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Peterbilt Sales Soar, Truck Maker Eyes Growth

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Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT)  /  February 15, 2018

After reaching new market-share highs in Class 8 and vocational truck sales for 2017, Peterbilt has kicked off 2018 with an addition to its on-highway truck family and plans to continue to grow its market share as it also works on developing the next generation of advanced driver assistance systems.

Peterbilt hit a record 15.3% market share in Class 8 for 2017, eclipsing its previous high of 14%. It also set a new vocational market share record of 20%, and a 30% market share in the refuse truck portion of that vocational market.

For 2018, the company is predicting the total Class 8 market for the U.S. and Canada to be 235,000 to 265,000 trucks, and medium-duty at 85,000.

HDT spoke with Peterbilt executives during this week's launch of the Model 379 UltraLoft, an integrated high-roof sleeper designed to appeal to long-haul and team drivers.

Strong economy, industry

Peterbilt General Manager Kyle Quinn said a strong economy is driving truck sales growth, noting a GDP that’s expanding by more than 2.5%, business investment that’s up 4% since 2016, a strong manufacturing environment, and growing motor vehicle sales. Unemployment is low, and recent changes in U.S. tax laws will create new opportunities for customers, he said. “All in all, a very healthy environment.”

Freight tonnage is at record levels, driven by multiple industries and e-commerce activity, he added. And crude oil prices above $60 per barrel are making a difference of their own, especially for Peterbilt, which is a strong player in the oil-field market.

“We started to see a little bit of strength last year,” Quinn said, referring to oilfield-related investments. “We’ve seen strength return in the Canadian oil patch, the Midwest oil patch, and even some in Pennsylvania.” It has led smaller oil service fleets to begin adding trucks as they prepare for idled production to return. “Anything north of $60 per barrel is healthy,” he said of the economic conditions that drive truck sales. “Many of our energy customers are getting ready for growth, but some of that growth has already arrived.”

Growing fleet, vocational, refuse business

The new Model 579 UltraLoft will help Peterbilt continue to grow its business with larger fleets, said Robert Woodall, assistant general manager of sales and marketing.

“This fully integral cab really closes a gap that we had in our product lineup, and it’s going to provide access to new customers that demand the spaciousness of the UltraLoft product.”

The company has been working over the last several years to grow its large fleet business, while at the same time continuing to serve its traditional core audience of owner-operator, small fleet and vocational customers.

The fuel efficiency of the Model 579 Epiq fuel-economy package, Woodall noted, especially combined with Paccar’s new integrated powertrain, means Peterbilts are the most fuel-efficient trucks in some customers’ fleets. “That’s allowed us to grow with larger fleets,” Woodall said, such as FedEx, Cowan, R&L and Central Transport. “Those are fleets that four years ago we didn’t sell.”

In the on-highway marketplace, Paccar’s integrated powertrain, completed with the introduction of the 12-speed Paccar Automated Transmission last year, is also a strong force, officials said. Paccar MX engines are now found in 43% of the new trucks that roll off the Peterbilt assembly line.

“We’ve seen steady growth of adoption through 2017, and we expect that momentum to continue to grow this year,” he said of the proprietary powertrain.

In addition, the vocational market is very strong, Woodall said. “The mixer business has grown tremendously over the past 12 to 15 months, and that’s continuing,” with strong housing starts and other investment. “Unfortunately natural disasters create demand as well, so there’s lots of activity in Texas and Florida, which has pushed demand for dump trucks, flatbeds, that type of equipment.”

The Model 520 refuse truck is also coming on very strong. “We’ve made significant investment in that product over the last two years and that’s why we’re able to grow in the low-cab-forward business.” It competes against Mack and Autocar in that market, he said, and has earned a number two market share spot. “Our goal is to take over the number one spot in 2018.”

