Freightliner, UPS celebrate milestone chassis

Freightliner UPS chassis

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corp (FCCC) delivered its 50,000th chassis to UPS in a major milestone for their 22-year partnership.

Leaders from UPS and FCCC recently were on hand at FCCC headquarters in Gaffney to mark the official delivery of the milestone chassis, which was specially branded and displayed for the event. Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of FCCC parent company Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), was on hand with other DTNA leaders for the celebration, along with elected officials and civic leaders from Gaffney and Cherokee County.

“This is a momentous and special day for FCCC, one that is the culmination of an incredible amount of teamwork, dedication and effort on the part of a lot of people over the past 20-plus years,” said Jeff Sather, president of FCCC. “This is also a day that certainly wouldn’t be possible without UPS, a customer who views us as much more than just a vendor – but rather as a valued, strategic partner, as they have for more than two decades.”

FCCC began its partnership with UPS in 1996, delivering more than 600 units of its MT-45 chassis that year. FCCC delivered to UPS more than 1,000 chassis in a year 13 times since then, with a peak of more than 6,000 in 2015.

While more than half of the 50,000 chassis delivered to UPS were either gas- or diesel-powered, FCCC and UPS also have developed and deployed a range of alternative-fuel products, including hybrid-electric, hydraulic hybrid, electric, compressed natural gas (CNG) and propane-autogas.

“UPS has become – and remains – the global leader in logistics and delivery by being efficient, reliable and forward-thinking,” Sather added. “In turn, they need their delivery vehicles to be efficient and reliable.

“We’re honored they continue to entrust a significant portion of their fleet to us and we’re excited about what FCCC can help them accomplish over the next 20-plus years.”

The Tesla Semi Is Dead

Summary

Tesla unveiled the prototype of its Semi to much fanfare in November 2017.

Successive press events and public test drives built the perception that the Semi would enter production in the near-term; numerous large companies made preorders.

Yet, during the Q1 2018 earnings call, the Semi received no mention except in response to questions; CEO Elon Musk essentially admitted the project had been put on hold.

Lack of capital to build a manufacturing plant and apparent technological challenges have raised eyebrows since the unveiling; the financing situation has only gotten worse since then.

It appears increasingly certain that the Tesla Semi will never see commercial production.

Six months ago, the Tesla (TSLA) buzz was all about the Semi. This electric truck, which CEO Elon Musk unveiled to much fanfare in November 2017, was supposed to be a mind-blowing “beast”. Indeed, Musk promised that the Semi would redefine the trucking industry.

The glitzy reveal event had the desired effect, boosting Tesla’s share price and providing a welcome distraction from the painfully slow production ramp of the mass-market Model 3 sedan. Musk promised to begin production in 2019, a pledge that was swiftly followed by a raft of announcements from numerous big companies that had placed orders.

The Tesla Semi was lauded as a massively valuable game-changer by the company’s various boosters. With hundreds of preorders on the books, as well as promises that the Semi would be more cost-effective than current big rigs, it looked like Tesla might have a big winner on its hands.

Thus, it should perhaps come as a surprise that the Tesla Semi received no mention whatsoever in the company’s Q1 2018 update letter. Why would this potentially revolutionary vehicle get no love at all?

Wheels Come Off the Semi Project

The answer was provided during the Q&A portion of the Q1 earnings call. Here is an enlightening exchange between CNBC’s Phil LeBeau and Musk:

Phil LeBeau – CNBC LLC

With the Tesla Semi, how many reservations do you guys now have approximately? And where are you in the process as far as the development and the rollout of the first model in terms of timeline, when you guys expect that to happen, et cetera?

Elon Reeve Musk – Tesla, Inc.

I actually don’t know how many reservations we have for the Semi. About 2,000? Okay. I mean, we haven’t really tried to sell the Semi. It’s not like there’s like an ongoing sales effort, so sales – orders for Semi are like opportunistic, really companies approaching us. Yeah, it’s not something we really think about much.

Ford halts F-150 production after fire, could idle 7,600 workers

2018 F-150 Power Stroke Diesel

Ford Motor faces a complete production shutdown of its profit-driving F-150 pickups for an unknown period of time.

“It is a very fluid situation,” company spokeswoman Kelli Felker said Tuesday.

A major fire at Meridian Magnesium Products in Eaton Rapids, Mich., on May 2 created an unavoidable disruption. Ford has been working with the die-cast parts manufacturer since the incident.

