Truck OEMs Shift Into High Gear with 2018 New Products

New players in the Class 6 and 8 vehicle market highlight trucking's busy first-quarter trade show season.

Chevrolet pulled off a surprise reveal of the 2019 Silverado 6500HD at NTEA The Work Truck Show, seen here with dump-body upfit. Industry had been expecting just the 4500HD and 5500HD.
Chevrolet pulled off a surprise reveal of the 2019 Silverado 6500HD at NTEA The Work Truck Show, seen here with dump-body upfit. Industry had been expecting just the 4500HD and 5500HD.

January through March is a busy time for work truck suppliers as they roll out new models and technology. Venues include the North American International Auto Show, World of Concrete and the National Truck Equipment Association Work Truck Show, just to name a few. A number of significant introductions were announced this year. Perhaps the biggest news is two brands have entered new product segments — Hino in the Class 8 North American market and Chevrolet with a Class 6 medium-duty offering.

The following describes the more significant introductions. For more comprehensive coverage, check out the Trucks section at

Hino Rolls Out Class 8 Trucks

Hino Trucks becomes the first new brand to enter the North American Class 8 market in decades. This step is seen as the next evolution of the brand.

“Considering our remarkable success in Class 4 to 7 in North America, and our growing presence in the Class 8 market, entering the North American heavy-duty segment makes for the next logical step,” says Yoshinori Noguchi, president and CEO, Hino Trucks North America.

[VIDEO] Hino Pulls Wraps Off Class 8 Truck

The new XL Series will be offered in straight truck and tractor configurations ranging from a GVWR of 33,000 to 60,000 lbs. with a max performance of 360 hp and 1,150 lbs.-ft. torque. The XL7 and XL8 models are powered by Hino’s Dakar race-proven A09 turbo diesel, 8.9-liter, inline six-cylinder engine, which boasts a B10 life of 1 million miles. Available wheelbase selections of up to 304 in. and tandem axle and fifth-wheel configurations are suitable for many vocational applications.

The lineup features active safety solutions with electronic stability control (standard on the tractors) and collision mitigation systems, innovative payload management suspension options and a body-friendly design that is also engineered for ease of serviceability.

Standard features on every 2020 model year XL7 and XL8 include an air ride cab and driver’s seat, hands-free Bluetooth audio/calling, steering wheel controls, LED headlights, cruise control and air conditioning. Owners will also benefit from HinoWatch 24/7 roadside assistance, HinoCare maintenance programs and Hino Insight Telematics.

Production of the XL7 and XL8 will start early in 2019 in Mineral Wells, WV.

Chevrolet Reenters Medium duty and Adds Class 6 Model

Chevrolet was forced to abandon the medium-duty conventional truck business during restructuring in 2008-2009. It has now returned to that market with the Silverado 4500HD and 5500HD. Yet, perhaps the biggest news is the company’s first-time expansion into the Class 6 market with the Silverado 6500HD.

[VIDEO] Chevrolet Reenters Medium-Duty Market

The new Silverado HDs will offer GVWs from 15,000 lbs. in Class 4 to 22,900 lbs. in Class 6. They will be available in 2WD and 4WD and will be powered by a 6.6L Duramax diesel engine with 350 hp and 700 lbs.-ft. of torque. Their Allison transmissions offer a power take-off (PTO) option.

The trucks’ clean, one-piece frame rails and seven wheelbase options (ranging from 60 to 162 in.) suggest they are more than upsized pickup trucks. Key features include:

  • Five unique axle-to-back-of-frame (AF) lengths sized in 8-in. increments
  • Front-hinged clamshell hood that, combined with a 50° wheel cut, allows walk-up access to underhood components
  • Triple-sealed inset doors to help reduce wind and road noise
  • Available factory-installed rear air suspension
  • Optional 15,500-lb. rear axle for the 5500HD and 6500HD
  • OnStar and Chevrolet driver infotainment system included on WT and LT trim levels
  • Crew Cab and Regular Cab versions available

[VIDEO] Paul Loewer Reveals Features on Chevrolet Medium Duty Trucks

The new Silverado HD models were jointly developed with partner Navistar, and will be manufactured at Navistar’s facility in Springfield, OH. Production will begin in late 2018. More than 400 commercially focused Chevrolet dealers are expected to carry the new line.

