New from Mexico

Feb. 1, 2008
An Electric truck and a U S-built curtainside trailer targeted for the Mexican market were among the products displayed at the recent Expo Transporte

An Electric truck and a U S-built curtainside trailer targeted for the Mexican market were among the products displayed at the recent Expo Transporte in Guadalajara.

The show is held annually. It is sponsored by the Associacion Nacional de Productores de Autobuses, Camiones y Tractocamionses (ANPACT).

The next Expo Transporte will be held November 12-14 at Expoguadalajara in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. Here are some of the scenes from the most recent show:

Electric power. A new made-in-Mexico truck chassis-cab was introduced at Guadalajara exhibition. The newest truck chassis-cab on display at ExpoTransporte in Guadalajara, Mexico, in November was a prototype that was scheduled to start assembly right about now — in February 2008.

It is a green truck; that is, environmentally friendly, especially regarding fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. One version has no petroleum-fueled engine on board — only an electric motor and batteries for power. A second version is a so-called hybrid in that it has both an electric motor and a gasoline engine to recharge the batteries.

Electric Vehicles International de Mexico (EVI) has developed its new city-delivery truck chassis, the CT-1500, with a cargo capacity of 1500 kilograms or 1½ metric tons. That translates into 3,306 pounds for both the cargo body and the cargo. It has a top speed of 60 kilometers per hour (37 mph) and a range of 80 km (50 miles). The spec sheet says it can climb a 10% grade fully loaded, but obviously at a reduced range.

Power comes from lead-acid batteries housed in battery boxes under the floor of the body. The company says these lead-acid batteries will be replaced soon by lithium batteries. A battery charger comes with the truck, and it requires about 12 hours recharging time.

The chassis and cab are manufactured in China and assembled in Toluca, Mexico, located just west of Mexico City. This site has l0,000 square meters (108,000 sq ft) under roof, plus warehouse and office. It replaces the previous manufacturing site in Pachuca, where an earlier version of the electric truck was assembled.

Jorge Quero, director general of EVI, says the company sold 180 similar trucks of that previous model in 2006. The company originated in California, a part of the Berg and Berg Enterprises in Cupertino CA. Other Berg companies manufacture the batteries and also mobile light towers that use similar batteries and generators.

Going green costs money. In this case it costs about $40,000 for the all-electric truck chassis with a 3,300 lb load capacity. For further information, check the company's Website at or

Dump body built Strong in Mexico

Strong is not a familiar name in Mexico, but its meaning is well understood regarding dump bodies and dump trailers built by Equipos Strong in the Torreon area of northern Mexico. Strong it has to be to withstand the abuse that is customary in the mining and quarry industries, as well as the cement and concrete industries.

The Strong dump body on display at ExpoTransporte in Guadalajara in November is a case in point. The 14 cubic meter (18 cubic yard) half-round body is rolled of 3/16“ Hardox steel, and that curved shape is cradled in a massive rear frame structure and side stiffeners.

Rolling the half-round shape is standard practice at Equipos Strong, says Heriberto (Beto) Esparza. The company invested in the rolling equipment to form the drums for its London concrete mixers. The steel shapes for these London mixers are cut at the London factory in Ontario, Canada, and then shipped flat to Mexico for rolling and fabrication. Equipos Strong normally uses quarter-inch-high manganese steel for its concrete mixer drums to obtain the best resistance to abrasion and corrosion.

For dump bodies and dump trailers, Equipos Strong normally uses 3/16" or l/4" stainless steel, A-36, AR-400, or Hardox. Rolling equipment can handle up to half-inch material. Dump bodies range from 4 to 26 cubic yards, and dump trailers from 31 to 47 cubic yards (24 to 36 cubic meters).