The truck side of the Ford Kansas City Assembly Plant in Missouri shut down this week because of the parts shortage caused by the fire, sending about 3,600 workers home, Felker confirmed.

A decision is pending on when or if the Dearborn, Mich., Truck Plant will shut down, which would affect another 4,000 workers.

“We will be making that decision shortly,” Felker said.

The F-150, America’s top-selling vehicle, is built only at the two sites. No date has been set for reopening the Kansas City plant, Felker confirmed.

A UAW official in Dearborn distributed an alert to workers warning of potential job disruption. A letter from Burkie Morris, UAW president and chairman at the Dearborn Truck Plant, received by workers on Tuesday said:

“The company has informed us that we have enough parts to build vehicles through Thursday. The company is meeting continuously to find a solution to replace and manufacturer (sic) parts that were lost due to the fire at Meridian. According to the company, at some point we will have an interruption in production. At this time, the company doesn’t know for sure when or for how long we will be down. As a result of the fire, there is a great deal of uncertainty in our production schedule at DTP. Adjustments and changes are being made hour by hour as the company is engaged in getting the parts needed to maintain our normal production schedule.”

The letter urges workers to keep their personal contact information updated so they can get updates as information becomes available.

Felker said, “We are working closely with the supplier to manage the situation and to determine next steps.”

Analysts and the company said F-150 inventory is fine for now but the situation is volatile.

“The F-Series is the profit machine for Dearborn,” said Dave Sullivan, manager of product analysis at AutoPacific Inc. “They should be able to weather a short-term shutdown. But if this goes longer than a week, it could really hurt second-quarter performance.”

In April alone, Ford built 29,572 trucks in Kansas City and 31,482 trucks in Dearborn.

Stephanie Brinley, senior analyst at IHS Markit, agreed that panic is premature.

“It’s a little early,” she said. “Not yet.”

On a side note, the Kansas City plant also builds the Ford Transit with the help of about 3,400 workers. They have not been impacted by the shutdown, Felker said.

Meanwhile, production of the Ford Super Duty trucks has stopped, but no layoffs have occurred, she confirmed. The Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville and the Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, the only sites where Super Duty trucks are built, are not scheduled for shut down. Felker said Ford has continued manufacturing Expeditions, Navigators and other large vehicles uninterrupted.

The fire also affected production of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles plant in Windsor, Ontario, that produces the Chrysler Pacifica minivan.

Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said, “The company is adjusting production schedules as needed to minimize plant downtime, but will make up any lost production. FCA continues to work with the supplier’s team on recovery efforts.”

Windsor Assembly employs 6,100 workers on three shifts, according to a company fact sheet.

In addition to the Pacifica and Pacifica Hybrid, the plant produces the Dodge Grand Caravan.

The fire early May 2 has been described as one of the worst fires in the last 40 years in Eaton Rapids, according to the Lansing State Journal.

“The blaze at Meridian Magnesium, the city’s largest employer, forced the evacuation of nearly 150 people from the building, but one city official said it was ‘a miracle’ that only two people were injured,” the State Journal reported.

The fire was followed by a series of explosions, but despite the damage at the 208,000-square-foot plant, which produces instrument panel components, some workers were told they could return to work that day, the paper reported last week.

“The blaze apparently originated in an area of the plant called the ‘tunnel,’ where workers put magnesium scraps on a conveyor belt to be melted down,” the State Journal reported.

The paper noted that the cause of the fire remains unknown. More than 400 people are employed at the plant.

Semi-truck safety

When looking at driving safety in our state, it has to be looked at from every angle. This month, I want to talk about driving on the road with semi-trucks. A semi with a trailer is approximately 70 feet on average. Think of that as having a six-story building going down the highway. They are big, bulky and slow to stop, and take up a lot of room when changing direction. Drivers making an error in judgement around semis or a semi driver making an error in judgement around cars can have serious to fatal consequences.

All it takes is a little pre-planning by both the semi driver and the drivers in other, smaller vehicles to make sure a crash doesn’t happen. By this I mean have a plan for the unexpected. Don’t follow too closely, in case the other vehicle has to stop quickly and without notice. Know the stopping distance of your vehicle at highway speeds. For instance, a fully loaded semi-truck with a gross vehicle weight of up to 80,000 pounds, going just 55 mph, has a stopping distance of 100 yards; that’s the length of a football field.

