Fleet owners, especially of medium- and heavy-duty power units, may not be in the best of buying moods next year, given their concerns about how much trucks with EPA '07-compliant diesel engines may cost to buy and run. Nonetheless, there will be plenty of tires to kick on perhaps the biggest convoy of all-new or updated Class 1 to 8 commercial vehicles to come into view in quite some time.
Many of the new-for-'07 trucks are indeed new thanks to '07. In many cases, OEMs needed to make adjustments to their cab and chassis designs to properly engineer in EPA '07 engines.
While the '07 engines have had a massive impact on medium- and heavy-duty trucks, the lighter side of trucking is also enjoying a design renaissance. There are new models available from several Class 3 to 7 manufacturers and many Class 1 to 2 commercial pickups and vans now boast major improvements.
All told, 2007 will be a bellwether year in truck design. And if the economy keeps chugging along as it has for some time now and truck buyers become convinced they have little to fear from the new engines, more of these trucks may get sold than the doomsayers are predicting now in the sunny summer of '06.