworth medium range with no major changes announced are the Class 7 T370, Class 6 T270 and T270 hybrid-electric conventional models, the Class 6 K260 cabover, and the Class 7 K360 cabover.


The big changes for Mitsubishi Fuso for the 2010 model year are going beyond just the trucks themselves, affecting the entire company. Germany's Daimler AG owns some 85% of Mitsubishi Fuso (which is nestled within Daimler's global truck division), and Daimler plans to “realign” the company through the end of 2010, eliminating 2,300 jobs, closing two production plants, and more importantly, cutting the number of Fuso truck models by 50% and parts by 30% by the end of next year.

In the short term, Fuso has reduced inventory levels 45% since the fourth quarter of 2008 and decreased expenses by 20% since the first quarter of 2009. The company implemented temporary shutdowns of its plants and headquarters and minimized spending on non-product-related initiatives, with labor costs reduced via base pay reductions for management and non-management levels, management bonus reductions, and work-sharing initiatives, including overtime reduction and the release of non-full-time employees. Long term, Fuso is expecting higher sales in international markets outside Japan. Over the past six years, Fuso's international sales have grown from 52% (of volume) in 2003 to 78% in 2008, the company said, with higher relative international sales expected to continue and minimal long-term growth expected in the Japanese commercial vehicle market.

To compete better internationally, Fuso continues to focus on developing more aerodynamic and “streamlined” cabs with fewer chassis variations. The heavier Fuso FK and FM Series models offer prime examples of this change. By sporting aerodynamically designed cabs with lower wind drag coefficients, the company says these vehicles are easier to operate and achieve better fuel economy. The interior is a soft oval design coupled with many upgrades to boost driver comfort.

The company is also introducing a new version of its Canter Eco Hybrid light-duty truck. The latest version, released only in Japan at this point, offers fuel economy of about 11.0 km/liter of fuel for the two-ton chassis, and 10 km/liter for the three-ton version.

First released in July 2006, the Canter Eco Hybrid with its parallel hybrid system significantly reduces fuel consumption and emissions while providing easy operation on the job. Sales of the Canter Eco Hybrid have exceeded 600 units since launch, the company noted.


Peterbilt Motors Co. has grown its medium-duty hybrid offerings with the addition of a Class 7 diesel-electric hybrid designed for applications such as beverage and regional delivery that require a trailer. The Model 335 Hybrid uses the Eaton diesel-electric hybrid drive system. This uses an electric motor to assist the Paccar PX-6 diesel engine with supplemental torque for up to 25% fuel economy gains in local-haul service, said the OEM. The system stores energy during stopping through regenerative braking and then reuses it for acceleration; fuel use, emissions and noise are greatly reduced, according to Peterbilt.

“Peterbilt's new Class 7 Model 335 Hybrid electric tractor provides local-haul applications the benefits of a hybrid system combined with traditional Peterbilt quality, durability, performance and styling,” said Bill Jackson, Peterbilt gm & Paccar vp. Along with the Eaton hybrid system, the Model 335 Hybrid tractor features the proprietary in-dash 7-in. Paccar Hybrid System Monitor. The unit's display provides information on both fuel economy and battery state of charge, allowing the driver to modify behavior to maximize fuel economy. The display also provides full diagnostic capabilities for the hybrid system including system operating status.

According to Peterbilt, its lineup of medium-duty production hybrids includes the Model 330 Hybrid with a non-CDL option for short-haul P&D applications, and the Model 335 Hybrid for P&D and beverage applications, and municipal and utility operations.

Peterbilt is continuing to offer crew-cab conversion options for customers seeking additional cab space and a four-door crew cab for its medium-duty Models 325, 330, 335 and 340. The conversion options extend the BBC length to 157 in. and use a one-piece fiberglass roof extension to increase interior height up to 61 in. The conversion options also increase the driver's interior cab space by adding 52 in. to the length of the cab and make the width at the rear 84 in. Crew-cab options include an extended horizontal exhaust pipe, separate heater or heater/air conditioner, exterior access steps, carpet and custom trim packages, as well as DuPont Imron Elite base/clear paint. Bench and bucket seats are available in addition to fire service SCBA (self-contained breathing apparatus) seats.

Peterbilt said its crew-cab conversion is done in partnership with three separate suppliers — Bentz Transport Products, Schwable Trucks and Weldon Manufacturing — “to provide all the necessary components to convert a medium-duty, two-door day cab into a four-door crew cab.”

UD Trucks

Not much is changing for UD Trucks' 2010 model-year units, said Dave Trussell, marketing manager for builder Nissan Diesel America. Both Nissan Diesel America and its parent company, Japan's Nissan Diesel Motor Co., are now subsidiaries of AB Volvo after the Swedish truck and equipment maker acquired them in March 2007.

Trussell noted that Nissan Diesel is targeting the 2011 model year for major upgrades to its UD line as it plans to unveil a new proprietary medium-duty engine equipped with SCR emissions control technology developed in concert with Volvo. That new engine will be offered with a wider selection of manual and automatic transmission options, whereas UD models currently only have one manual and one automatic transmission model from which to choose. Trussell said the increased transmission options will allow Nissan Diesel to offer UD trucks in new segments, such as the refuse collection and recycling markets, where off-road capability is a must-have.

Details on the new engine and transmission options won't be released until August or September, when pre-production 2011 test models hit the road, said Trussell. He stressed, however, that the new engine will provide more horsepower and torque to end users and that the SCR system and diesel particulate filter will be packaged together in a single “module” on the vehicle. The SCR system's DEF tank is going to hold 8 gals. of liquid, which should be plenty enough so a truck equipped with a standard 50-gal. diesel fuel tank does not have to load up on DEF every day.


Workhorse Custom Chassis is focused on tighter integration with Navistar International, its parent company, in terms of both executive staffing and products. The OEM rolled out its new W16D chassis this year, which featured the first appearance of the International MaxxForce 5 V6 diesel engine. Mated to an Allison 1000 Series automatic transmission, the MaxxForce 5 produces 200 hp. and 440 lbs.-ft. of torque. Other key W16D features include high-performance Brembo four-wheel disc brakes, a 50-deg. wheel cut, and an electronic instrument cluster with full instrumentation and information center.

Navistar, which acquired Workhorse in 2005, has made a number of changes to its executive structure this year, including tapping long-time Navistar and Ford executive David Tarrant to be CEO in addition to his duties as vp & gm for light-duty vehicles and joint ventures for Navistar. Tarrant said that a prime example of Navistar-Workhorse synergy at work is the recent integration of the Intenational MaxxForce 7 diesel engine with Workhorse's popular W20/W22 chassis as well as the MaxxForce 5 powering the W16D. “By using our Navistar resources, I expect Workhorse to be on the leading edge of cost-competitive solutions targeted to meet customer needs, while also producing long-term, profitable growth for the company,” Tarrant said.

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