Drivers in cars and trucks need to make sure to give semis plenty of space when merging in front of them or you may have it sitting on top of your car. For the semi driver, make sure you are checking and continue to re-check your mirrors when making those lane changes. Smaller cars and trucks can easily hide in those blind spots.

Just because you are big, doesn’t mean you don’t have to give the right of way to other vehicles. Make sure your right of way is free of other traffic prior to merging or turning onto a roadway. On the other side, please give semis a break when they are trying to merge or make turns. It takes a lot of space to maneuver these rigs and to get one going can take some time.

In areas where there is heavy semi traffic, try to avoid the area if possible to reduce your chance of having a crash with one of them. If you drive the semi, try to make sure you don’t get in a small convoy with other semis so you can give the smaller and often local traffic a break.

By being courteous to one another on the roadways, we can eliminate crashes that involve semi-trucks with other vehicles. Try and put yourself in the other person’s vehicle and think about what they would like from you so they can get where they are going, just as they can try to help you get to your destination.

And lastly, in case anyone has forgotten the other big one, here is a reminder: blinkers, blinkers, blinkers.

Remember, these tips are good to pass along to the younger drivers in your life. Please spread the word.

As always, safe travels!

Navistar Hit With $30.8 Million Judgment in ProStar/MaxxForce Lawsuit

A jury has awarded $30.8 million to Milan Supply Chain Solutions in its suit against Navistar Inc. Photo courtesy Milan Supply Chain Solutions

Navistar Inc. disputes allegations that it didn’t thoroughly test its MaxxForce EGR engines — allegations that surfaced in a lawsuit where a jury last week awarded $30.8 million in damages — including testimony about the engine program by former executive Jim Hebe that the company “did not test s**t”.

The Tennessee jury found that Navistar committed fraud and violated the Tennessee Consumer Practice Act in connection with the sale of 243 Navistar International ProStars with MaxxForce engines to Milan Supply Chain Solutions. It awarded $10.8 million in actual damages and $20 million in punitive damages.

Tennessee-based Milan alleged that Navistar misled them, saying the truck maker failed to disclose that the MaxxForce 13L engine, which used exhaust gas recirculation to meet 2010 emissions standards rather than the selective catalytic reduction being used by other truck and engine makers, was launched with “serious known defects.”

Milan also alleged that Navistar, while touting the quality of its testing program, knew that the testing had serious flaws, was incomplete at launch, and put the trucks into customers’ hands knowing that the customers would end up becoming the de facto test fleet for Navistar’s new 2010 year model engine.

In a statement, Navistar said it is disappointed in the jury’s verdict and is evaluating its options to challenge it, noting it has successfully defended similar claims in several jurisdictions, including dismissal of claims of fraud in courts in Texas, Wisconsin, Michigan, Indiana, Alabama, and Illinois.

“At the time of the product launch, we were confident, based on this testing, that the product would perform.” – Navistar

“Navistar tested the MaxxForce 13 engine consistent with industry standards,” the company said in a statement. “They were tested for 12 million miles prior to launch under rigorous conditions, in test cells and on the road. At the time of the product launch, we were confident, based on this testing, that the product would perform. All products undergo continuous improvement throughout their lifecycle. When some parts unexpectedly failed, we fixed them under warranty for our customers, including Milan Supply. We’ve invested a significant amount of resources standing behind our products and supporting our customers.”

Indeed, those warranty claims have dogged Navistar, being a key factor in many quarters of disappointing financial results.

EGR vs. SCR

Milan purchased the MaxxForce-powered ProStars in 2011 and 2012. The MaxxForce engine used Navistar’s go-it-alone strategy of “advanced exhaust gas recirculation” to meet EPA 2010 emissions regulations, which it used hoping to avoid the use of selective catalytic reduction (SCR) adopted by other truck and engine makers. However, Navistar was never able to get EPA approval for the MaxxForce engine after the expiration of its emissions credits, at which point it switched emissions-control technologies to SCR.

Since that time, Navistar has overhauled its management team and product lineup, moving to engines supplied by Cummins and a new Navistar A26 engine just going into production developed based on proven engine technology from new partner Volkswagen.

What would eventually turn out to be an ill-fated decision by Navistar to use Advanced EGR instead of SCR led to numerous quality problems with the engine, which resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars of warranty costs to Navistar and losses on the resale market for trucking companies like Milan.

