ArvinMeritor today announced it will drop its line of Meritor-branded fully manual truck transmissions—which it has offered since 1989—to “strategically” shift its emphasis to the FreedomLine automated manual transmissions produced by Germany’s ZF Friedrichshafen (ZF)which ArvinMeritor has been marketing in North America since 1998.
The move is “due to dynamics that have severely limited the company's addressable markets,” ArvinMeritor stated in a news release.
"We are absolutely convinced that we have the most advanced and proven technology solution with the FreedomLine for our North American customers," said Tom Gosnell, president of ArvinMeritor’s Commercial Vehicle Systems business unit. "We pledge to expand the number of motor carriers and their drivers who are delighted with the performance and benefits of our FreedomLine."
The company will honor all current manual transmission orders placed with ArvinMeritor, Inc. and all orders received prior to September 2006 provided they are to be delivered no later than January 2007. All Meritor manual transmissions sold and in service will continue to be supported by the company for an “extended period of time,” noted D. Mike Pennington, senior director--- global marketing communications & industry relations for ArvinMeritor Commercial Vehicle Systems.
The Meritor manuals were introduced before automated manuals began to gain interest among fleet owners concerned with making truck driving more appealing to a wider pool of workers while not undermining truck fuel efficiency.
According to ArvinMeritor, the FreedomLine is “proven, reliable and operated in thousands of trucks owned by progressive-minded fleet owners. It is clearly a transmission designed with the operator in mind and it addresses North American end-users' concerns for driver shortage, driver retention and importantly, a significant increase in fuel efficiency-- as much as 6%, according to fleet data.”
“Understandably, with workforce demographics now bringing in more new drivers unfamiliar with manual shifting, the market is telling us automated manuals is where lies the interest,” Pennington told FleetOwner. “Both the 12- and 16-sp. FreedomLine models are aimed at Class 8 linehaul applications.”
The company noted that production of the FreedomLine will remain at ArvinMeritor's Laurinburg, NC, facility, and the workforce for the manual transmissions will be “absorbed into production positions on other components in the facility.”
For more information, go to www.arvinmeritor.com.