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September 3, 2011

Commercial Vehicle Outlook Peeks at the Future

The Commercial Vehicle Outlook conference preceding the recent Great American Trucking Show at the Dallas Convention Center was a very interesting two-day program of presentations from industry consultants, economists and association watchdogs.

The first speaker, Sandeep Kar, an industry watcher from Toronto-based Frost and Sullivan, discussed the potential in the American truck market for heavy trucks much like those going to work in emerging markets China and India. He then spoke on telematics, particularly as it enables predictive or prognostic maintenance and fast response to potential breakdown situations. Interestingly, this came hard on the heels of Freightliner’s launch of Virtual Technician (see Blog for August 17th).

Low-Cost Trucks
Kar says low cost heavy trucks doesn’t equate to low technology content. The low cost for these future trucks, he says, will come from the way the parts are sourced and the inexpensive way the trucks are built. He predicts a class 8 truck would come in at around $65,000, targeted at the regional haul carrier as well as the vocational user.

September 1, 2011

Two Shows in One at GATS Pride & Polish

National contest award winner in working combo
 was Jonathan Eilen, Hampton, MN, with the 2010
Black & Orange Peterbilt 389/2007 Mac Dump.

A record 71 beauties turned up for the Great American Trucking Show’s Pride and Polish contest, staged in the exhibit hall of the Dallas-based show in August. There were many of the show circuit’s favorites. And that was appropriate for this was the last in a five-show national contest to find the top trucks in the country.

At GATS, awards were passed out for the national winners, with prizes and trophies going to Paul Voigt/Night Train Trucking, St Cloud, MN, for Limited Mileage Combination with his 1999 Blue & Black Peterbilt 379/2004 Great Dane Reefer. The combo goes under the name “Disorderly Conduct.” Taking Limited Mileage Bobtail was Randy Stroup/First Class Trucking, Lewisport, KY, with his 1986 Candy Vibrance Peterbilt 359, which won “First In Class.”

August 30, 2011

CB Radios and Such

Cobra is part of trucker folklore. Those LT21 CB radios were part of the growing up of the owner-operator through the ’72 Arab oil crisis – the CB connection allowed independent truckers to find scarce fuel through their own communications network, truck to truck.

That was a little before my time, but I’ve enjoyed 20 years of CB aid and assistance since arriving here from Europe in 1980. True, I cringed for much of that time at the absolutely horrifying language, propositioning and general behaving badly that seemed to be part and parcel of CB radios, and the more unseemly part of our industry that used the CB. And likely it still is. But through it all, the uniquely trucker radio seems to have survived.