During the trial, numerous executives testified either live or by deposition, including the aforementioned comment from Jim Hebe, former senior vice president of North American sales, who said Navistar never tested the final version of the engine before selling it to customers.

In an email to current CEO Troy Clarke, Navistar’s current Senior Vice President of Engineering Dennis Mooney quoted former Vice President of Quality Tom Cellitti (who was in charge of testing the Maxxforce engine) as saying over and over again prior to the launch to customers, “we have no field testing,” because the company only tested engineering development trucks rather than validation trucks.

In the same email, according to plaintiff’s attorneys, Mooney admitted that customers ended up uncovering problems that Navistar would have uncovered with the Maxxforce had it been able to do more testing.

In another email exchange between Mooney and Clarke revealed at the trial, Mooney said the management had told the board of directors in 2013 that the “physics of the EGR strategy is (sic) not sound.” None of these things were ever revealed to the public prior to trial, according to attorneys.

Navistar’s MaxxForce engine
Navistar's MaxxForce engine

The jury also heard evidence that Navistar knew when it launched the engine that critical engine components had serious quality problems and a shortened life span. For instance, the EGR cooler allegedly had a life span of less than 20% of the design requirement based upon testing done before the sale of the engines to the public, according to the attorneys.

While the attorneys for the plaintiffs charged that none of this information was disclosed to customers, Jack Allen, the former chief operating officer and president of truck operations, testified for Navistar that in his opinion it was “normal business practice” for companies to not disclose to customers in advance of a sale about known defects in the products or to disclose to customers that they were buying a product that had not been fully validated or tested by the manufacturer.

“The jury seemed shocked to hear this testimony about the corporate culture and philosophy of Navistar from one of the company’s top executives,” said Clay Miller of the Dallas law firm Miller Weisbrod, lead trial attorney for Milan, referring to Allen’s testimony. Miller said he believed this played a key factor in the punitive award.

Milan and its attorneys also criticized Navistar, saying the company refused to work with the fleet to address issues and instead went the litigation route.

Navistar said it “strongly disagrees with plaintiff counsel’s characterizations of Navistar’s conduct. Navistar has and will continue to defend our products, our reputation in the market, and the integrity of our employees.”

 

Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine Market Outlook 2018- Volvo, Deere & Company, Scania AB, Perkins Engines

Reportsbuzz added a new latest industry research report that focuses on ”Off-Highway Diesel Engine market ” and provides in-depth Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine market analysis and future prospects of Off-Highway Diesel Engine market 2017. The research study covers significant data which makes the document a handy resource for managers, analysts, industry experts and other key people get ready-to-access and self-analyzed study along with graphs and tables to help understand market trends, drivers and market challenges. The research study is segmented by Application/ end users Automotive, Mining, Construction, Agricultural Application, products type Type I, Type II and geographies like United States, China, Europe, Japan, Korea & Taiwan.

The research covers the current market size of the Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine market and its growth rates based on 5 year history data along with company profile of key players/manufacturers such as Volvo, Deere & Company, Scania AB, Perkins Engines, MTU Detroit Diesel, Komatsu America Corporation, Cummins Inc, CNH Industrial, Caterpillar. The in-depth information by segments of Off-Highway Diesel Engine market helps monitor future profitability & to make critical decisions for growth. The information on trends and developments, focuses on markets and materials, capacities, technologies, CAPEX cycle and the changing structure of the Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine Market.

The study provides company profiling, product picture and specifications, sales, market share and contact information of key manufacturers of Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine Market, some of them listed here are Volvo, Deere & Company, Scania AB, Perkins Engines, MTU Detroit Diesel, Komatsu America Corporation, Cummins Inc, CNH Industrial, Caterpillar. The market is growing at a very rapid pace and with rise in technological innovation, competition and M&A activities in the industry many local and regional vendors are offering specific application products for varied end-users. The new manufacturer entrants in the market are finding it hard to compete with the international vendors based on quality, reliability, and innovations in technology.

Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine (Thousands Units) and Revenue (Million USD) Market Split by Product Type such as Type I, Type II. Further the research study is segmented by Application & Other with historical and projected market share and compounded annual growth rate.

Geographically, this report is segmented into several key Regions, with production, consumption, revenue (million USD), and market share and growth rate of Off-Highway Diesel Engine in these regions, from 2012 to 2022 (forecast), covering United States, China, Europe, Japan, Korea & Taiwan and its Share (%) and CAGR for the forecasted period 2017 to 2022.

