Valuable advice from clutch, transmission, driveline and rear axle manufacturers:
“When a fleet manager is spec’ing new trucks and wants to keep the residual value as high as possible,” says Lou Gilbert, manager, North American marketing, “the truck needs to appeal to as many potential customers as possible. One consideration that
is critical is component durability. A main concern of a resale buyer is whether the truck will be immediately productive and not require repairs that will take the truck out of service and mean additional investment. Understanding potential duty cycle requirements is important for resale because a truck’s second life could be completely different than its original use.”
Gilbert also cites future operators’ skills as important to consider when spec’ing for resale. In general, he notes, a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission can be driven by anyone. On the other hand, the number of people that can skillfully drive a manually shifted truck continues to decline.
Another consideration that Gilbert points out is PTO capability. “The ability to power a PTO can be very important for the second life of a truck,” he states. “While the original purchaser may not have PTO requirements, potential resale purchasers may have a need to mount equipment or perform completely different work. Providing the resale buyer with that flexibility can bring higher residual value and a quicker sale.”
“No one wants to purchase a used truck that performs poorly,” Gilbert adds. “Resale buyers will look for horsepower/torque and transmission performance that meets their needs. The worse the vehicle performs, the less interest it will gather during the resale process.”
“In most cases,” says Charlie Allen, national service director for Arvin Meritor, “second owners desire more horsepower than primary purchasers of heavy-duty vehicles. With that in mind, drivetrain specifications that can be up-rated to handle higher horsepower and torque should be a consideration, even if the first owner does not use the higher rating.
“In other words,” Allen continues, “ensure that the components downstream of the engine can handle increased torque, including the clutch, transmission, driveshafts and axles. This may require spending a bit more up front, but that higher level of investment should provide the ability to sell the used vehicle faster or for more money. Driveshaft changes at resale can be very expensive, for example, so paying a small premium up front will usually pay dividends.”
First owners, Allen advises, need to focus on what they are doing with the truck. Axle ratios, for instance, have a very big impact on fuel consumption, so it’s important to consider specs that will provide the best performance.
Another drivetrain choice that might provide good service for initial users and an advantage in the resale market, according to Allen, are low maintenance components. “Everyone should understand that clutches, transmissions, drivelines and rear axles still need to be inspected regularly,” he says, “but they can also eliminate the need for routine service and thereby lower maintenance costs. These can include lubrication-free drivelines, self-adjusting clutches and the use of synthetic lubricants in axles and transmissions.
“The real key to spec’ing drivetrains for higher resale value,” Allen states, “is in making sure that the components are optimized to match the engine’s operating characteristics. In the long run, that’s what will provide good performance for first and second owners. Specify for the application and vocation, including desired road speeds and routes and be sure to understand the definition of exact applications. High grades and poor road surfaces, GCW, quantity of starts and stops all impact a drivetrain’s performance and life, and in turn a vehicle’s resale value.”
Dana Corp./Eaton Corp.
“It is always a good idea to consider the entire value stream of the vehicle when spec’ing a new commercial truck,” notes Steve Slesinski, director – CVS product management at Dana Corp., “and specifyng the right drivetrain arrangement can help bring that about in a profitable way.
“For example,” Slesinski continues, ”if the vehicle is going to be used exclusively in on-
highway linehaul operations for the first three to four years of its life and then converted to regional haul use, a fleet manager should specify lighter weight, low-maintenance and easily serviceable components. That practice will pay off when the time comes to resell the vehicle. By helping bring about longer component life, and eliminating the need for time-consuming service procedures for second owners,” he says, “these items enhance the eventual resale value of the truck.”
Focusing on the future, Leo Wenstrup, senior product manager for drive axle systems, notes that Dana is now testing a kit that will convert a 6X2 axle configuration to a conventional tandem axle to increase vehicle resale value and offer flexibility for future owners. “The price of the conversion kit is anticipated to be less than the increase in market value between a 6X2 and 6X4 tractor,” he says. “We expect this conversion to effectively address resale issues that have often affected the appeal of a lighter weight and more fuel efficient 6X2 system.”
In a related program, Eaton Corp. is evaluating how an automated transmission affects the resale value of a truck and is selling a new type of convertible transmission to several fleets. The transmission, which is offered as nine- or ten-speed, can be converted to a 13-speed for second owners. This development, according to Eaton, reflects the latest trends in resale value of automated transmissions. Today, for example, a
ten-speed automated model is listed as an addition of around $1,500 to the value of a used truck.
A self-adjusting clutch is a smart choice when spec’ing a new truck, points out Dave Plaster, global marketing manager for aftermarket and the vehicle solutions business unit of Eaton Corp. “This design will eliminate three adjustments for every 100,000 miles of on-highway service,” he relates, “and owners of vehicles engaged in on-/off-highway service can do away with five adjustments for every 100,000 miles of operation. For the second or third owner, it will certainly help their bottom line.”
“Fleet managers wanting to maximize the value of their investment in new trucks should take a good look at the long-term benefits of low-maintenance components,” Plaster says. “Additional maintenance is something a second or third truck owner will want to avoid, especially an owner-operator or small fleet owner.” FE
“There are many issues with modern drivelines that can impact resale values,” states Steve Rutherford, manager, Caterpillar on-highway transmissions marketing. “Among the most important are spec’ing an integrated powertrain and providing for flexibility into other applications.
“Trucks built for a specialty application could have a shallow resale market,” Rutherford continues. “That doesn’t mean that a specialized truck will be worth less at resale, but rather that the number of buyers may be limited. On the other hand, that can be a good thing because a vehicle with a drivetrain that is properly specified will be very attractive to the right buyer at resale.”
Spec’ing automatic transmissions in trucks is a continuing trend, Rutherford relates, and one that could help attract future owners. “One reason,” he points out, “is that automatic transmissions reduce the shock loads on the rest of the driveline, which can help increase the life of other components. Another reason is that given the changing pool of drivers, a two-pedal system will make more sense for the future.
“What the used truck customer is buying is productivity,” Rutherford states. “The best way to specify a truck for higher resale is to pay close attention to the vehicle’s application today and buy a truck that is also spec’ed for the future.”