Trends Moving the Truck Market

The announcement of the new Hino XL, Hino's first entry into the North American Class 8 market, was the Work Truck Show's largest press conference to date. (Photo by Chris Brown)

A testament to a robust economy, the steady incline of Class 4 to 6 truck sales, and a continuing onslaught of new products and services, NTEA’s Work Truck Show has become an annual pilgrimage for equipment makers, technology providers, chassis manufacturers, upfitters, OEMs, and fleets. With roots in equipment spec’ing, the show has evolved to include major truck launches — this year’s announcements of General Motors’ reentry into medium duty and Hino’s first North American foray into Class 8couldn’t get any bigger.

Thus the Work Truck Show is a worthy weather vane of the truck market. Certainly, there are many more trend lines than one editor could gather or would fit reasonably in these confines.  

The winds have been blowing away from compressed natural gas (CNG) for a few years now, as witnessed by the lack of CNG-specific exhibitors in the Productivity and Fuels Pavilion. Some players, such as Venchurs Vehicle Systems, still serve the existing market but are using their facilities for custom fleet upfitting and conversions.

Meanwhile, with a low cost of entry and low cost of fuel, propane autogas is the little alt-fuel engine that could. Though the overall market size of propane-powered units is still south of 200,000, market leader Roush CleanTech saw a 60% increase in orders in 2017. Roush is now concentrating on Class 4 to 6, says Todd Mouw, the company’s recently appointed president. Why? “Folks have little reason to move from gas, but they’re motivated to move away from diesel,” Mouw said. 

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