What this Research Study Offers:

1. Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine Market share assessments for the regional and country level segments
2. Market share analysis of the top industry players
3. Strategic recommendations for the new entrants
4. Market forecasts for a minimum of 5 years of all the mentioned segments, sub segments and the regional markets
5. Market Trends (Drivers, Constraints, Opportunities, Threats, Challenges, Investment Opportunities, and recommendations)
6. Strategic recommendations in key business segments based on the market estimations
7. Competitive landscaping mapping the key common trends
8. Company profiling with detailed strategies, financials, and recent developments
9. Supply chain trends mapping the latest technological advancements

There are 15 Chapters to display the Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine market

Chapter 1, Definition, Specifications and Classification of Off-Highway Diesel Engine , Applications of Off-Highway Diesel Engine , Market Segment by Regions;
Chapter 2, Manufacturing Cost Structure, Raw Material and Suppliers, Manufacturing Process, Industry Chain Structure;
Chapter 3, Technical Data and Manufacturing Plants Analysis of Off-Highway Diesel Engine , Capacity and Commercial Production Date, Manufacturing Plants Distribution, R&D Status and Technology Source, Raw Materials Sources Analysis;
Chapter 4, Overall Market Analysis, Capacity Analysis (Company Segment), Sales Analysis (Company Segment), Sales Price Analysis (Company Segment);
Chapter 5 and 6, Regional Market Analysis that includes United States, China, Europe, Japan, Korea & Taiwan, Off-Highway Diesel Engine Segment Market Analysis (by Type);
Chapter 7 and 8, The Off-Highway Diesel Engine Segment Market Analysis (by Application) Major Manufacturers Analysis of Off-Highway Diesel Engine ;
Chapter 9, Market Trend Analysis, Regional Market Trend, Market Trend by Product Type Type I, Type II, Market Trend by Application Automotive, Mining, Construction, Agricultural Application;
Chapter 10, Regional Marketing Type Analysis, International Trade Type Analysis, Supply Chain Analysis;
Chapter 11, The Consumers Analysis of Global Off-Highway Diesel Engine ;
Chapter 12, Off-Highway Diesel Engine Research Findings and Conclusion, Appendix, methodology and data source;
Chapter 13, 14 and 15, Off-Highway Diesel Engine sales channel, distributors, traders, dealers, Research Findings and Conclusion, appendix and data source.

Idaho farm trucking company seeks bankruptcy protection

An Idaho trucking company that specializes in hauling farm goods has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, which protects it against foreclosure while restructuring debt.

Anderson Farms of Burley, Idaho, operates 41 trucks that transport feed to dairies and distribute other agricultural products in the Northwest.

The company owes between $1 million and $10 million to fewer than 50 creditors and owns assets of less than $50,000, according to its bankruptcy filing. It’s also a “substantial shareholder” in the Anderson Cattle Co., a feedlot and cattle operation.

Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, companies can stay operational while developing reorganization plans to pay back creditors.

The company referred questions to its attorney, Steven Taggart, who was unavailable for comment as of press time.

According to court documents, Anderson Farms has asked a bankruptcy judge for permission to use about $1 million in cash that serves as collateral for creditors. Without that money, which the company expects to collect over the next month, “the debtor will be unable to operate or reorganize,” according to a court motion.

A hearing on the matter was scheduled for May 9 in Boise.

The trucking company’s bankruptcy filing comes at a time of stress for the dairy industry, which is coping with low milk prices.

“There’s just no money in it right now,” said Steve Hines, a University of Idaho Extension educator.

While some dairies are eking out a profit, others are living off the equity in their business or selling cattle, Hines said.

Those reducing their herds would need less feed but others also aren’t stockpiling more feed than necessary, he said. “They don’t have the cash with the milk price to store hundreds of thousands of dollars in feed.”

Suppliers to dairies with large unpaid accounts receivable can face financial distress, but many have grown careful of finding themselves in this position, said Joel Packham, another University of Idaho Extension educator.

Some dairies own trucks for hauling cattle and may use them for hauling feed as well, potentially creating competition for trucking companies, he said.

Ultimately, though, the dairy industry is still reliant on transportation, Packham said. “They still need feed and they need someone to haul it for them.”