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Volvo Trucks celebrates 35 years of innovation and aerodynamic truck design in North America

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2018 marks the 35th anniversary of Volvo’s 1983 introduction of the Integral Sleeper, the first North American truck model to offer a modern, streamlined design and integrated sleeper compartment. With the 1983 introduction, Volvo set a new North American design standard since followed by all heavy-duty manufacturers. (Courtesy: VOLVO TRUCKS NORTH AMERICA)

GREENSBORO, N.C. — This year marks the 35th anniversary of Volvo’s introduction of the Integral Sleeper, the first North American conventional truck model to offer a modern, streamlined design and a fully integrated sleeper compartment.

“Pioneering innovations in design, fuel efficiency, driver productivity and safety have defined Volvo Trucks throughout our 90-year history,” said Magnus Koeck, Volvo Trucks North America vice president, marketing and brand management. “We’re proud of our heritage and celebrate 35 years of aerodynamic design. With the Integral Sleeper model we truly introduced a new standard and all manufacturers quickly followed suit, a trend we continue to see today with automated manual transmissions, greater integration of connectivity services to help maximize uptime, and right-sizing of engines for improved fuel efficiency and weight savings.”

Koeck  said the Integral Sleeper was the first modern conventional model to unite the cab and sleeper compartments for improved aerodynamics with seamless body-in-white construction that also allowed easy pass-through from the driving environment to the living space.

The redefined truck design further defied industry-wide design conventions of the time, introducing a hood that was six inches narrower and six inches lower at the front than at the cowl, to help reduce wind resistance, he said, adding that the Integral Sleeper aerodynamics were further boosted through a full-height roof fairing, cab side extenders, chassis fairings and trim tabs that helped air flow smoothly from the tractor to the trailer.

“Over the past year we’ve introduced the new Volvo VNR regional haul, Volvo VNL long-haul, and Volvo VNL heavy-haul tractors under the theme ‘The Shape of Trucks to Come,’ which also would have been very appropriate during the 1983 introduction of the Integral Sleeper, a model that inspired a design revolution for conventional model trucks,” Koeck said. “Each of our on-highway models, the new VNR, VNL, and VNX, bring efficiency through their streamlined shapes. Even regional haul and heavy-haul trucks spend time at highway speeds when aerodynamics become increasingly important.”

Koeck sais to complement its legendary cabs, made with high strength steel, Volvo, inventors of the three-point safety belt, became the first Class 8 truck brand in North America to designate a steering wheel-mounted driver’s side airbag as standard equipment. As active safety technologies mature Volvo has maintained a leadership role, introducing Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), an enhanced stability system, as standard equipment for its on-highway lineup in 2007.

“Volvo aspires to zero crashes and zero injuries, helping protect drivers and all road users,” said Johan Agebrand, director of product marketing for Volvo Trucks North America. “Our global Zero Accident Vision is about helping improve safety, and mitigating these events also presents a tremendous cost savings to truck owners.”

Volvo’s July 2017 introduction of the new VNL model also brought Volvo Active Driver Assist featuring Bendix Wingman Fusion as a standard offering, making Volvo Trucks the first heavy-duty truck OEM to offer the active safety system as standard equipment, a designation also applied to the new Volvo VNR series. The system is also integrated with VEST to help drivers avoid rollover, jackknife, and loss-of-control situations on dry, wet, snow- and ice-covered roadways.

Like the conventional model design change sparked by the Integral Sleeper, Volvo also ushered in a shift in transmission preference in North America, Agebrand said. First to market in North America with a proprietary automated manual transmission (AMT), Volvo paved the way for AMTs to receive wide acceptance. In just over a decade since its North American introduction the Volvo I-Shift is now spec’d in more than 90 percent of  all trucks built for the market and is standard across the Volvo VNR, VNL, VNX, VHD and VAH product range.

“While we still offer manual transmissions, it’s increasingly difficult to justify their use, even for the most demanding jobs,” said John Moore, Volvo Trucks North America product marketing manager – powertrain. “We truly have an I-Shift for every application, whether it’s regional, long-haul, or even heavy loads with our 14-speed I-Shift with Crawler Gears supporting gross weights up to 225,000 lbs. Regardless of the application, the I-Shift consistently performs at its best, whether it is two hours or ten hours into a job.”

An industry innovator in factory-installed connectivity, Volvo Trucks today includes its connectivity hardware as standard equipment across its entire North American product range. The connectivity hardware provides access to Remote Diagnostics, which provides proactive diagnostics and monitoring of critical engine, transmission and aftertreatment trouble codes. Volvo also uses the standard onboard connectivity hardware in partnership with best-in-class fleet management providers. Volvo’s standard, factory-installed hardware allows customers to perform software and parameter updates over-the-air with Remote Programming, which helps improve uptime and vehicle efficiency, while reducing downtime costs.

“We’re in an exciting period when it comes to truck technology, and the speed of change is only accelerating,” said Agebrand. “It’s easy to get caught up in the technology revolution, but we must keep in mind the industry’s journey and the transformative designs and innovations that will continue to sculpt the shape of trucks to come.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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FTR Trucking Conditions Index for July improved to reading above neutral

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FTR said although some positive trucking conditions index readings are possible over the next year, the outlook is for primarily negative to neutral readings throughout the time frame. (The Trucker file photo)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR’s Trucking Conditions Index for July improved slightly to a just above neutral reading of 0.28.  Lower diesel prices offset the effects of lower capacity utilization pushing the reading into positive territory for the first time since January. Although some positive readings are possible over the next year, the outlook is for primarily negative to neutral readings throughout the time frame.