And of course Peterbilt is still very popular with owner-operators, drivers and small fleets. Officials announced they will once again exhibit at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Kentucky, next month. There they will have a presence specifically geared toward owner-operators and "brand enthusiasts," and will announce the SuperFan winner of its recently produced 1 millionth truck.

ADAS: Moving toward autonomous trucks

Peterbilt also showed reporters a video highlighting advanced driver assistance systems it’s working on, including traffic jam stop-and-go technology, lanekeeping assist, auto-docking, platooning and even autonomous trucks.

It’s emphasizing an open partnership approach to development of these technologies, and opened an innovation center in Silicon Valley to help enable that process.

Some of the things it’s working on:

  • Traffic jam assist. This is something Peterbilt says we’ll see in the near future, even this year. This essentially combines adaptive cruise control and emergency automatic braking for use in stop-and-go traffic situations. “What that does is at very low speeds, in heavy traffic, it can control the acceleration and braking, and can bring the truck to a complete stop if needed” – and then accelerate as the traffic ahead moves, explained Peterbilt Chief Engineer Scott Newhouse. “You’d be amazed at how wonderful that feature is in a traffic jam.”

  • Lane-keeping assist. This one’s probably about another year after the traffic jam assist. Peterbilt is working with several partners to evaluate torque overlay steering – electronic steering that takes some of the load off the driver, especially in slow maneuvering. You can literally turn the wheel with one finger. And in highway situations, it helps keep the truck in the lane without the driver having to make the constant small corrections that are part of a trucker’s everyday job.

  • Autodocking. While Peterbilt did not elaborate on this particular technology, we know companies such as Eaton and ZF are working on such systems, which would back a trailer up to a dock automatically.

  • Platooning, in partnership with Peloton. “Their intention is to begin the process of commercializing that solution this year,” Quinn said. “But it’s really going to come down to, do the initial fleets trying to prove that out for them see the benefit. And I think that’s important about all of these ADAS solutions – is it has to provide a solid benefit for the customer, whether it’s in fuel economy or improved safety.”

All these things can be stepping stones toward autonomous vehicles. How soon will that be? Quinn said, “My particular perspective is, it’ll be a while. It’s hard to define ‘a while.’ But I do think there’s a tremendous opportunity in the near term to dramatically improve the safety of vehicles and reduce the burden on drivers.

“There are a lot of tech companies in Silicon Valley and elsewhere working on level 4 autonomous, which means the driver can disengage in certain use cases like on highway,” Quinn said. “Those have a lot of promise, but they’re still out there a ways. I think one of the main things that’s going to stand in front of that is regulation. My belief is we’ll see something very similar to aerospace, a kind of autopilot with the driver watching.”

Newhouse agreed that “the timing will be decided by regulation, by when the customer needs it. Our focus is to make sure it’s right when they’re ready for it.”

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There will be a 567 joining our fleet.  

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1 hour ago, storkmack said:

There will be a 567 joining our fleet.  

What drive train did you guy spec with it?

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X15 Cummins, Enduarant AMT trans, 3.36 meritor rears on Pete low air leaf.   

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Nice specs Auto transmissions are the way to go these days with the new trucks. Wait did I just say that out loud???  .  It will be interesting to see how well it stands up compared to the rest of your Mack fleet. It will surly stand out in the yard.

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I see where 43% of 2017 sales were DAF powered. (Or I should say Paccar MX13 powered)..

What's the general consensus on the MX engines??

Good Bad or Indifferent??

 

There's very few being sold down here, But You never hear any mention of them.So Can't be Too bad.. As Bad news travels faster than Good News..

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the MX engines that I know of no one likes them and they have lots of issues.

 

James I said the same thing. mack is has continued to slip in the off road markets and now the refuse market.  The recent leadership clearly does not understand how to build and sell trucks that people want.  that being said I do think Mack builds a better truck but they cost more, look like hell, and are always one step behind pete and KW with regards to options.

