The world is getting smaller, declared Tim Campbell, managing director of Campbell CV Marketing Group, following Steve Carey's update of the business climate here in the US. A British-based analyst of truck trends, Campbell sees a move toward global standards. “In 2012, all the major truck manufacturers in Europe committed to going to one standard of engines and to one testing standard and one emissions for the whole of the world,” he said. “Manufacturers are building trucks and vans and can put them in Europe or the US, and they'll be the same vehicle. They've got to do it. It's just natural. You're going to have things that were sacred cows five to 10 years ago.
“You've got major billions of dollars behind them all. What you have to do is talk to your end users. These are the sort of messages you can give them that show you are one step ahead. Use the knowledge and make it to your benefit.”
He said the US will mirror the European van sector, with small vans of 5000 lbs GVW and large vans of up to 16,500 lbs GVW.
He said Ford has one with a GVW of 4500 lbs, and front-wheel and rear-wheel-drive of 9000 lbs; and Chrysler/Ram has one with a GVW of 5000 lbs, front-wheel-drive of 9000 lbs and rear-wheel-drive of 15,400 lbs.
“Chrysler wants to compete with the Transit Connect,” he said. “GM's Doblo is a joint venture with Fiat in Europe and should be a Ram here. Movano is a joint venture with Renault/Nissan in Europe.
“So we have something quite interesting in terms of what they're going to do and how they're going to do it. GM has bought part of Peugeot within the last 12 months and they're signing an agreement to do a joint venture on the van.
“We're having a massive change. You are part of massive change brought about by 2008-2009 recession. Knowing this, understanding this, recognizing this, and seeing it as an opportunity is a good thing. Whether you represent GM or Ford or Chrysler, there are things going on that are interesting. You should know what's going on.
“All vans have work truck versions. This will not be the end. There are other manufacturers — I won't get into specifics — that have plans. Obviously, what is quite interesting today is how we're now seeing for the first time in the US, you're going to have a van market. Other manufacturers are saying, ‘We want that as well.’”
Campbell said that in December in Brussels, at the Commercial Vehicle Chief Executives Global Meeting, there was major activity:
Steps were taken towards adopting the worldwide heavy-duty emissions certification procedure (WHDC).
There were developments in harmonizing diesel fuel specifications and regulations.
Global cooperation was reached on regulatory demands for improved fuel efficiency and reduced GHG emissions.
Industry leaders agreed on the need to:
Continue global cooperation in expanding the application of the WHDC.
Highlight the importance of global diesel fuel specifications.
Develop globally harmonized fuel-efficiency test procedures.
Promote global harmonization of heavy-duty hybrid certification procedures.
He said there will be large growth by 2015 in heavy trucks, Latin America (40,000) and Africa and the Middle East (80,000).
Campbell said Class 3-8 vehicles for the 2012 calendar year in the US were 543,447 units and represented a 15.8% increase over the 469,185 in 2011.
In China, the totals were: 636,000 heavy-duty trucks with GVW exceeding 14 tons; 290,300 medium-duty trucks with GVW over six to 14 tons; 1,842,700 light-duty trucks with GVW between 1.8 and six tons; and 534,800 mini/micro trucks with GVW 1.8 tons or under.
Dongfeng's production was down 29.7% in 2012 but the company still produced 1.3 million heavy-duty trucks, and is expected to do that every year.
Brazil's 2012 sales of heavy trucks reached 167,438, down 19.3% from 2011.
Japan is producing 750,000 vehicles, basically in Class 2-5.
Russia's truck sales were 359,920 units, up 9.5% on the year. Domestic-branded trucks have grown by 0.6% to 162,630 units. Foreign-branded trucks assembled in Russia grew from 21,450 units to 28,760 units. Imports rose by 16.3% to 150,430 trucks and represented 41.8% of the total.
“That's a market where China's going to have an influence,” he said. “It's an interesting market.”
“The world is a-changing — look at Volvo. AB Volvo signed an agreement with Dongfeng Motor Group Company Limited (DFG) to acquire 45% of a new subsidiary of DFG, Dongfeng Commercial Vehicles (DFCV), which will include the major part of DFG's medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles business. The Volvo Group is the world's third-largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks with 180,000 units sold in 2011. Dongfeng was the second largest producer of heavy-duty trucks in 2011, with total sales of 186,000 units, of which approximately 142,000 units were produced by the part of the company that will be included in DFCV.
“At the completion of the transaction, the Volvo Group will become the world's largest manufacturer of heavy-duty trucks.”
For more coverage of the NTEA 2013 show: April issue 2013