Sean Kilcarr

Sean
Kilcarr
Executive Editor

Sean reports and comments on trends affecting the many different strata of the trucking industry -- light and medium duty fleets up through over-the-road truckload, less-than-truckload, and private fleet operations Also be sure to visit Sean's blog Trucks at Work where he offers analysis on a variety of different topics inside the trucking industry.

Articles
Uniroyal to bring low-cost tires to truck market

Michelin North America is introducing its Uniroyal brand of low-cost tires to the U.S. commercial truck market, targeting “owner-operators and small fleets that are price conscious – who want reliable tires at affordable prices,” noted Donna Murphy, business segment manager for Uniroyal Commercial Truck Tires, during an online press conference.

She added that the Uniroyal truck tire line will consist of six tread designs with 28 sizes:

Leaders who survive supply chain disasters

Research by Arash Azadegan, Ph.D., a professor of supply chain procurement at Rutgers University, indicates that specific leadership qualities can more effectively speed recovery following a supply chain disaster.

Honda renews aim at mid-sized pickup market

Honda rolled out its completely revamped 2017 Ridgeline mid-size pickup truck at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this week, believing that the vehicle’s “unibody” construction will help set it apart from the other models in the light truck segment.

Nissan shows off Titan Warrior at NAIAS

Nissan unveiled a concept version of its new 2016 Titan XD pickup truck at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) this week; a “super-sized” off-road modified design named the Titan Warrior Concept.

Record-setting light vehicle sales predicted for 2016

The latest forecast from the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) projects that sales/leases of new cars and light trucks should set an “all-time record” in 2016, in the words of Steven Szakaly, the group’s chief economist – surpassing 17.7 million units, which is a 2% increase over 2015’s record-setting numbers.

Wraps removed from the 2017 F-150 Raptor SuperCrew

Ford Motor Co. plans to show off its 2017 F-150 Raptor SuperCrew specialty pickup at the 2016 North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit this week; a truck that will be equipped exclusively with a second-generation high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost engine that produces more horsepower with greater efficiency than the OEM’s current 6.2-liter V8, which is rated at 411 hp and 434 lb.-ft. of torque. (All photos courtesy of Ford)

TRALA: Uncertainty helping drive truck leasing growth

Data accrued via a detailed survey of some 500 members conducted by the Truck Renting & Leasing Association (TRALA) indicates that 22% to 24% of all Class 2-7 trucks on the road today are leased or rented in some fashion, rising to 25% to 28% in the Class 8 segment.

Autonomous vehicles: What fleets want

While the public and the trucking industry continue to debate the viability of autonomous vehicles (AVs), fleet executives are clearly anticipating their arrival. A recent survey conducted by the Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) and the American Transportation Research Institute (ATRI) of 32 executives representing 31 fleets found that the majority expect AVs to become reality at some future point. It’s clearly a question of when, not if, says Paul Menig, CEO of consulting firm Tech-I-M and one of the study’s principal authors.

Making the call 

Manager: Ken Marko, senior manager of national fleet sustainability

Company: Frito-Lay North America

Operation: 21,000 Class 3-8 vehicles providing food and beverage distribution service

PROBLEM:

Integrating alternative-fuel vehicles into any fleet operation poses many challenges, not the least of which is figuring out the particulars of their maintenance needs.

Love’s planning major expansion in 2016

Love’s Travel Stops & Country Stores is planning to add 40 new locations across 28 states this year along with an additional 3,200 truck-parking spaces across its 40-state truck stop network.

Parsing PC-11 truck engine oil particulars

With the first licensing date for the new PC-11 truck engine oil standard less than a year away – officially Dec. 1, 2016 – an “all hands on deck” effort is shaping up in the words of Shawn Whitacre, senior staff engineer of engine oil technology at Chevron Lubricants, to square away key specification details, such as “backwards compatibility.”

Softer truck sales triggering more factory layoffs

Despite strong order volume in December last year, commercial truck sales are expected to decline in 2016 and as a result OEMs continue to cut back on factory staffing.

Ford at CES 2016: Linking drones and homes to vehicles

Ford Motor Co. is showing off a series of research projects at the mammoth CES 2016 – formerly the Consumer Electronics Show – in Las Vegas this week aimed at connecting aerial drones and homes to vehicles thru the OEM’s SYNC onboard communications system.

First, Ford with drone developing DJI as part of the DJI Developer Challenge to create drone-to-vehicle communications using its SYNC AppLink or OpenXC protcols.

Fighting floods with troops and trucks

Recent heavy flooding throughout the Midwest over the last several weeks – affecting some seven million people in 15 states, according to news reports – prompted National Guard units to deploy and provide a variety of help. For example, soldiers with the Missouri National Guard aided the Missouri Department of Transportation by providing traffic control, cleanup, and water purification services.

Looking at future trucking and logistics trends

John Larkin, managing director and head of transportation capital markets research at Stifel Financial Corp. recently made several predictions regarding the freight transportation and logistics market for the U.S., with tidings both good and grim for trucking companies.

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