For 2019, Chevrolet also trimmed as much as 450 lbs. from its Silverado 1500 pickup. The body is 88 lbs. lighter due to mixed materials use. All exterior swing panels (doors, hood and tailgate) are made of aluminum, while fixed panels (fenders, roof and bed) are made of steel. The underlying safety cage uses seven different grades of steel, each tailored for the specific application. The boxed steel frame is also 88 lbs. lighter than its predecessor, and has 10% more torsional rigidity.

High-performance materials allowed engineers to extend the wheelbase by 3.9 in. The bed floor has also been widened nearly 7 in. The short box now has 63 cu. ft. of volume.

The cab is stretched, as well, with crew cab models now offering 3 in. of additional rear seat legroom. This enables a total of 44.5 in. of front legroom and 43.8 in. of rear legroom.

The 2019 Silverado will be available with six engine/transmission combinations, including the new 5.3L and 6.2L V8s with Dynamic Fuel Management that actively shuts off any number of cylinders in a variety of combinations to optimize fuel economy. Also available is a new Duramax 3.0L inline-six turbo diesel. Both the 3.0L diesel and 6.2L gasoline engines are paired with a new Hydra-Matic 10-speed automatic transmission, and incorporate start/stop technology to improve fuel economy.

Ram 1500 Redesign Promises Innovative Power

According to Ram Truck, the 2019 Ram 1500 boasts features never before offered in a pickup, plus its overall weight has been reduced by 225 lbs. The truck’s frame uses advanced materials to eliminate 100 lbs. while increasing stiffness and durability, enabling 12,750 lbs. of towing capability and 2,300 lbs. of payload.

The frame includes the same impact countermeasures across all configurations, and is made from 98% high-strength steel. Front splayed frame rail technology creates an efficient energy absorbing structure for all impact modes, including front offset with frame integration forward of front tire. Frame-mounted, high-strength steel tire blockers are placed behind the front tires to force wheels outward in the event of impact.

To help create a more spacious cab, three longer frame lengths are offered. The 144.5-in. wheelbase on Crew Cab short beds and 153.5-in. wheelbase on Crew Cab long beds are both 4 in. longer than their predecessors. The Quad Cab long bed has a wheelbase of 140.5 in.

New independent front suspension components combine lightweight composite upper control arms, aluminum lower control arms and retuned geometry for improved responsiveness and handling. New progressive coil springs can handle the truck’s increased payload and towing capability.

To improve NVH, new electronically controlled, side frame-mounted active tuned-mass modules (ATMM) work in harmony with an interior active noise cancellation (ANC) system on 5.7-liter HEMI V8-equipped models to reduce ambient sounds down to 67.1 dB.

Frequency Response Damping (FRD) technology has found its way into the shocks on all four corners. When the Ram 1500 experiences a slower input — common during cornering and heavy braking — the bypass valve is closed for more aggressive damping, which provides additional stability and poise. When driving normally or exposed to faster shock inputs — common on rough roads or at higher speeds — the valve will open to soften the damping, giving the driver more comfort, confidence and control.

A new aluminum tailgate integrates a lift-assist measure. A nitrogen- and oil-charged strut gives consistent assist in even the coldest or warmest climates and consistent assist through the entire tailgate swing. The latch-and-lock mechanism is now electronic, reducing the amount of moving parts and allowing owners to drop the tailgate with the interior switch, remotely with the key fob or unlock/open with passive entry.

The next-generation electric steering system reduces weight by 6 lbs. and is tuned for lighter, quicker steering. By using an electric motor to power the truck’s rack-and-pinion steering system, the engine is relieved from the task of constantly turning a hydraulic pump, improving fuel efficiency up to 1.8% and adding 5 hp.

The addition of the eTorque mild hybrid system is one of several changes for 2019. The eTorque mild hybrid system replaces the traditional alternator on the engine with a belt-driven motor generator unit that performs several functions. The motor generator unit works with a 48-volt battery pack to enable quick and seamless start/stop function, short duration torque addition to the engine crankshaft in certain driving situations and brake energy regeneration, which improves responsiveness and efficiency.

