The buzz hasn't been this loud in five years. New trucks — light, medium or heavy — are hot again.
And from what we hear around the industry, the bigger they are the faster they're going. Class 8 sales are expected to hit record levels this calendar year and next, thanks to pent-up demand unleashed by an economy finally in recovery — and by highway fleets pre-buying now to avoid purchasing heavy-duty trucks when the next round of EPA engine-emission regs hit in '07.
Whatever the reason heavy-duty fleets are out there filling up order boards, there has never been a wider range of Class 8 vehicles to choose from to get the right truck for the job. Most OEMs have plenty of new features to talk about, especially for their vocational “work truck” offerings. And several hinted at major product rollouts later this year, no doubt to coincide with the fall spate of major truck shows.
When it comes to Class 3-7 medium-duty trucks, the big news is that the old argument over conventional vs. cabover is very much back in vogue. While one OEM has ditched its cabovers for a whole new conventional-only lineup, one of the biggest players has added a cabover line alongside its existing conventional range. Other OEMs have added new models or made extensive changes to existing trucks
On the light-duty side, commercial Class 1-2 vehicles continue to gain more of the features once common only on heavier trucks. Several OEMs are rolling out all-new pickups while others are making improvements primarily geared toward increasing the efficiency and productivity of their vehicle on the job.
Ready to kick some tires?