Isuzu notches 23rd year at the top

Continuing its extraordinary domination of the overall Australian truck market, Isuzu Trucks has recorded its 23rd consecutive year atop the sales charts with total market leadership in 2011.

Official T-mark industry reports reveal Isuzu finished 2011 with a total of 6617 units delivered and a market share of almost 24 percent – 3283 units and 11.8 percent ahead of its nearest competitor.

The brand positively blitzed the light-duty segment selling 3320 units for the year. This represents a 37.6 percent share which is more than the combined shares of respective second and third placegetters Fuso and Hino.

Isuzu also comfortably led medium-duty truck sales with a total of 2553 units denoting 40.7 percent market share. This result left Isuzu more than 17 percent clear of Hino in this segment with a volume buffer of over one thousand units.

The brand also performed admirably in the heavy-duty market – with a 7.9 percent market share and volume of 744 units confirming Isuzu’s position as Australia’s favourite Japanese brand in the heavy-duty class.

Isuzu Australia Limited (IAL) director and chief operating officer Phil Taylor said the brand had remained resilient despite last year’s demanding business conditions and the impact of natural disasters in Japan.

“Given the challenges of 2011, we are very pleased with the outcome,” Taylor said. “The combination of a challenging business environment coupled with the flooding in Queensland and Japanese natural disasters – which subsequently affected vehicle production – made for an extremely demanding year.”

He went on to confirm that the company remained positive about the year ahead.

“Our business analysts predict upwards of four percent growth in the truck market this year,” he stated. “While this will still leave the industry and broader economy some way off buoyant pre-GFC levels, it will nonetheless provide a positive trend for a gradual return to stronger growth in the medium to longer term.”

UD ‘top of the Japs’ in over 350 hp class

UD Trucks has continued to dominate the over 350 hp Japanese heavy-duty bracket, claiming top spot for the seventh consecutive year with sales of its GK, GW and CW models, now collectively known as Quon.

Prior to the start of UD’s reign at the top of the charts, the earlier CW 385/445 models held down second place in the same segment for three years running, giving the company an unbroken decade in the top two positions.

The Quon Euro 5 models launched in mid-2011 feature as standard an SRS driver’s airbag and seatbelt pre-tensioner, a front under-run protection system (FUPS), an all new-touch screen entertainment and navigation system and new A-pillar grab handles for improved cab access.

Last year also saw the reintroduction of the legendary CW nameplate to the Quon range, with the designation being applied to the long wheelbase model suited to heavy-duty rigid applications such as furniture vans and tilt trays.

All up, since January 2008 UD Trucks has sold a total of 603 GW, GK and new generation CW units.

“The Australian sales success of the Quon series of heavy-duty trucks and its predecessors demonstrates that our clients look for well engineered and environmentally friendly trucks,” said Erik J. Andersson, vice president, UD sales. “Driver safety is also a high priority for many fleet managers now, which made the decision to equip the entire Quon range with a standard driver’s airbag an easy one.

“With the latest ECO Fleet emission reduction system in place on the Quon, the power plant has been developed to meet the stringent JPLT 05 standard,” Erik added. “Needless to say, we won’t be resting on our laurels, and we aim to continue improving our product line-up into the future.” launches in 2012

On behalf of my colleagues at The Intermedia Group (TIG), I’d like to warmly welcome you to the freshest website dedicated to providing the Australian trucking fraternity with the very latest news and information from here and abroad.

Dovetailing with DIESEL magazine, TIG’s bi-monthly trucking publication that was established in 2001, our aim with this website is to provide our readers with the most comprehensive industry coverage possible.

We will at all times endeavour to provide accurate and up to date content and any feedback or suggestions you might have as to how we may improve this service will be gladly welcomed. Furthermore, we’ll be happy to consider for publishing any submissions of news or views pertinent to the industry.

As can be seen from the following news stories, 2012 is shaping up as a positive year for the industry with a number of truck and equipment manufacturers planning to ramp up production in anticipation of increased customer demand.

This upward trend has been reflected in steadily improving new truck and equipment sales in the latter part of last year following the devastating natural disasters that occurred in several parts of the world including Australia.

All up, despite the ongoing economic uncertainty in Europe, the future looks bright for our industry and we look forward to growing with it in the years ahead.

Thanks for your support and enjoy the read.

Paul Matthei


Heil Trailer sold to US interests

Formerly owned by Dover Corporation, global road tanker and specialty trailer manufacturer Heil Trailer International has been sold to American Industrial Partners, a middle market private equity firm.

The deal is said to be worth approximately US$220 million.

Following the sale, Heil Trailer appointed Randall Swift as its chief executive officer. Prior to joining Heil Trailer, Swift was CEO of Allied Specialty Vehicles Inc (ASV), manufacturer of a diverse range of specialty vehicles including ambulances, terminal trucks, fire trucks, school buses, and motor homes, among other products. ASV is a portfolio company of American Industrial Partners.

