A look into the future: 2014 truck outlook

Truck manufacturers tend to hold their cards pretty close to their chest when it comes to future plans and product launches, but it’s safe to say they won’t stand idle in 2014. To keep the wheels of the trucking industry oiled and meet new regulations and industry trends, new models and new technology need to be introduced all of the time.

Yet, the driving force for change over the past decade and a half has somewhat disappeared – making 2014 a whole new experience for the trucking community.

In the past, the succession of new exhaust gas emission regulations around the world – including Australia – has meant the truck and engine industry had to come up with new technology on a rolling three or four year cycle. This has brought us new engines and ancillary equipment like after treatment and increased cooling packages, for instance. All of these changes have set other developments in train, as new cabs, chassis and configurations have been the order of the day. The main question for 2014 is whether that high innovation rhythm can be maintained.

One reason why we could see even more innovation coming through next year is the simple fact the market’s expectations have changed profoundly. Power outputs that were regarded as “normal” in 2000 are now seen as underpowered. From the 4.5-tonne GVM light-duty bread-and-butter van all the way up to the top end of the high mass road train segment, power and torque outputs have risen. This change has been particularly evident outside of the heavy-duty truck market, where the maximum available horsepower stretches the limits of the technology available today.

Read the full story in the current edition of Prime Mover, out now.

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