It’s that magical time of year in which auto and industry trade shows pull back the curtain on new product releases. Usually the automobile industry steals the spot light but you can on me to ignore the latest Audi in favor of commercial truck platform news. In years past manufacturers have unveiled their new trucks at events like the Mid American Truck Show but with 2014 being the year of ConExpo (it only comes around every three years) it seems everyone is busy jumping on the excitement the show brings to a multitude of industries that trucks call home. Just yesterday we had some big news from Cat, Ford and Mack.
The 2015 Ford F-650 & F-750
Last week we learned that Ford was moving production of F-650 and 750 trucks from a Navistar plant in Mexico to their own plant in Ohio. To go along with this move a new body style will be available starting in 2015 that borrow body lines from the smaller trucks in the Super Duty line up, yup, the F-350/450 are small potatoes in this comparison. Production won’t start at the Ohio plant until 2016 but the Ford commercial trucks page is already touting their home grown pedigree. Along with the new body style comes the 6.7 Powerstroke V-8 diesel engine which has replaced a Cummins option. Paired with a V-10 gas engine Ford is now the only manufacturer to offer both gas and diesel engines options in their trucks. You may wonder why Ford even offers a gas engine. Simply put, it’s cheap…at least compared to diesel options, allowing them to compete with other well established medium duty trucks builders (Freightliner & International) on price alone. One transmission, a 6 speed Ford built automatic (bye bye Allison), is available for both engine options. No mention of any manual options. In fact Ford states there is no need for any other type of transmission. Confidence! Ford has it!
There it is and I think it looks great compared to the previous generation. There are no photos of the interior available but new user friendly gauges along with an easier to grip and use (?) steering wheel are mentioned in the press release that you can read here.
I was starting to wonder about Cat and their foray in the U.S. vocational truck market. They hitched their wagon to International for production of the CT660 and it’s no secret that company has seen its fair share of trouble regarding their Maxxforce line of diesel engines. Many scoffed that CT660 was nothing more than a International Paystar with a different hood. A statement that caused more than a few Cat Truck dealers to writhe in pain. Grabbing market share in a mature industry with established players is a difficult challenge but Cat seems determined to make a go of it with the introduction of their latest truck, the CT681.
So what do you think? To me, this screams Paystar more than ever before. Check out this photo of a 2007 Paystar SFA.
No denying the family resemblance if you ask me. According to Cat this truck has already undergone what equates to three years of product testing after an extensive field follow program that placed the truck with real world customers. The CT681 will be offered with the Cat line of on highway engines and the CX31 automatic transmission (manuals too). Read the full press release here.
For about two weeks Mack Trucks has been teasing people through social media about a big news release on 3/4/14. After a solid day of tidbits the news finally broke shortly before midnight (EST) at ConExpo. And the news was?! The Mack brand has been relaunched. Boring. I was not won over by corporate rhetoric and marketing noise. A new logo consisting of a side profile of the famous Mack bulldog over the script normally found on trucks was the most interesting part of the night. I felt silly for staying up to watch an event that was little more than a glorified pep rally. At least we can take solace that the Volvo corporate overloads are trying to grow the brand. Hopefully there will be more than just stage shows in the future. If you were smart and went to bed you didn’t get to see this video. It’s worth a watch for the trucks alone.
Here is the new logo and tag line. It will look great on a t-shirt.