In the world of print magazines, there’s only so much space that we can fill, and Fleet Equipment has the knack for packing our print issues with a truckload of insightful info. Believe it or not, great kernels of knowledge still get left on the editing room floor. But in the digital world, anything goes. So here’s an additional Q&A from our interview with Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president.
Fleet Equipment (FE): How do you see Class 8 truck sales performing in the fourth quarter? What is your prediction for 2017 orders?
Dozier: We believe that class 8 truck sales will continue to be good through the end of the year, ending in a range of 220,000 to 240,000. For 2017, we’ve already had conversations with a wide range of customers, both large and small, and we believe that many customers continue to be in an equipment replacement mode. Bright spots include vocational customers that continue to benefit from high levels of construction and housing activity. Also, customers are benefiting from the auto industry, and the manufacturing sector has been on a slight upswing for the last several months, which is helping to sustain freight levels. Fourth quarter is always a busy time in terms of new orders and we expect order activity over the next few months to be good.
FE: Adoption of new technology continues to expand. What is the biggest technology segment your customers ask for—ELD solutions? Advanced safety systems? Telematics diagnostic solutions? And what do you see driving that demand?
Dozier: There are many new technologies that are rapidly becoming mainstream. Advanced driver assistance systems such as collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, predictive cruise control, and lane departure warning are all becoming standard specifications at many fleets who realize that the ROI from enhanced fuel economy and mitigating the risk of collisions can be significant.
Furthermore, connectivity is standard on Kenworth Class 8 models. Kenworth TruckTech+, which is installed in every Class 8 model at Kenworth today, is the gateway system for remote diagnostics, service event management and tracking, as well as a range of fleet telematics solutions, including electronic logging devices (ELDs). The pace of product change and innovation is amazing today and Kenworth is at the forefront in offering the latest in technologies to our customers.
FE: Last year, Kenworth announced its PremierCare Gold Certified program with an ExpressLane at certified dealers—what have been the results of that program and how has the Express Lane impacted downtime?
Dozier: Kenworth PremierCare Gold has been a great program for our dealers and our customers. The ExpressLane two-hour diagnosis that PremierCare Gold dealers provide is helping customers make decisions on their equipment much quicker than in the past and is helping dealer service shops improve service times.
Kenworth TruckTech+ support, which PremierCare Gold dealers also offer, is helping to provide diagnostics information to dealer service technicians before trucks actually arrive at dealer facilities, which helps expedite the service process. And through our online dealer mapping tools, which identify PremierCare Gold dealers, customers appreciate being able to identify the top Kenworth dealers with extended service hours and other premium service elements.