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The DAF-designed MX engine, in the global market, is a popular and trouble-free motor. Nobody has anything negative to say about DAF.

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19 minutes ago, kscarbel2 said:

The DAF-designed MX engine, in the global market, is a popular and trouble-free motor. Nobody has anything negative to say about DAF.

I may be confusing the designation? I was speaking of the Maxxforce engine that navistar built...that engine was a problem from day one

 

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21 minutes ago, Lmackattack said:

I may be confusing the designation? I was speaking of the Maxxforce engine that navistar built...that engine was a problem from day one

 

I've heard people complain about the paccar engine ,I've heard people complain about all the new stuff every brand. My brothers new w900 cummins x15: fuel filters need to be changed every 300 hours then it won't start and throws a code over heated starter . After A half hour or so finally the electric primer starts  working and truck starts.  

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Two long time peter fans are switching Gateway ter. just bought 3- new tri-axle MACKs and PALOMBO bought 2-tractors going for 2 more all red

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19 hours ago, Lmackattack said:

Nice specs Auto transmissions are the way to go these days with the new trucks. Wait did I just say that out loud???  .  It will be interesting to see how well it stands up compared to the rest of your Mack fleet. It will surly stand out in the yard.

We currently are running 5 MP8’s  with Mdrives. Love the trucks, love the Mdrive, and very tired of replacing injectors and waiting for pretty much any part those Red Devil Motors need.  I forgot we are going air disc brakes also. The AMT are pretty much the to go.  The drivers say how refreshing is it driving them. They get out of the truck at the end of the and feel like doing something.  

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with the air disc , can the dot even check them easy?. Brake out of adjustment has got to be one of the bigger inspection fails. only down side is you have to slowly change the whole fleet over or have 2 versions of brakes in the fleet..

 

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10 hours ago, Lmackattack said:

I may be confusing the designation? I was speaking of the Maxxforce engine that navistar built...that engine was a problem from day one

Whenever I hear this, I feel compelled to add clarity to the big picture. The MaxxForce 13, N13 and A26 are based on the proven, utterly reliable MAN D26. Around the globe, nobody has even one negative thing to say about the D26.

The MEGR* (Massive Exhaust Gas Recirculation) MaxxForce engines were the idea of your government's EPA. The EPA believed it should become involved in emissions control technology, and decided that MEGR was the best direction for the United States to reach EPA2010 standards. They asked Navistar head Dan Ustian to support the program in return for free money, and he agreed.

* EGR levels from 35% to 50%.

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That is interesting and sad at the same time. Take a good known engine and ruin it with EPA crap... sounds about right with how our government works.

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1 hour ago, Lmackattack said:

with the air disc , can the dot even check them easy?. Brake out of adjustment has got to be one of the bigger inspection fails. only down side is you have to slowly change the whole fleet over or have 2 versions of brakes in the fleet..

 

We had a brake class at work and one of th lentake aways is you (and the dot) can’t see the brakes and have no way to tell if they’re adjusted or not. One thing we have found out is you don’t want to give the truck the ol’ 3 hard pumps on the brakes a couple times a week during your post trip to keep the auto adjusters within spec. If you do the discs seem to adjust way faster than drum brakes and we’ve had more than one truck have a brake or two dragging bad. 

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13 hours ago, kscarbel2 said:

The DAF-designed MX engine, in the global market, is a popular and trouble-free motor. Nobody has anything negative to say about DAF.

Up here the "paccar" mx motor is dying. Lots of issues and lots of parts availability issues. I know of fleets going to strictly Cummins engines. One fleet of about 26 trucks has traded all paccar engine trucks off in the last two years. Another I know with a few hundred trucks is transitioning now to Cummins and also getting a few Mack's and internationals.

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15 hours ago, kscarbel2 said:

The DAF-designed MX engine, in the global market, is a popular and trouble-free motor. Nobody has anything negative to say about DAF.