In addition, Bob Foster has re-joined Heil Trailer as its chairman of the board. Foster was president of Heil Trailer for 15 years prior to his retirement in 2006, during which time he successfully led a number of growth initiatives that more than doubled the company’s size and made it a globally diversified operation.

“I look forward to continuing the company’s focus on the fundamental elements of what built Heil Trailer into the business it is today – taking care of our customers and manufacturing the highest quality products in the industry,” Foster said. “I am very pleased to be once again part of an independent Heil Trailer.”

Heil Trailer was founded in Wisconsin in 1901 and is headquartered in Athens, Tennessee. The company is a global enterprise with three manufacturing facilities in North America, in addition to facilities in both Thailand and Argentina which address the growing emerging markets of Asia and Latin America respectively.

Paccar looks to India as profits soar

Paccar president and CEO, Mark Pigott.
Leading US truck and engine manufacturer Paccar is reportedly planning to source components and technology from India  for its global operations.

The company recently participated for the first time in India’s Auto Expo and has set up a technical centre in the Indian district of Pune in partnership with technology solutions company, KPIT Cummins Infosystems.

“Our focus in India right now is to successfully launch the technical centre in Pune to develop solutions for global requirements and introduce ourselves to the supplier base here,” Donald J. Schulte, Paccar’sIndiainitiative managing director, told reporters at a press conference. “We have just started getting in contact with suppliers here … and work at the technical centre has also begun. By the end of this year we will hire 200 employees.”

Despite these developments, the company has reportedly told the India Times newspaper it has no current plans to sell or assemble its products in the country.

The news on Paccar’s Indian interests comes alongside the company continuing its extraordinary history of strong financial performances, announcing a $281.6 million profit for the third quarter of 2011; a 64 percent increase over the $119.9 million profit for the same quarter in 2010.

The rise has been largely attributed to increases in North American and European truck sales of 80 and 64 percent respectively.

Better results for its financial services also helped the maker of Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF trucks record total revenue of $4.26 billion for the quarter, which according to the company’s president and CEO, Mark Pigott, is the highest quarterly revenue in its history.

“Increased truck deliveries, higher aftermarket sales and a growing financial services business worldwide contributed to increased profits,” Pigott said in reporting the result.

Paccar’s net income for the first nine months of 2011 totalled $714.6 million ($1.95 per share), which was more than double the $287.8 million ($0.79 per share) earned in the first three quarters of 2010.


Vale: Ted Van Fleet

Current CVIAQ president Bob Martin (left) with Ted Van Fleet, the association’s inaugural president who passed away just before Christmas.

The Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Queensland (CVIAQ) is in mourning following the loss of founding member and inaugural president Ted Van Fleet, who passed away peacefully on December 18, aged 84 years.

Ted was instrumental in the CVIAQ’s formation in 1970, accepting the position of chairman in its founding year and holding office as president until 1972. He also played significant roles in establishing commercial vehicle associations in other states and ultimately bringing the state associations together to form the Commercial Vehicle Industry Association of Australia (CVIAA).

Ted was also part of the group of industry identities responsible for the development and subsequent organisation of the inaugural Queensland Truck Show held at the premises of Haulmark Trailers in 1968. His leadership helped lay the foundation for the future success of the show, taking it from strength to strength throughout the ‘70s.

“The entire commercial vehicle industry ofQueenslandwas saddened to hear of Ted’s passing,” said current CVIAQ president Bob Martin. “The Brisbane Truck Show stands as a legacy of the hard work and determination that founding members like Ted put in all those years ago.

“We were very fortunate to have him with us at the last Brisbane Truck Show in 2011. The smile on his face expressed how immensely proud he was of how the CVIAQ had progressed over the years.”




Freightliner fires up US production

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is ramping up production at its Cleveland, North Carolina, Freightliner plant to cater for increased demand for its heavy-duty models.

The Cleveland facility is the largest Freightliner manufacturing plant in the United States and is solely responsible for the production of heavy-duty on-highway models including Cascadia, Columbia and Argosy. Almost 20 percent of the trucks built there are sold in the export markets of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Having recently started a second shift, the company plans to take on more than 1100 new employees by the end of 2012. This represents a 72 percent increase in personnel, including some 1072 shop employees and 29 engineering and support roles.

A majority of the positions are expected to be filled by recalled workers who were laid off in 2009. The ramp-up will nearly double daily production rates at the Cleveland plant by October 2012.

In conjunction with the ramp-up at the Cleveland plant, DTNA will also hire 100 new employees for its nearby Components and Logistics Plant. The 90 factory personnel and 10 office workers will primarily staff a second and third shift.

