As Class 8 truck production is booming in 2018, the numbers show a trend toward smaller-displacement engines and more straight trucks, according to the latest North American Vehicle On-Highway Engine Outlook from ACT Research and Rhein Associates. Medium-duty has seen a similar trend.

Overall Class 8 truck production is expected to continue its growth trend into 2019, but changes in demand for straight trucks and tractors will affect the type of diesel engines being ordered. This trend is so strong that Class 8 trucks with 12.0L to 14.0L engines are expected to surpass the 14.0L category for the first time ever in 2019. While tractors still represent 73% of all Class 8 production in 2018, the straight truck segment is expected to grow to a 32% share in the future.

There is a similar movement in the medium-duty Class 5 through Class 7 truck market, where gasoline engines are gaining adoption. In the Class 5 segment, V-8 and V-10 gasoline engines are increasing in popularity. In the larger Class 6 through Class 7 markets, six-cylinder diesel engines remain the preferred configuration.

The report also predicts increased adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles, driven by tighter emissions regulations.

“Diesel power is under attack long-term for use in on-highway commercial vehicles. Alternative power is being developed, tested, and refined, while diesel engines are also undergoing transition to become more fuel-efficient and clean,” said Kenny Vieth, general manager of ACT Research. “It is vital for industry participants to stay up-to-date on developments like the recent EPA update to the NOx emission standards for heavy-duty engines and funding awarded under the Diesel Emission Reduction Act.”

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