 

1 hour ago, Dirtymilkman said:

Up here the "paccar" mx motor is dying. Lots of issues and lots of parts availability issues. I know of fleets going to strictly Cummins engines. One fleet of about 26 trucks has traded all paccar engine trucks off in the last two years. Another I know with a few hundred trucks is transitioning now to Cummins and also getting a few Mack's and internationals.

A quick search on the TTR Forum seems to concur with Dirtymilkman's assessment of the MX..

Kenworth here in Australia use the European Built MX.

I got quoted on a MX powered KW recently & it has got 24 Volt Starting & Chassis Electrics With 12 Volt Cabin Electrics which seems a convoluted way of Doing Things to Me...

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Around here, I see more Vulvas than anything, followed by Macks and then Kenworths. Petes and Internationals after that.

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6 hours ago, Hayseed said:

A quick search on the TTR Forum seems to concur with Dirtymilkman's assessment of the MX..

Kenworth here in Australia use the European Built MX.

I got quoted on a MX powered KW recently & it has got 24 Volt Starting & Chassis Electrics With 12 Volt Cabin Electrics which seems a convoluted way of Doing Things to Me...

There are many good reasons for 24-volt systems, which is why it's the global standard.

Do you recall that all Mack E9 V8-powered trucks were equipped with 24-volt starting systems? It was chosen for a very good reason by Mack Trucks Chief Engineer Walter May and his team......24-volt has the "kick" to turn that large engine over, particularly during the winter months.

Twenty-four volt systems allow for smaller size cable that a 12-volt system would require, reducing component weight and cost.

https://www.bigmacktrucks.com/topic/34764-two-24-volt-european-volvos-are-taking-the-canadian-stress-test/

On another note, you will see 48-volt systems soon in light vehicles, to better meet the immense power requirements of today's vehicles, and also because you need 48 volts for electric turbochargers to function well.

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1 hour ago, Wobblin-Goblin said:

Around here, I see more Vulvas than anything, followed by Macks and then Kenworths. Petes and Internationals after that.

Speaking of Class 8, in my US travels, I see more Freightliners, which is logical due to their high market share. I see new Cascadia tractors from one side of the road to the other.

Navistar is clearly making a solid comeback.

Peterbilt market share has grown considerably over the last 3 years.

In refuse, Peterbilt has massively penetrated the refuse industry, entirely at the expense of the Mack brand MR and LR (rehashed LE). Years ago, you rarely saw Model 320s in the east. Now (new Model 520) they are everywhere, with both cities and major refuse fleets.

Kenworth over the last 3-4 years made a major penetration into vocational, again at the expense of the Mack brand, and is holding on firmly to its new larger footprint.

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12 hours ago, kscarbel2 said:

There are many good reasons for 24-volt systems, which is why it's the global standard.

I'm well aware of the advantages (& agree with them All) of 24 Volt Systems.

I'm also old enough to remember the Problematic Series Parallel Switchs that every Kenworth & Atkinson Truck had back in the 70's & 80's That mostly once the Truck was out of warranty were tossed in the Bin &had a 12 volt starter installed..

12 hours ago, kscarbel2 said:

Twenty-four volt systems allow for smaller size cable that a 12-volt system would require, reducing component weight and cost.

I agree with the above Statement. Also 24 volt systems only have half the Amperage of 12 Volt systems. With far less drain on Batteries/Bulbs ect. They All last longer. Plus the universal Acceptance of Multivolt LED Trailer Light systems have rendered Void the biggest bugbear of having Mixed voltage Fleets.

 

12 hours ago, kscarbel2 said:

Do you recall that all Mack E9 V8-powered trucks were equipped with 24-volt starting systems?

No I don't. Sorry.

Here in Australia Mack were exclusively Air Start until the early 90's & the release of the Ch & CL range of trucks. When Air start was an Option. However I'm fairly sure (But happy to be corrected) that the E9 powered  CLR's were Air start.. 

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