Details of the TCI for July are found in the September t issue of FTR’s Trucking Update, published August 30. The “Notes by the Dashboard Light” section issues readers a warning about the possibility for slower growth ahead.

Along with the TCI and “Notes by the Dashboard Light,” the Trucking Update includes data and analysis on load volumes, the capacity environment, rates, costs, and the truck driver situation.

“Although it has become common to hear dire warnings about the state of the trucking industry, the truck freight market as a whole is hardly collapsing,” said Avery Vise, vice president of trucking. “Rapid cooling from last year’s extraordinarily strong market certainly has left many weak carriers exposed, but freight volume and rates are holding up reasonably well – certainly if viewed in a longer-term context. Still, most of the near-term risks to our outlook are on the downside.”

The TCI tracks the changes representing five major conditions in the U.S. truck market, including freight volumes, freight rates, fleet capacity, fuel price and financing.

The individual metrics are combined into a single index indicating the industry’s overall health. A positive score represents good, optimistic conditions. Conversely, a negative score represents bad, pessimistic conditions. Readings near zero are consistent with a neutral operating environment, and double-digit readings (up or down) suggest significant operating changes are likely.

In addition to the monthly updates on trucking conditions, FTR offers a weekly Trucking Market Update in the State of Freight Podcast.

The weekly update, hosted by Avery Vise, covers spot market and economic indicators and major industry developments. To listen to recent episodes and download the indicators that are covered, go to www.FTRintel.com/podcast.

To learn more about FTR visit www.FTRintel.com or call 888-988-1699 or email  or email FTR@FTRintel.com.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Average on-highway gallon of diesel up 1.6 cents, but crude oil up 12.97%

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The average price of a gallon of on-highway diesel for the week ending September 16 was 28.1 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The average on-highway price of a gallon of diesel rose 1.6 cents a gallon to $2.987 for the week ending September 16, according to the Energy Information Administration of the Department of Energy.

It was the first weekly increase since the week ending July 8 when the price went up 1.3 cents a gallon to $3.055.

What, if any, impact did the attack on the Saudi oil facility have on the price this week is hard to determine since the attack occurred only early last Saturday.

“Our team is keeping a close eye on the impact of the Saudi oil fire on the diesel market,” said a spokesperson for Pilot Flying J. “We have already seen the market react, but it’s too early to predict the extent of the impact. Our No. 1 priority remains getting our guests from point A to point B as quickly and conveniently as possible.”

The price of West Texas Intermediate crude rose 12.97% to $61.93 Monday.

All regions of the country increased with the exception of the Central Atlantic States (New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and New Jersey) where the price dropped nine tenths of a penny to $3.013.

The largest increase was in the West Coast minus California at 3 cents top $3.161. The next largest increase was 2.6 cents in the overall West Coast region (California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon and Washington) and the Rocky Mountain states (Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho and Montana.

The price for the week ending September 16 was 28.1 cents lower than the comparable week in 2018.

For a complete list of prices by region for the past three weeks, click here.

 

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DOT’s freight transportation index rises to new all-time high in July

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The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. (The Trucker file photo)

WASHINGTON — The Freight Transportation Services Index (TSI), which is based on the amount of freight carried by the for-hire transportation industry, rose 0.9% in July from June, rising to a new all-time high after declining for two consecutive months, the Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Statistics’ (BTS) said Thursday.

From July 2018 to July 2019, the index rose 2.9% compared to a rise of 6.0% from July 2017 to July 2018.

The Freight TSI measures the month-to-month changes in for-hire freight shipments by mode of transportation in tons and ton-miles, which are combined into one index. The index measures the output of the for-hire freight transportation industry and consists of data from for-hire trucking, rail, inland waterways, pipelines and air freight. The TSI is seasonally-adjusted to remove regular seasons from month-to-month comparisons.

The BTS said the Uly increase was broad based with increases in rail carloads, rail intermodal, trucking, pipeline and air freight. There was a small decline in water transportation.

The TSI increase took place against a background of mixed results for other indicators.

The Federal Reserve Board Industrial Production Index declined in July, reflecting decreases in mining and manufacturing and an increase in utilities. Personal income increased by 0.1%, while housing starts declined by 4.0%. The Institute for Supply Management Manufacturing index decreased 0.5 points to 51.2, indicating continued but slowing growth.

The BTS said despite small decreases in both May (-0.1%) and June (-0.3%), the July index was 0.6% over its April level and 0.2% over its previous record high in November 2018.

The record high level was reached even though the index increased in only four of the eight months since November. From a low point in March 2016, the index climbed 12.8% until reaching a new high in May 2018. From that point, the index has exceeded its levels in all months prior to May 2018. The July 2019 index was 46.6% above the April 2009 low during the most recent recession.

For-hire freight shipments in July 2019 (139.0) were 46.6% higher than the low in April 2009 during the recession (94.8). The July 2019 level reached its all-time high.

For-hire freight shipments measured by the index were up 2.1% in July compared to the end of 2018.

For-hire freight shipments are up 15.4% in the five years from July 2014 and are up 41.4% in the 10 years from July 2009.

 

 

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