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.

A Global Showcase for Truck Technology
Every two years truck manufacturers from around the world and their suppliers gather in Hannover for the IAA Commercial Vehicle Show.  Housed in 14 buildings, they meet to showcase the latest technologies and celebrate their most advanced models in a truck event unlike any other in the world. Here are just a few of the highlights.
TRW doubles ZF's market in U.S.
HANNOVER, GERMANY. The acquisiton of TRW Automotive earlier this year was prompted by its new owner's desire to build sizeable footprints in the world's two hottest markets -- China and North America. 
"Their products and markets complement us," said ZF Friedrichshafan CEO Stefan Sommer. The acquisition, when finalized, will allow ZF "to address the most significant countries in the world -- the U.S.
Technology offering a clear path to self-driving trucks 1
Held every two years, the IAA commercial vehicle show held at the enormous trade fair grounds here has become the global showcase for emerging truck technologies. Although it's only the show's first press day, a clear theme has alreay emerged -- the autonomous, or self-driving truck is coming.
First, there was Daimler Truck's splashy party to introduce its Future Truck 2015 .
Mercedes-Benz puts the future on display with self-driving truck

HANNOVER, Germany.  With Daimler Truck's Wolfgang Bernhard behind the wheel, the self-driving Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 made a dramatic entry rolling into an airport hanger here for its introduction at an international press conference.  The concept truck integrates a range of new and existing technologies to create a heavy truck capable of fully autonomous operation from a full stop up to highway speeds.

Western Star adds an aero highway tractor
LAS VEGAS. Best known for its vocational and heavy-haul Class 8 models, Western Star Trucks is expanding into the aerodynamic on-highway market with an all-new model.
Western Star 5700XE, an all-new aerodynamic on-highway tractor

Western Star is expanding its model lineup with the all--new 5700XE, a highly aerodynamic Class 8 on-highway tractor that combines a Detroit powertrain from its parent Daimler Trucks North America with distinctive styling that favors hard edges over the rounded contours of other aero tractors.

Just the beginning 

Five years ago, the entire U.S. economy hit a painful low point in what has come to be known in retrospect as “The Great Recession.”  In trucking, business failures rose to over 3,000 fleets and new-truck purchases hit record lows.  As you’ve heard every day in the mainstream news outlets, the recovery has been slow, and there have been lots of nervous glances over our shoulders looking for the first signs that we’re slipping back into that dark economic environment.

Trucking by the numbers 2014 

Graphs, charts and other data capture the industry’s central role in the country’s economic activity and health.

Portal to efficiency 

Company: Oakley Trucking Inc.,
No. Little Rock, AR

Operation: Large dry-bulk truckload fleet with all owner-operator drivers


Oakley Trucking provides irregular-route dry-bulk services throughout the contiguous 48 states and Canada with a fleet of 620 specialized pneumatic, end-dump and hopper-bottom trailers.  All of its trailers are pulled by owner-operators whose tractors are modified to handle hydraulic systems.

Enough already 

Are you tired of hearing about the highway bill?  I know I am.  As Albert Einstein so famously put it, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  By that definition, Congress’ approach to funding highway infrastructure investment is truly insane.

Tweet confirms Mercedes-Benz mid-sized Vito van coming to US

Unveiled in Germany earlier this week, an all-new Vito mid-sized commercial van will be coming to North America, according to what appears to be a direct message from Daimler Truck and Bus.  Responding to a Tweet from Fleet Owner asking if the Vito might be headed to the U.S.,  @Daimler_CV (Daimler Truck & Bus) replied: “yes we are bringing the #mbvito to North America. Stay tuned for more!!”

“Uber for trucks” or loadboard?
Cargomatic, a technology company in Southern California has started what L.A.Biz describes as “an Uber-like platform that connects local shippers with small trucking companies.
Roadside inspections on the fly 

Bypassing weigh stations and paying tolls without stopping are common everyday experiences for many fleet trucks, but what if that same “no-touch” experience could be extended to roadside inspections?  The technology already exists that could satisfy federal standards for basic credential checks, and automating that process could offer major benefits for well-run fleets.  But before e-inspections become as widespread as bypass systems, there are important policy issues that have to be faced by both trucking businesses and regulators.

A great run 

After a wonderful 38-year career, Tom Duncan is leaving the Fleet Owner family.

In June of 1978, Tom Duncan joined Fleet Owner as an associate editor.  This June he retired as vice president/group publisher of Penton’s Automotive and Trucking Group, which in addition to Fleet Owner, includes Ward’s Auto, FleetSeek, Trailer Body Builders, Bulk Transporter and Refrigerated Transporter.

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