Covenant Transportation posts 2Q profit

    27 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

    Mercedes-Benz Breaks Ground on $500M Van Plant

    Mercedes-Benz will shift production of vans it sells in the U.S. and Canada to North Charleston, S.C., by the end of the decade with a plant that nearly triples its existing manufacturing footprint.

    Surrounded by dignitaries such as Sen. Lindsay Graham and Gov. Nikki Haley, Mercedes-Benz and Daimler leaders celebrated the start of construction at a July 27 ceremony and provided more details about their plans to stop importing the vans from Dusseldorf in a complex assembly process to avoid the "chicken tax" assessed on trucks build in Europe. The tax assesses a 25% tariff on the vehicles, Graham said.

    Instead, Mercedes-Benz will invest $500 million to expand its existing assembly plant to 1.1 million square feet from the 409,000-square-foot space. Mercedes-Benz will also construct a marshalling yard for finished vehicles of 2.8 million square feet.

    The plant also helps Mercedes-Benz meet increasing demand for its Sprinter and Metris models. The company sold about 29,800 vans in 2015, a 16% increase over the prior year, said Bernie Glaser, vice president and managing director of Mercedes-Benz Vans.

    "Over the last few years, we've seen very steady growth [in van sales]," said Volker Mornhinweg, head of Mercedes-Benz Vans. "This is what we're counting on in the future."

    The new plant will create 1,300 new jobs at the plant and 400 new jobs at local suppliers, which will eventually include Auto Truck Group and Knapheide upfitting facilities.

    The plant will simplify production of the Sprinter and Metris. Since 2006, Mercedes-Benz has been using a semi-knock-down process of building the vans in Germany, then disassembling them for shipment through the Charleston port. Van bodies, engine and powertrain kits, and other parts arrive separately and must be reassembled for being shipped to customers.

    Elected South Carolina leaders praised Mercedes-Benz for investing in the region during remarks to a group of media members, plant employees, and company associates. During a light-hearted moment, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey urged Mercedes-Benz to build a pickup truck at the plant.

    "This is the deep South," Summey said. "I need for you to develop a line for a pickup truck."

    Related: Mercedes-Benz Expands Van Offerings, Adds Ship-Thru

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    27 Jul by Tags:

    NYC's trash is Mack's treasure

    NEW YORK CITY, NY — Mack Trucks and the New York City Department of Sanitation are in talks to test out dimethyl ether (DME) as a new alternative fuel for its massive refuse fleet, but in the interim the truck maker brought reporters to the Big Apple to understand some of the processes involved in cleaning up after more than 8.5 million residents.They've come a long way from the horse-drawn carriages that once collected the world-class city's waste.
    27 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

    New Isuzu Facility Aims to Serve Dealers and Customers

    <img width="150" src="http://www.automotive-fleet.com/fc_images/news/m-isuzu-center-of-excellence-1.jpg" border="0" alt="

    Isuzu's new Center of Excellence facility. Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

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    Isuzu's new Center of Excellence facility. Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck of America

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    Isuzu Commercial Truck of America has opened a new complex that it is calling the Center of Excellence, comprised of a parts distribution center, training and technical assistance facility.

    The part center is 100,000 square feet in size and is stocked with $8 million worth of parts, placing them close to a concentrated area of commercial vehicle dealers to reduce delivery time. The Center of Excellence is designed to put three major functions supporting dealerships and customer in the region under one roof.

    The training and technical assistance area is housed in a 30,000-square-foot portion of the facility. The training center offers training to dealership service, parts, sales and customer satisfaction personnel. Through the Isuzu Truck University, the personnel will receive intensive, hands-on technical and lifecycle training.

    “Our ‘lifecycle' business model is built on the premise that customers will look only to Isuzu for their commercial truck needs so long as we provide them the highest quality product, the least amount of downtime, and a level of service that exceeds their expectations,” said Shaun Skinner, president of Isuzu Commercial Truck of America. “To do that requires a very large level of support. That's what this Center of Excellence—and more like it in the future—will provide.”

    The Center's location was strategically chosen because the Northeast region is home to one of the highest concentrations of U.S. Isuzu dealerships, Isuzu commercial trucks in operation and the company's annual parts sales.

    Isuzu plans to build more of these types of facilities in the future and already has plans to open a second facility in the U.S.

    “As impressive as it is, this center represents something much bigger,” said Skinner. “It represents Isuzu's commitment to the U.S. market, and our pledge to do everything we can to support our dealer body and our customers' ownerships experience.”

    Related: Q&A With Isuzu's Shaun Skinner

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    27 Jul by Vitaliy Dadalyan Tags:

    Kenworth Launches Essentials App for Mobile Devices

    Kenworth Truck Company has launched the Kenworth Essentials app for Apple and Android mobile devices, offering relevant information on trucks, engines and technologies.

    The app provides access to Kenworth news in real time and is filled with videos, brochures and galleries of multi-perspective images.

    The app offers access to the Kenworth Dealer Locator with a “Find Nearby” feature that gives directions to the nearest Kenworth dealer. The locator can also search nationwide by city, state, province or zip code.

    The app will recognize your current location and map directly to the Kenworth dealership chosen. A call to the dealership is also made easier with a “one-touch” dialing feature by tapping the phone number.

    Kenworth will update the app regularly with new features, the company says. The app is available on the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store.

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