Hiring of new employees will begin in early February and the new production shift is slated to be at full capacity by September 2012.


Hino triumphs in Dakar dash

Hino Team Sugawara has recorded victory in the under-10 litre truck class at the 2012 Dakar Rally in South America, finishing ninth overall in the truck division.

The Hino 500 Series driven by Teruhito Sugawara and Seiichi Suzuki put in a particularly strong performance in stage 13 – the last of the fully-blown special stages – from Nazca to Pisco in Peru.

Commenting after the win, Sugawara San said he wished there were more special stages like stage 13, as the sandy conditions suited the 500 Series beautifully.

“We did well and pulled through without getting stuck – the truck performed brilliantly,” he said.

Significantly, the win marks the 21st consecutive year that a Hino truck has entered and finished Dakarand the 12th time Hino has won the under-10 litre class. It was the second consecutive top-10 result for Team Sugawara after also finishing ninth in the 2011 event.

A second Hino piloted by Teruhito’s father and Dakar legend Yoshimasa Sugawara and co-driver Hiroyuki Sugiura, secured third position in the under-10 litre class and 24th overall in the truck division.

LG’s US Logistics Revamp a Taste of what Australia will Face

Logistics software specialist JDA Australia is pointing to key characteristics in the mature North America market as indicators of what is around the corner for Australia’s national retailers, food producers and transport companies.

The company says a recent solution undertaken by LG electronics on the management and movement of its consumer goods in the USA shows how a cleverly devised software platform can deliver better profits and provide complete quantification of every facet of the logistics operation.

Two key issues facing LG management were the lack of accurate and timely information and the need to develop best-practice transportation and distribution management. As a result, the company was suffering from high levels of inaccurate shipment planning, inventory and capacity availability information.

A solution was sought by using an integrated business solution from JDA which amalgamated the strengths of two of its software suites:

  • JDA® Transportation & Logistics Management Solutions; and
  • JDA® Agile Business Process Platform, now part of JDA® Enterprise Architecture.

Gains for LG were reportedly immediate, highly transparent and quantified, including:

  • A recurring eight percent annual reduction in overall transportation and distribution costs;
  • Solutions that went live and delivered value after 32 weeks;
  • Significant service level and customer satisfaction enhancements;
  • Establishment of highly configurable supply chain management architecture to address future growth and regional management demands.

“With JDA transportation management solutions, LG was able to quickly establish integrated workflows between its existing systems infrastructure and logistics management systems,” said Lee Geun An from LG logistics subsidiary Hi-Logistics. “The lead time for deployment was 90 percent faster than that of similar solutions deployed through traditional development and integration methods.”


Mack Pedigree Driveline Returns

Mack Pedigree driveline returns

The release of Mack Trucks’ 2011 product offering heralds the return of the Mack Pedigree driveline – a combination of MP8 SCR engine, Mack transmission and Mack drive axles – which is signified by a gold bulldog on the bonnet.

The first ‘gold bulldog’ adorned vehicle to drive off the line at Mack’s Wacol, Brisbane factory was delivered to the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority (RTA) as the first of eight Granites ordered by the road authority.

The trucks will be used by the RTA’s road sealing crew which requires a range of reverse speeds in order to facilitate various aggregate spread rates. Therefore, with its six reverse speeds, the Mack T310 10-speed transmission was deemed the perfect choice. Coupled with an MP8 435 hp engine and heavy duty Mack S440 axles featuring the new C150/151 carriers which come standard with diff locks, the spec reflects Mack Trucks’ ability to custom build application specific vehicles.

According to Mack Trucks general manager Dean Bestwick, there are exciting
times ahead for Mack. “I am pleased we are once again producing Pedigree Mack
trucks here in Australia,” he enthused. “The Elite drivetrain, complete with gold bulldog, is now available for the Granite and Trident models and I am extremely proud of the performance of these vehicles. Drivers can expect to see many more gold
dogs on our roads in coming months.”

In other Mack developments, the company has announced that following intense customer demand and anticipation it will start taking orders for 16 litre MP10 powered Super-Liner and Titan models from September this year.

With a top rating of 685 hp, the MP10 is the most powerful engine ever released by Mack and will be also the most powerful engine available in a conventional (bonneted) on-road truck in Australia.

Coinciding with the MP10 release, a higher capacity Mack mDRIVE 12-speed
automated transmission will be offered. The beefed up ‘box comes standard with the 685 hp rating because according to Mack it’s the only transmission strong enough to cope with the corresponding 2300 lb ft torque output.

The first MP10 equipped vehicles are expected to be delivered mid-2012.

Gold, Gold, Gold. Mack is once again offering Granite and Trident buyers a Pedigree driveline comprising MP8 SCR engine, Mack transmission and Mack drive axles