2015 Medium-Duty Truck Trends

October 2014, - Cover Story

by Stephane Babcock, Managing Editor - Also by this author

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Between light-duty pickups and Class 8 haulers sits the industry’s largest segment — medium-duty trucks. They carry tools and materials to construction sites, beverages and snacks to stores, propane to rural homes, and run pick up & delivery routes along slim city streets.

In our annual look at the latest midrange offerings we highlight the upcoming 2015 models offered by their prospective companies, while truck manufacturers weighed in on equipment trends and industry issues.

Ford: Fuel economy comes in many shapes and sizes

Ask any fleet manager about cost savings, and fuel economy will come up quickly in the conversation. For Ford, there are a number of ways to achieve this, including buying new vehicles.

“We are seeing increased growth and sales in the medium-duty segment,” says Mark Lowrey, marketing manager for F-Series Fleet Trucks at Ford. “Our customers are replacing aged vehicles as the economy begins to recover from the recession back in 2008 and 2009.”

Ford continues to make improvements and enhancements with a number of different technologies, Lowrey says. They include gas-prep packages for natural gas and propane upfits, automatic transmissions that allow engines to operate at optimal rpm ranges and open opportunities for more diverse driver employment, low-rolling-resistance tires, and gear ratio selections to match engine and transmission performance.

For the 2016 model year, Ford’s F-650 and F-750 trucks will be offered with both gasoline and diesel engines, as well as compressed natural gas and propane autogas engine prep packages. All models will come with Ford’s 6-Speed TorqShift SelectShift automatic transmission, which features double-overdrive ratios and low-end 3.97 to 1 first gear. Ford is offering for the first time an optional 6.8-liter V-10 gasoline engine with the 6R140 transmission, as well as the 6.7-liter Power Stroke V-8 turbo diesel engine, which is rated at 270 hp and 675 lb-ft. of torque, and offers B20 biodiesel capability.

Ford also added several new interior features, including a 110-volt power outlet, available Sync and Crew Chief factory-installed fleet management telematics, and a rapid-heat supplemental cab heater. A new steering wheel offers advanced controls. Buyers have a choice of hydraulic or air brakes.

Freightliner: Lowering the real cost of ownership

Freightliner Truck sees a change in how its clients are making truck-buying decisions.

“Similar to what we’ve seen in the on-highway segment, medium-duty customers increasingly recognize the importance of purchasing a truck based on the cost of ownership over the lifetime of the vehicle,” says Mary Aufdemberg, director of product marketing. “Customers recognize the lifetime savings when they consider the bottom-line impact of a proven powertrain, durable chassis, industry-leading visibility, customizable easy-to-upfit spec, and strong dealer support.”

The 2015 Freightliner M2 106 can be fitted with either a Cummins ISB or Cummins ISL engine and Eaton Fuller 5-, 6-, 8 ALL, 9 ALL, 9- or 10-speed manuals, as well as Eaton UltraShift 5-or 6-speed automated manuals and Allison automatics. Several new option packages include Efficiency, which combines Allison’s new FuelSense transmission programming with a Freightliner-exclusive Cummins ISB6.7 rating of 220 hp and 600 lb-ft. of torque.

“This pairing will deliver better fuel economy and reliability than any engine in its class,” Aufdemberg says. “We’ve packaged this powertrain combination with additional fuel economy-enhancing options to further increase mpg.” Because each medium-duty application can be very different, Freightliner offers a variety of customizable options.


  1. 1. Mattdillon [ August 13, 2015 @ 03:34AM ]

    Why no air brakes on F 750 with gasoline engine? Like all good things not available. Only reason I didn't buy Ford was International had N9 vs Cummins diesel and I like manual transmission.


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