With the engine running, eTorque’s motor generator unit feeds 48-volt current to a 300-watt-hour lithium-ion Nickel Manganese Cobalt (NMC) Graphite battery. The small suitcase-sized, air cooled battery pack mounts to the rear wall inside the cabin. In addition to spinning the engine for restarts, the eTorque unit also recaptures energy during deceleration and braking to feed charge to the battery pack.

The upgraded eTorque version of the Pentastar V6 is the standard engine in most trim levels. It is specifically tuned for truck duty and rated at 305 hp and 269 lbs.-ft. of torque. This newest version features advanced technologies, such as wide range variable valve timing and two-step variable valve lift.

Detroit DD8 Enters Production

Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) announced the start of vehicle production with the Detroit DD8 engine. The DD8 will be available for Freightliner M2 106, 108SD and 114SD truck models.

The DD8 complements the DD5 engine for medium-duty and vocational markets. It will be manufactured at the same facility as the DD13, DD15 and DD16 engines, as well as the DT12 automated manual transmission and Detroit axles.

“A big differentiator for the Detroit brand is the Detroit Connect Virtual Technician remote diagnostics system, which is available as standard on both the DD5 and DD8 engines,” says Brian Daniels, manager, Detroit Powertrain and Component Product Marketing. “Virtual Technician helps fleets make informed service decisions within minutes of an engine or aftertreatment fault event, increasing uptime.”

According to DTNA, the DD8’s maintenance intervals are up to three times longer than the competition. One feature designed with the vocational market in mind is variable exhaust cam phasing, used at low engine speeds to increase exhaust temperatures and increase uptime by reducing the need for manual regenerations. The DD8 also has a B10 life of 400,000 miles.

[VIDEO] Brian Daniels Explains Features of Detroit DD8 Engine

International Replaces DuraStar

International Trucks launched the Class 6/7 MV Series at the 2018 Work Truck Show. The MV Series features an improved cab design, along with the same driver-centric enhancements already launched in Class 8 vehicles.

[Video] Navistar Rolls Out DuraStar Replacement

The MV Series features new cab doors with a lower bottom glass edge and removed vent window, giving the driver a single large piece of glass to look through, improving side visibility and reducing blind spots. By reshaping the doors and side glass, the position of the optional pedestal mirrors is optimized so drivers turn their heads less, reducing neck strain, and keep their eyes on the road.

A premium gauge cluster with a customizable digital driver display has been added to give drivers real-time monitoring of vehicle operation and other important alerts. The display also offers up to 15 customizable digital gauges. The flat-panel dash contains space for up to 30 customizable switches.

A column-mounted stalk shifter is integrated to help keep drivers’ hands on the wheel and eyes on the road. The stalk shifter placement and the lower instrument panel design improve leg room, especially at the knee.

Like all International models, the MV Series can be managed digitally through the OnCommand Connection platform. It features the company’s Advanced Remote Diagnostics system designed to enhance fleet efficiency, as well as Over-The-Air (OTA) programming through the nine-pin OnCommand LINK device. OTA enables drivers or fleet managers to utilize a mobile interface to initiate authorized engine programming at the customer’s facility over a safe, secure Wi-Fi connection.

The MV Series is available in Regular Cab, Extended Cab and Crew Cab versions with a choice of a Cummins B6.7 or L9 engine. The standard transmission is the Allison 1000 HS automatic with Allison FuelSense 2.0; DynActive Shifting is an available option. The company is taking orders and market availability is Spring 2018.

Navistar also expanded its International HV Series. “The new HV507 and HV607 models demonstrate our continued commitment to the vocational segment and broaden our products specific to the concrete industry,” says Mark Stasell, vice president.

The HV507 and HV607 models are powered by either the Cummins B6.7 or L9 engines.  A 107-in. BBC dimension makes them shorter than the HV513 and HV613 models.

