The Number 1 Resource for Vocational Truck Fleets

Green Fleet

Work Truck Commemorates 10th Anniversary

December 2016, Work Truck - Cover Story

by Lauren Fletcher - Also by this author

Since its inception in 2007, Work Truck magazine has become the No. 1 resource for vocational fleet managers in North America.

Here is just a sampling of the many important news items and trends over the past 10 years, in which Work Truck has become your go-to information source:

2007

The first issue of Work Truck magazine debuted (March/April).

In 2007, Sterling launched a new vocational truck, the Sterling Bullet, and Dodge introduced an all-new light-duty Cummins turbodiesel engine. GM announced several enhancements to its medium-duty lineup. The FMCSA proposed a “Black Box” ruling. Operating expenses were up for medium-duty trucks and Dodge launched the all-new Ram 4500 and 5500 Chassis Cabs while Ford updated the E-Series wagon and van. Also introduced was the all-new Dodge Sprinter.

Peterbilt started a partnership with Eaton and Wal-Mart on a hybrid-electric Model 386 and new ultra-low sulfur diesel (ULSD) fuel hit the market. Additionally, DaimlerChrysler Financial Services started offering full-service truck leasing.

Kenworth introduced the Class 6 hybrid truck, the T270, and FedEx and UPS continued the “greening” of their fleets with hybrid-electric trucks. Catalytic converter thefts were also on the rise.

Mitsubishi Fuso re-entered the Class 3 market with the FE125 and fleets continued to work on “greening” their fleets, with Green Mountain Coffee announcing a move to biodiesel. Isuzu launched the new 2008 model-year N-Series LCF and interest in telematics solutions continued.

Fleet managers discussed the impacts on their fleets one-year after the stricter EPA regulations aimed to reduce sulfur content in diesel fuel. Additionally, diesel engines built Jan. 1, 2007 or later had to meet new diesel emissions standards, including the use of diesel particulate filters (DPF).

2008

2008 brought about the start of the economic crisis, with nearly 800 trucking companies going out of business in late 2008. There was a strong focus on alt-fuels, with the Miles Electric Vehicles debut of an all-electric work truck, fleets such as BMC West operating new Kenworth medium-duty hybrid trucks, and Purolator Courier using an electric delivery vehicle. Fleet managers continued to use DPFs and work through challenges.

Dodge debuted the 2009 Ram truck, and Ford and U-Haul launched a fleet of eco-friendly painted vehicles.

Medium-duty truck operating costs increased once again, around 4-7% over the prior year. GM moved to fill the cutaway gap with a new 14,200-pound GVWR G-Van diesel.

Workhorse renamed its walk-in truck the MetroStar, Con Edison worked to develop a “green” cable truck with Dejana Utility Trucks and ZAP created Xebra compact electric trucks. Hino offered extended cab options and Isuzu eliminated the need for diesel to run the compressor on reefer trucks. Fleet managers continued to debate the benefits of gasoline or diesel in medium-duty trucks and search for anti-idling solutions.

WT’s first-ever Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award was presented to Ford for the F-Series Super Duty.

Sterling Truck launched a natural-gas-powered Sterling Set-Back 113 and Hino enhanced its 2009-MY truck lineup. The FedEx hybrid-electric fleet surpassed the 2-million-mile mark and Alliant Energy Corp. switched units over to biodiesel. ASTM International published new biodiesel specifications as well and Navistar offered a hybrid-battery lease.

Caterpillar partnered with Navistar and rising commodity prices threatened to increase truck prices. The Reading Group acquired America’s Body Corp., Ford launched the “blind-spot mirror,” and GM added an Xtra Fuel Economy (XFE) truck to its lineup. Dodge debuted the first-ever, 2009-MY Ram Crew Cab.

With the continued “green” focus, Bobit Business Media launched the inaugural Green Fleet Conference.

2009

Continuing the economic crisis and green focus from the previous year, International added the DuraStar Hybrid tractor to its lineup and Goodyear idled truck tire production at two plants for two weeks. Fluctuating pump prices made fleet managers reignite the gasoline vs. diesel decision.

Isuzu announced the intent to use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to achieve 2010 emissions standards. Mitsubishi Fuso consolidated its North American operations. The EPA named idle-reduction systems eligible for federal excise tax exemptions and new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards were announced for chassis and upfitters for 2009. A malfunction indicator light and diagnostic trouble codes were required on heavy-duty trucks.

Ford revealed the 2010-MY F-59 Super Duty commercial stripped chassis and PHH Arval launched a truck risk and safety program. Smith Electric Vehicles selected Kansas City, Mo., as its assembly plant location. Also, Dodge Sprinter sales cease, with Mercedes-Benz picking up the nameplate.

