Jim Mele


Nationally recognized journalist, author and editor, Jim Mele joined Fleet Owner in 1986 with over a dozen years’ experience covering transportation as a newspaper reporter and magazine staff writer. Fleet Owner Magazine has won over 45 national editorial awards since his appointment as editor-in-chief in 1999.

Volvo unveils new regional haul tractor
MONTREAL. Volvo Trucks North America has introduced the Volvo VNR, an all-new tractor designed specifically for regional haul applications.

I don’t know how many times I’ve written about change in this column. It’s the one constant in trucking, whether it’s driven by new technology, new regulation, new business structures and even new demographic forces. Well, I want to write about change one more time, but this time it’s a personal change, not an industry one.

A foundation technology for autonomous trucks

LOUISVILLE, KY. There are over 100,000 Bendix Wingman collision mitigation systems installed in trucks today, and if you count the company’s older Vorad warning system, the number of forward collision warning systems on the road in trucks climbs to 240,000. Last year Navistar made the Wingman Advanced system standard on its linehaul tractors, and at the Mid America Trucking Show this week both Kenworth and Peterbilt announced that they were adding the system as standard equipment on their linehaul trucks.

Peterbilt boosts 579 fuel economy by 8%

LOUISVILLE, KY.  Changes to the Peterbilt Model 579 Epiq for the 2018 model year improve fuel efficiency by 8% compared to 2017 models, according to the company. The company also announced a new warranty for its certified used truck program and availability of a new Allison automatic transmission during a press conference at the Mid America Trucking Show.

Kenworth telematics adding service management

LOUISVILLE, KY.  With over 30,000 of Class 8 trucks already equipped with Kenworth Truck Tech+ remote diagnostics capabilities, Kenworth announced that it will be integrating service management with the system, allowing fleets to manage repairs and other service events through its online portal.

Not your father’s shop 

Every March we put together an entire issue focused solely on the shop and have done so for the 32 years I’ve been at Fleet Owner.  Reading through the feature stories in this issue, it suddenly struck me that everyone has been so focused on managing some truly massive changes in the trucking industry that we sometimes forget to appreciate just how pervasive and transformative those changes have been for your maintenance operations.

Remote updates coming for Volvo trucks

NASHVILLE.  Volvo Trucks North America is adding remote update capability for all of its vehicles equipped with 2017 Volvo engines, transmissions, aftertreatment systems and other powertrain components.  The new Remote Programming service will push our powertrain software updates, which average about two a year, as well as react to fault code conditions that can be corrected with a software download.

Cummins program extends oil drains for X15

NASHVILLE. A free oil analysis program that individually tailors oil drain intervals to a fleet’s operating characteristics has been introduced by Cummins for its 2017 X15 Series heavy-duty engines. Using both actual engine performance data and oil analysis, Cummins OilGuard can safely extend those intervals out to 80,000 miles, according to Mark Ulrich, director of customer support.

TMW adds maintenance manager for smaller fleets

NASHVILLE. TMW FleetCheck is a new web-based maintenance management designed for fleets of 150 or fewer trucks that either contract maintenance to third parties or do their own. Introduced at the annual Technology and Maintenance Council meeting, the subscription product promises to help smaller fleets meet Dept. of Transportation recordkeeping requirements while improving cost control and management efficiency, according to Scott Vanselous, executive VP of TMW Systems.

2017 Fleet Owner 500 

Few outside of trucking, and even many in the industry, realize that America’s 500 largest private fleets operate 1.38 million trucks and tractors.  For-hire carriers are undoubtedly the public face of trucking as they haul the lion’s share of freight in this country, yet private fleets run the overwhelming majority of commercial vehicles on our roads as they quietly fill critical support roles for all types of businesses.

Numbers don't lie 

Anecdote and impressions are tough to beat when it comes to perception.  We humans are just intuitively drawn to stories and images.  But sometimes they don’t tell the whole story, and on occasion can even be downright misleading.

Dana unveils e-commerce platform for parts

LAS VEGAS. Fleets and other maintenance providers can identify drivetrain replacement parts, check real-time inventory availability, find distributors and request quotes through a new e-commerce platform introduced by Dana Inc. Authorized Dana distributors can also access a secure version of the new online tool to obtain prices, respond to quote requests and track shipping, company officials said during a press conference at Heavy-duty Aftermarket Week.

Eaton clutches revised for downspeeding

LAS VEGAS.  The newest generation of the Advantage Series heavy-duty clutches from Eaton have received a number of design upgrades intended to improve performance in low-RPM downspeeding applications as well as provide better shift performance, reduce vibration and chatter, and make it easier to monitor clutch wear.

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