A new combination of features come together in the HV507 bridge formula model. This chassis includes an aggressive set-forward front axle, the Cummins L9 engine and a rear engine PTO (REPTO) that deliver a lightweight chassis suited for vocational applications, especially concrete placement.

New Volvo VNX Built for Heavy-Haul Tasks

Volvo Trucks has introduced the new VNX Series, which is built specifically for the needs of heavy-haul trucking operations. The series is available in three cab configurations: the VNX 300 daycab for local heavy-haul applications; the VNX 400 flat-roof regional sleeper built for occasional overnights; and the VNX 740 with a 70-in. sleeper and all of Volvo’s latest interior enhancements for heavy hauls over long distances.

Approved GCWRs span from 125,000 to 160,000 lbs. Ratings of up to 225,000 lbs. are available with application-approval and appropriate components. Optional steer axles, lift axles, tridem drive axles and longer fifth-wheel slides help meet a diverse range of weight distribution requirements.

Available in 6x4 tandem, 8x4 tandem and 8x6 tridem configurations, the VNX offers front axle ratings ranging from 16,000 to 20,000 lbs. with parabolic springs. Available rear axles range from 46,000 to 55,000 lbs. and the premium rear heavy-haul suspension ranges up to 52,000 lbs. Dual steering gears provide optimal maneuverability while under a heavy load.

The VNX provides an increased ride height to accommodate more articulation and front ramp angle, while the bumper features a heavy-duty tow pin and center tow frame that equalize forces to the chassis.

The standard powertrain package is a Volvo D13 engine with 500 hp and 1,850 lbs.-ft. of torque, paired with the company’s 13- or 14-speed I-Shift with Crawler Gears automated manual transmission. The trucks are also available with up to 605 hp and 2,050 lbs.-ft. of torque provided by a Cummins X15 Performance Series engine and paired with an Eaton Ultra Shift Plus or manual transmission.

Volvo Enhanced Stability Technology (VEST), an electronic stability control system, is standard on all VNX models. By continually monitoring operating parameters, VEST detects imminent loss of control, jackknife or rollover events. The system automatically reduces engine torque and selectively applies braking to help the driver keep the truck on course.

All VNX models come standard with Volvo’s factory-installed connectivity hardware for access to remote diagnostics. The same hardware also allows customers to perform software and parameter updates over-the-air with Remote Programming.

Mack Trucks Expands Mack mDRIVE HD Capabilities

Mack Trucks introduced split-shaft functionality for its Mack mDRIVE HD automated manual transmission (AMT), giving customers with high-demand PTO needs a fully integrated solution.

Instead of taking power from an engine- or transmission-mounted PTO, split-shaft PTOs are mounted in the middle of the driveline to receive output directly from the transmission, supplying more torque for auxiliary equipment such as large concrete pumps, vacuum body or high-pressure liquid transfer applications. While the split-shaft PTO is engaged, power to the axles is disconnected.

The split-shaft functionality is standard on all 12-, 13- and 14-speed mDRIVE HD AMTs and can be activated by a Mack dealer. In addition, all GHG2017 F-Series mDRIVE HD AMTs can be reprogrammed with split-shaft functionality with assistance from the Mack Body Builder Support Group.

Mack Trucks announced enhancements to its Mack Granite Medium Heavy Duty (MHD) model, as well, which expand its application coverage. They include an additional horsepower rating, new under-frame exhaust system, shorter wheelbase 4x2 configuration and a tractor configuration.

[VIDEO] Mack Releases New Options

Equipped with a Cummins L9 engine, the MHD now offers a lower horsepower option that allows customers to spec an engine with 330 hp and up to 1,000 ft.-lbs. of torque. The lower horsepower rating offers customers another option to increase their ROI.

A new under-frame exhaust gives customers more options for body adaptation.

The MHD model can be spec’d as a Class 7 or 8 vehicle, is offered in either an axle back or axle forward configuration and is available as a 4x2 or 6x4. An axle back tractor option meets the needs of light tractor applications requiring maneuverability, flexibility and durability without extra weight.

A shorter wheelbase is also available for the MHD model in the 4x2 configuration. It is optimal for the 10-ft. dump body commonly used in municipal applications.