The Ford F-Series won the second Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award from WT.

Operating costs continued to increase in the 2008 calendar-year for medium-duty trucks and ROUSH introduced propane-autogas-powered Ford F-250/F-350 models.

GM announced the end of the production of medium-duty truck units, the Chevrolet Kodiak and GMC Topkick. Isuzu Commercial Truck of America celebrated 25 years in the U.S. market and Continental offered retread tires for medium-duty trucks. Coca-Cola made a large investment in hybrid trucks and fleets looked at upfitters versus bailment pools.

On July 10, 2009, the “New GM” was officially launched and Daimler Truck Financial celebrated its 35th anniversary. Ford unveiled a new diesel for the 2011-MY Super Duty and Freightliner and Enova partnered on an all-electric commercial chassis. Navistar & Caterpillar announced a global truck joint venture and Penske turned to eBay Motors to sell used trucks. Truck fleet accident management costs continued to fluctuate with spending down and parts prices relatively flat.

2010

Invention and regulation were themes of the 2010 calendar-year. The EPA enacted the heavy-duty onboard diagnostic ruling, requiring trucks over 14,001-pounds GVWR to have an OBD system. The economy began to recover from the 2008-2009 economic crisis, but while rising, medium-duty truck sales were still at the lowest point in 20 years.

Ford launched the first inflatable seat belts on the Ford Explorer and Ram added Crew Cab models to the 2011-MY 3500, 4500, and 5500 Chassis Cab series. The 2010 diesel emissions reductions brought about diesel emissions fluid (DEF) for use with SCR technology. Isuzu Commercial Truck of America launched the

Priority Service Maintenance program. ROUSH offered a propane-autogas-powered Ford E-Series van.

Freightliner launched the natural-gas-powered Business Class M2 112 NG.

Kenworth expanded its product line with the Westport ISL-G natural gas engines and Navistar added a parts recovery program. Telematics use in medium-duty truck fleets continued to expand.

Navistar unveiled its International TerraStar Class 4-5 work truck, Freightliner debuted its all-electric walk-in van (WIV) chassis, and Ford announced a battery-powered version of the Transit Connect. Daimler Vans USA launched the fourth new Sprinter model, the shuttle van.

The Ford F-Series Super Duty wins the third-consecutive WT Medium-Duty Truck of the Year award.

Carbon fiber is used to lightweight truck bodies. Ford added a V-10 gasoline engine for medium-duty chassis cab models and Isuzu launched the 2011-MY NPR Eco-Max truck. Nissan entered the commercial market with the Nissan NV.

Frito-Lay launched all-electric truck models and UPS began a trial of fully-electric walk-in vans.

Big news at the end of 2010 was the implementation of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program, which went into effect December 13, 2010.

2011

In the beginning of 2011, fleet managers began to voice concerns for CSA 2010, with some unprepared for the program. Ford introduced an all-new F-150 powertrain lineup and the trademark brown UPS delivery trucks started going “green” with the purchase of 130 hybrid-electric vehicles. Tire makers also focused on going green with the EPA SmartWay program, and ROUSH CleanTech focused on driving propane autogas forward.

WT interviewed Jim Dondlinger about the acquisition of Auto Truck Group by Fleet Body Equipment and truck fleets continued to focus on the use of telematics to track vehicles and identify “problem” drivers. The Isuzu Eco-Max truck returned from a two-month tour, and the Nissan NV was introduced to the fleet market. Boulder Electric Vehicles also became CARB zero-emissions certified.

The 2011 Work Truck Show saw the Ram Chassis Cab named WT’s Medium-Duty Truck of the Year.

Fleet managers looked for strategies in dealing with fuel costs and related challenges and truck tire prices continued to rise. Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America (MFTA) launched an all-new Canter FE/FG Series work truck for the Class 3-5 truck market. The Ford E-Series also celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Hino added 2012 model-year Class 4-5 cab-over-engine (COE) models, including a diesel-electric hybrid, and Isuzu Commercial Truck of America started the production of gasoline-powered N-Series trucks.

A shortage of medium-duty trucks in the wholesale market was seen, due to the low volume of units ordered from 2007 to 2010.

Daimler Truck Financial and MFTA partnered on financing and Ford partnered with Azure Dynamics on plug-in hybrid-electric Super Duty trucks.

2012

The commercial vehicle market began to rebound, with the start of 2012 reporting medium-duty truck sales growth of 33% from 2009. Fleets continued the surge toward fuel-efficiency with Republic Services investing $5 million in a CNG station and vehicle conversions, while Daimler Trucks North America celebrated the delivery of its 1,000th natural gas truck and Azure Dynamics delivered its 1,000th Balance hybrid-electric truck. Isuzu Commercial Truck of America also began production on the Isuzu REACH van.

