If you believe the economists and researchers who spoke at the ACT Research’s 53rd Seminar last week in Columbus, Ind., then 2016 is going to be another decent year for new truck sales. While Kenny Veith, president and senior analyst for ACT Research, expects the market to be down somewhat, he is still predicting North American truck production at 296,000 units for 2016. And because fleet profitability is high, he sees them continuing to make investments in new iron.
That’s good news for the entire trucking, but is also a great opportunity for those of us working on improving freight efficiency.
My colleagues who attended the event shared some great information with me on the strides the trucking industry is making in getting more miles per gallon.
In his presentation, Brian Cota, vice president of sales, national accounts for Daimler Trucks North America, shared some statistics on what Daimler is seeing in new Freightliner truck orders.
He reported a very high use of aerodynamics on Cascadia sleeper tractors.
Since 2013, Freightliner has seen automated transmissions move from ~10% of the market to what it estimates will be ~50% this year and ~75% by the end of 2016. We are seeing this trend in the spec’ing of AMTs by many fleets large and small.
Eleven percent of Freightliner sleepers get diesel APUs and 13% come with battery HVAC systems. Cota said it is too soon to tell if APUs will have value on the secondary market, but as I said in last week’s blog we all need to be out in the marketplace talking to the second truck owners about the value of these types of technologies so that trucks equipped with things like APUs don’t lose value in the secondary market.
And while Daimler was the only OEM represented at the seminar, our conversations with other OEMs show me that no matter what the nameplate fleets are actively investing in some of these fuel savings technologies. Take a look at NACFE’s findings on various technologies at www.truckingefficiency.org. While the take rate on some of them may not be as high as I personally would like to see, it is gratifying to know that OEMs are making these technologies available, dealership salespeople are talking to customers about them and some fleets are testing the waters.
Next year fleets will continue to have opportunities to take advantage of many of these technologies to make themselves even more efficient and we will continue to provide the industry with unbiased information that will help them make the right decisions.