TRUCK TRACKS

Growth sitting in visitor's section

Article December 28, 2000
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The international truck industry is convening its own United Nations of sorts here in the U


The international truck industry is convening its own United Nations of sorts here in the U.S. There’s no mystery to it, the size of the domestic market is bringing in the visitors.


After acquiring France’s largest truck manufacturer, Renault, Volvo of Sweden held a dealer and press meeting in the mountains of North Carolina, west of its North American headquarters in Greensboro. The company’s construction equipment arm has its American office in the hills of North Carolina, a good place to test and demonstrate construction machines.


Clearly the star of the Volvo presentation was a new VHD heavy-duty truck for construction work that the producer said was a standout on extreme durability.


It was termed "half truck and half construction equipment" by Marc F. Gustafson, president and CEO of Volvo Trucks. He said it worked through the equivalent of nearly two million miles of off-road testing with flying colors.


Gustafson said the VHD "outlasted every other truck tested—including the Autocar—by a factor of at least two-to-one." Cab comfort in the truck was a design essential, as was assurance of survival space in a collision.


The new model replaces the WG straight truck and Autocar truck and tractor models in the Volvo line.


A 345-hp Volvo engine is standard, as is a 10-speed Eaton transmission. Standard front axle is an 18,800-lb Meritor. Standard rear axles are a 23,000-lb Meritor single and 40,000-lb T-Ride Volvo tandem.


Foreign, prime moves


At the time of the Volvo meeting, Sterling Truck was offering a special on in-stock L-line, ready-mix trucks with bodies, typically 10.5-yarders, installed with no down payment.


Sterling is the Freightliner Corp. subsidiary which got a big portion of Ford’s Canadian truck business when the manufacturer’s heavy trucks were acquired by the Oregon-based subsidiary of Mercedes-Benz of Germany.


Since acquiring Chrysler Corp., Mercedes continues on its global expansion program with a plan to join with Freightliner in acquiring Canada’s Western Star Trucks. A report was circulating in automotive circles that the German vehicle maker was moving to acquire engine manufacturer Detroit Diesel.


Meanwhile, a day-cab version of Mack’s Vision line was added by France’s Renault. Day cabs, heavy-duty tractors with no sleeper cab, have been popular lately for local hauling. Inclusion of the Japanese truck lines Mitsubishi Fuso and Nissan Diesel in the Volvo-led truck empire was said to be a possibility.


Meanwhile, Bering Truck Corp., Front Royal, Va., a relatively new truck line whose first vehicles for this market were built in facilities of Hyundai in South Korea, has been named distributor for Hyundai commercial vehicles in the U.S. Semi-trailers are a key Hyundai offering.


Hino Diesel Trucks (U.S.A.) has just launched a campaign to increase sales nationwide.


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