Equipos Strong is affiliated with Maquirent, with 10 branches throughout Mexico, for the manufacture and distribution of truck bodies and trailers, concrete mixers and batch plants, concrete pumps, front-end loaders, and backhoes. Both companies are in Gomez Palacio, just west of Torreon in the state of Durango. For further information, check the website

Nu-Van has new beginning

Most trailer manufacturers in the United States and Mexico were noticeably absent from the three-day ExpoTransporte, the big truck show in Guadalajara, Mexico. Plenty of big trucks and big buses were on display inside the exhibit hall, along with hundreds of suppliers, parts distributors, and other industry representatives. But the big trailer manufacturers, rebelling against being pushed outside into a tented parking lot and objecting to high prices, chose to skip this annual show.

One notable trailer exception was Nu-Van Technologies in Mansfield, Texas, now under new ownership. Fred Ufolla, who started Nu-Van in 1987, was ecstatic about the sales potential for curtainside van trailers in Mexico. He had also exhibited at the recent intermodal show in Mexico City.

“Mexico will be a bigger market for curtainsiders than the United States,” Ufolla predicted. He was pushing not only the traditional sliding curtain sidewall that dominates the trailer market in the United Kingdom, Germany, and much of Europe, but also the folding sidewall concept. A live demonstration showed the speed of opening the Wingliner, an imported mechanism for folding the sidewall on top of the van trailer.

“I imported six Wingliners from Austria in 2004, and they are all still running,” Ufolla claims.

This four-year test period shows the durability of the motorized folding mechanism, he says. For the ExpoTransporte show, each 20-ft Wingliner opens up half the sidewall of the 40-ft trailer. Although long trailers account for the largest market share in Mexico, 40-ft trailers are popular because two of them can be operated as doubles in combination with a two-axle converter dolly.

After starting Nu-Van in 1987, Ufolla bought Aztec Trailers in 2002 and combined manufacturing in the company's 147,000-sq-ft plant in Mansfield. The 23-acre plant, all equipment and designs, and the two brand names were sold a year ago to EHS Industries, a father-son team of Richard and Gavin Worthy. Ufolla is now an advisor during the company's transition to the new owners.

Nu Van distributor in Mexico, Trailernet SA de CV of San Juan de Ocotan, Zapopan, Jalisco, also cooperated with the exhibit.

CIPSA has joint venture US companies

CIPSA has exhibited at ExpoTransporte for the past six years, and this year was no exception. The company has a joint venture to manufacture McNeilus truck-mounted concrete mixers in Puebla, southeast of Mexico City, and builds its own light construction equipment such as concrete mixers and compaction rollers. CIPSA also has been a distributor for Trail King Industries of Mitchell, South Dakota, since 1995, and has added Transcraft Corporation (now owned by Wabash National) for the past three years. This stack of Trail King trailers shows the range of capacities offered, from lowboys to light utility trailers.

ArvinMeritor building axle plant in Mexico

Amelia Quelas, the new vice-president and general manager of ArvinMeritor's global Trailer Group, hosted a press conference during ExpoTransporte announcing big news for the Mexican truck and trailer industry.

Foremost was news that the company was building a new plant in Monterrey for the manufacture of axles, brakes, and other components. Initial production is scheduled for May 2008 for the 3.7 hectare (nine acre or 400,000 sq-ft) plant. ArvinMeritor claims more than a 60% share of the market for trailer axles in Mexico.

The RFS suspension that was launched three years ago to meet global market needs, especially in Mexico, will be produced in Mexico starting during the first quarter of 2008. Among its advantages is a special bushing that provides outstanding stiffness, especially in fore-and-aft movement.

Quelas has been the VP and general manager of the Trailer Group since August. She joined ArvinMeritor from Freightliner Corp, where she was responsible for sales and marketing efforts in Mexico and Latin America. Before that she served as president of Detroit Diesel Allison de Mexico in Mexico and Latin America. She also held various management positions with Penske Corporation over a period of 13 years. She holds master's degrees from CAECE University in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and from the University of California Los Angeles.

REPO builds trailers in San Luis Potosi

The term REPO obviously means something different in Mexico, where people know that trailers are really remolques and that those in San Luis Potosi are Potosinos. So it is natural that REPO should stand for Remolques Potosinos SA de CV, a manufacturer of platforms, container chassis, and converter dollies, located in both the state and city of San Luis Potosi, 240 miles northwest of Mexico City.