The FMCSA released a final, new hours-of-service (HOS) rule for commercial truck drivers and Clean Energy unveiled the concept for the “Natural Gas Highway for Trucks.” Accident costs continued to rise through the beginning of 2012, mostly due to rising parts and material costs. Ford announced the end of the Ranger pickup truck, which caused more than a few fleet selector changes. The battle between fiberglass and steel service bodies continued.

Mitsubishi Fuso introduced all-new 2013-MY Fuso Canter trucks and Navistar unveiled the International LoadStar low-cab forward truck. CleanFUEL worked with Freightliner to introduce a liquefied propane gas (LPG) medium-duty truck, the S2G. Residual values for Class 3-8 trucks increased from around 20% of a vehicle’s value in 2007 to around 50% of a vehicle’s value in 2012.

The Isuzu REACH van was named the 2012 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year by WT readers.

Bobit Business Media acquired Newport Business Media and with it WT’s sister truck publication, HDT magazine.

DHL launched a fleet of 100 propane-autogas delivery vans, and Pep Boys relaunched its Fleet Services Program. Advanced high-strength steel became a larger part of specialty service bodies. Navistar shuttered the doors for Workhorse Custom Chassis.

Freightliner marked the production of its 500,000th vehicle, several fleets began testing the electric Nissan e-NV200, and Ford unveiled the all-new Transit and Transit Connect. Mercedes-Benz unveils a number of Sprinter van options and updates. UD Trucks announced the end of U.S. truck sales.

2013

More fleets turned to alternative fuels with Freightliner adding hydraulic hybrid vehicles, and Enterprise delivering with CNG trucks. Verizon and VIA Motors unveiled an extended-range electric cargo van and Westport Innovations expanded its offerings with a CNG Ford F-450 and F-550.

Aluminum began to take hold as a new lightweight alternative for service bodies, and fleets prepared for the 2014 electronic on-board recorder (EOBR) regulations announced by the FMCSA. In addition, the new HOS rules by the FMCSA went into effect July 1, 2013.

Chrysler launched the Ram Commercial Truck division and added the ProMaster to its commercial vehicle lineup. Truck leasing growth was on track to outpace commercial rental in 2013.

The Isuzu N-Series was named the 2013 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year by WT readers.

Toyota unveiled the 2014 Tundra full-sized pickup truck and Ram Truck announced the addition of a diesel engine for the 2014 Ram 1500. Ford revealed the Transit Van Chassis Cab and Cutaway models.

GM announced it was bringing all-new mid-size pickup trucks to the U.S. market for the 2014-MY as well as a 2014 bi-fuel version of the Silverado 2500HD and Sierra 2500HD. The Fuso Canter Truck celebrated its 50th anniversary. XL Hybrids and Knapheide manufacturing partnered on a hybrid-electric powertrain for Class 1-3 trucks.

Mitsubishi Fuso Truck added a solar option on Canter FE/FG series and Hino’s 195 diesel and 195h hybrid truck models are offered with a double cab. Cabovers continued to gain popularity in medium-duty truck fleets over conventional cabs. Compact vans garnered new popularity, and the compact Nissan NV200 is previewed.

2014

Class 5-7 truck sales continued to increase, and Union Leasing acquired Express 4x4 Rental. Navistar began shipments of the first International DuraStar with the Cummins ISB 6.7L engine.

GM announced the elevation of Mary Barra as CEO, replacing Dan Akerson. Automakers begin to work toward new 2017-2025 model-year CAFE goals.

Ford introduced the aluminum Ford F-150 for the 2015-MY. Ram announced the launch of a small cargo van, the Ram ProMaster City for the 2015-MY and GM re-entered the mid-size market with the 2015-MY Chevrolet Colorado and introduced the GMC Canyon. Isuzu introduced the diesel N-Series model, while Mitsubishi Fuso introduced the new FE130 Class 3 cabover.

The International TerraStar 4x4 was named the 2014 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year by WT readers.

Alkane Truck Company launched a new Class 7 propane autogas truck to the U.S. market. AT&T continued to grow its alt-fuel fleet with the addition of its 8,000th CNG vehicle, a Chevrolet Express. Clyde launched a medium-duty CNG truck line, and Allison developed a stop-start technology for a medium-duty transmission. Ram Trucks announced the adoption of SAE towing standards for all 2015-MY trucks.

Navistar shipped the first vocational trucks with 9.0L and 10.0L SCR engines. The Class 4-7 truck resale market was still volatile, with a nominal change over 2013. Eaton discontinued its lineup for diesel-electric hybrid trucks.

