Trucks: dealing with EPA

NTEA members hear updates from major manufacturers at the annual Truck Product Conference

THE 2010 model trucks may not have much of a shelf life, according to chassis manufacturers participating at the most recent Truck Product Conference held September 22-23 at the Hyatt Regency in Dearborn, Michigan.

As has been reported before, trucks built January 1 or later will be required to have radically revised exhaust systems in order to meet EPA's latest diesel engine regulations. The exhaust systems will have some effect on truck body and equipment installations, but they will also in large part shorten the length of time that the 2010 models will be offered and have significant impact on production schedules.

Several of the manufacturers participating in the NTEA's recent Truck Product Conference announced that they will offer 2010 models for only a few months before introducing 2011 models. All of the chassis manufacturers participating in the conference will use selective catalytic reduction (SCR) to meet the emission standard. SCR involves spraying a urea solution into the exhaust stream.

Navistar, which has announced it will use advanced EGR to meet the standard, was not at the conference this year.

The new regulations are having a major impact on production schedules. General Motors in particular already has stopped taking orders for some models and will not produce its new diesel models until May. In a presentation at the Truck Product Conference, General Motors announced that it will probably stop producing some diesel models in early December and then shut down production of diesel engines until a new diesel is introduced May 24.

Participating in the event this year were Dodge, Ford, Freightliner, General Motors, Hino, Mitsubishi, and Toyota.

While emission rules were a common topic for the participating manufacturers, truck manufacturers also introduced new products. They include: the new 2500/3500 Dodge Ram pickup, the pickup box removal program for the Ram 2500, and the Ram 3500, 4500 and 5500 chassis-cabs.

Ford announced upgrades to several commercial truck models, including a new ambulance prep package available for 6.8L gas engines. Attendees also got a close look at the company's new Transit Connect, a compact van that has proven popular in Europe for light-duty commercial applications.

Freightliner announced a variety of upgrades, including major changes in truck electrical systems designed to simplify wiring during truck body and equipment installations.

More than 570 NTEA members attended the two-day event. The next few pages provide details from each participating truck manufacturer.

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