One of the most poignant dates that impacted WT in 2014 was the passing of Ed Bobit, founder of Bobit Business Media, on June 29.

2015

Innovation was a key concept for 2015. The first aluminum Ford F-150 rolled off the assembly line and the automaker hit a milestone of 7 million Ford Explorer sales. A trio of EcoTec engines was offered for the 2015-MY Chevrolet Silverado, and Hino Trucks marked its 30th anniversary in the U.S., while Terex celebrated the 70th anniversary of digger derricks. Nestle continued its quest to green its fleet with the addition of propane autogas delivery trucks, while PG&E unveiled a plug-in hybrid-electric Class 5 bucket truck, and Asplundh debuted a propane-autogas bucket truck. Also, the Class 5 truck segment continued to grow.

VIA Motors began building a hybrid Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and the compact van segment grew by 25% in 2014 vs. the prior year. Fuel prices continued to drop to the lowest levels since the 2008 economic crisis.

The Ram Chassis Cab was named the 2015 WT Medium-Duty Truck of the Year.

Drones became a consideration for fleet operations, with Workhorse considering a drone delivery vehicle.

ConocoPhillips added 300 propane-autogas trucks, and Isuzu Commercial Truck of America delivered its 500,000th truck in North America. PACCAR offered a medium-duty truck leasing program, and GM announced a $1.2 billion investment in the Indiana truck plant. Navistar also unveiled a new proving ground in New Carlisle, Ind.

WorkStar entered production with its 6.7L Cummins engine, and Mercedes-Benz launched the Metris mid-size van for the 2016-MY.

Time Warner added 540 aluminum Ford F-150s to its fleet and Isuzu announced a Class 3 NPR diesel cabover model. Hino Trucks brought Class 4 cabovers to market with the 155 model. Chevrolet introduced the Duramax diesel to the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado. Increased demand and rail delays created an “upfitter logjam” in 2015.

2016

Work Truck magazine celebrated 10 years providing the commercial fleet industry with expert information and goes monthly.

The Alkane COE truck received DOT approval, and Ryder extended its full-service lease to beverage fleets.

Nissan began production on the Titan XD, which will offer a V-8 gasoline-engine option, and GM and the U.S. Army tested hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Colorado trucks. Daimler Trucks North America announced that it will bring medium-duty engines to the U.S.

Ford entered into drone delivery testing with the Ford F-150 and the Cummins engine lineup gained 2017 GHG certification. The USPS announced that it will update its fleet with the Ram ProMaster cargo van.

GM announced that 700 mild-hybrid Silverado and Sierra trucks will be sold by California dealers and the first tri-fuel system was installed on a Ford F-350 4x4 pickup by Niyato Industries. Diesel fell below $2 per gallon for the first time in 11 years in February 2016. Eaton expanded its transmission lineup and GM invested $148 million in V-8 engines.

The Ford F-650/F-750 was named the 2016 Medium-Duty Truck of the Year.

Isuzu Commercial Truck of America debuted the 2018 FTR Class 6 work truck. Automakers such as Ford and GM added trailer and camera systems for towing to select trucks. GM announced a new diesel-powered Express van. Alliance AutoGas converted a Ford F-150 to propane autogas in record-breaking time.

International launched the all-new HX Series. A pair of deadly earthquakes in Japan impacted Toyota and Hino production. Isuzu Commercial Truck of America announced a new president, the first American president of the company. Ram announced new PTO offerings, including right- and left-hand options.

Diesel truck residual values became better than that of gasoline-powered models. UPS added a two-cylinder engine to hybrid trucks to boost range, and the Chevrolet Colorado offered a box-delete option.

Diesel prices began to rise again from record lows. Isuzu celebrated the 30,000th N-Series truck, and Navistar announced that it will build GM’s cutaway vans. Low-cab forward registrations rose 9.3%.

Nissan announced the addition of a single-cab Titan for the 2017-MY. Ford enhanced the Super Duty lineup for 2017 with aluminum cabs and beds, with the first all-new Super Duty in 18 years. The U.S. DOT and EPA released Phase 2 greenhouse gas emissions regulations. New motor oils are announced: CK-4 and FA-4.

Verizon announced the acquisition of Fleetmatics. Navistar and VW created a strategic alliance when VW acquired a 16.6% equity stake in Navistar. BMW signed a multi-year contract to power Workhorse trucks.

Mitsubishi Fuso showed its all-electric medium-duty truck, the eCanter. The first autonomous truck shipment was made by Budweiser. New rules related to overtime exemptions were put into motion.

The Bottom Line

In 10 years, a lot has happened in the work truck industry, and the next 10 years promises more changes, vehicle and technology enhancements, and WT magazine will continue to be your No. 1, go-to resource for vocational truck fleets.

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