Trucking Biz Buzz

New Optimus Prime is a Western Star

The studio execs are not officially releasing a pic yet, but on the producer’s website you can get the scoop and an image. In the new “Transformers 4” movie, the new superhero truck from outer space is no longer a Peterbilt.

From Michael Bay, the executive producer of the Transformer movies, comes the word that the completely upgraded, custom-built Optimus Prime is a Western Star.


Firestone sweepstakes plans big tour, big finish

By Paul Abelson, Land Line senior technical editor

To launch “The Year of Firestone,” Bridgestone Commercial Solutions began the Firestone Drives America Tour on July 16 at the Akron Aeros minor league baseball game. The tour will visit selected minor league baseball and college football games across the nation.

At every stop and at Firestone dealers and truck stops, CDL holders that own or operate a Class 7 or 8 vehicle can enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win travel to a 2013 Major League Baseball Fall Classic Championship Series game or a college football bowl game or other prizes. Five finalists will get a chance to win a Peterbilt tractor.

The sweepstakes conclude at the Mid-America Trucking Show in March 2014. Five finalists will be sent to the show. In addition, each finalist will win an all-expense-paid trip to the 2014 Indianapolis 500 Mile Race and will draw for a unique Firestone Edition Peterbilt with up to a five-year supply of Firestone truck tires.

The customized Firestone Edition Peterbilt 587 is spec’d for optimum fuel economy. It features a 450 hp Cummins ISX engine with 1550/1750 lbs-ft of torque, an Eaton 10-speed transmission, and 3.25:1 drive axles.

Additional prizes include $500 gift cards, leather jackets and polo shirts.

Copyright © OOIDA


Ambest donates $30,000 to Wounded Warrior in honor of Veteran's Day

Ambest, the member-owned national network of truck stops, travel centers and truck service centers based in Brentwood, Tenn., has raised $30,000 for Wounded Warrior project in honor of Veterans Day.

The organization used its 25th annual meeting, which was held recently in Nashville, as a means of raising funds through sponsorships and a silent auction with participating generous benefactors such as Bridgestone, Lucas Oil, Michelin, DAS, Valvoline and many others.


Goodyear rebrands Wingfoot locations

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Wingfoot commercial tire network is getting a new identity. Starting this month, Goodyear will begin the process of rebranding its Wingfoot locations as Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers.

There are 180 tire sales, service, retread facilities and truck care centers that operate under the Wingfoot banner. Wingfoot Commercial Tire and retread locations compose 135 of that total. Wingfoot Truck Care Centers make up the rest.

When the rebranding process is complete, all Wingfoot locations will operate as Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers. Wingfoot Commercial Tire Systems LLC will still be a wholly owned subsidiary of Goodyear, but it will do business as Goodyear Commercial Tire & Service Centers.

The rebranding process will include location signage, service truck identification, employee uniforms and other items relevant to Wingfoot’s business. Wingfoot’s product lineup, service menu and organizational structure will remain unchanged.


Navistar recalls 16,000 trucks due to fifth wheel problem

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer

More than 16,000 Navistar International Prostar, LoneStar and TransStar trucks are being voluntarily recalled to correct a potential problem that could cause a trailer to unexpectedly release from the fifth wheel.

The recall, which has been posted on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website, affects those models manufactured from February 2008 to July 2013 and equipped with an electronic fifth wheel jaw release system.

The recall report states that due to an assembly error, the air lines at the isolation/vent valve may not be oriented correctly, which could cause the fifth wheel jaw to release in the event of air leakage at the valve.

Navistar estimated that 25 percent of the identified trucks could have the defect.

“Navistar is making every effort to ensure the safety of our vehicles and is cooperating fully with NHTSA throughout the recall process,” spokeswoman Elissa Maurer said in an email to Land Line on Tuesday. “It is important to note that this air line routing condition does not affect normal operation. The company is notifying customers and International dealers will inspect vehicles and conduct any needed repairs.”

The company is notifying owners, and dealers will inspect the air line routing. If necessary, repairs will be made free of charge. Navistar’s recall number is 13514.

Owners may contact Navistar at 800-448-7825. Owners may also contact the NHTSA Safety Hotline at 888-327-4236. For more information, click here.

Copyright © OOIDA


Iowa-based flatbed carrier transitions to employee-owned company

Instead of selling the mega-trucking company Harrold Annett has spent the past 41 years building, he has decided to go a different route. He announced on Thursday, Oct. 10, that the flatbed carrier TMC Transportation, headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa, will be transitioning to an employee-owned company.

According to a TMC release announcing its plan to transition to an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), the decision was made based on Annett’s “desire to establish a succession plan that maintains the culture of TMC, while rewarding its employees for their dedication.”

TMC has 2,440 power units and 2,474 drivers and has been a private, family-owned company since 1972, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s SAFER website.

“I have been approached many times with the opportunity to sell TMC,” Annett said in the release. “What I realized in contemplating selling the company is that it would result in a change to the culture that we have all worked hard over these years to create. The only way to make sure our culture endures is to put TMC into the hands of the people who take the most pride in our culture. And that is the employees.”

Annett will remain as majority shareholder of TMC. Company shares “will be distributed to all employees at no cost,” the release states.


Bennett Motor Express acquires Ace Doran

Bennett Motor Express announced this week it has completed the asset purchase of Cincinnati-based Ace Doran Hauling & Rigging Co., a family owned and operated transportation company that has served the shipping public since 1913. The terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

The acquisition is the largest in the history of Bennett Motor Express, which started with five trucks and two customers in 1974. Bennett Motor Express is the largest of the seven operating companies within Bennett International Group of McDonough, Ga.

“Our decision to buy Ace Doran is consistent with our strategy of prudent growth,” said David Lowry, vice president of Bennett International Group and CEO of Bennett Motor Express.

Lowry, who is also a senior member of OOIDA, said that Ace Doran’s fleet of flatbeds, step decks and RGNs will complement Bennett’s fleet. The addition of Ace Doran’s 200 independent owner-operators increases Bennett’s fleet by 25 percent to more than 800 trucks.

Ace Doran LLC’s day-to-day operations will continue from its Cincinnati headquarters, with former owner Dan Doran joining Bennett and retaining the title of president. The intention of Bennett’s leadership is to keep intact the structure and processes that have made this 100-year-old company a success.

“We are excited to have joined a larger, financially strong company and be continuing our century of service,” said Doran. “I am proud of my family’s heritage and the efforts of all of our employees, past and present, who have made Ace Doran what it is today.”


New Peterbilt dealership offers 70 service bays and natural gas truck repair

Salt Lake City is home to the newest Peterbilt dealership in the company’s 270-plus dealer network with the relocation of Jackson Group Peterbilt’s flagship store to a 128,000 square-foot facility. Along with the retail display space, the new, full-service dealership includes 70 service bays – six of which are certified for the maintenance and repair of natural gas vehicles.

Jackson Group Peterbilt operates nine Peterbilt dealerships in Colorado, Idaho, Nevada and Utah. A 10th is expected to open soon in Salina, Utah.

The new dealership’s parts, service and body shop are open Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday. The truck sales department is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon.


Canada Cartage is sued for shorting overtime pay

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter

A nearly 100-year-old trucking company headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, is the target of a $100 million class action lawsuit. Canada Cartage is accused of shorting many of its 3,500 employees on overtime pay.

Toronto attorney Ian Matthews of Lax O’Sullivan Scott Lisus LLP is representing the plaintiffs. He says the lawsuit covers 3,000 to 4,000 workers, including truck drivers, who’ve been employed by Canada Cartage at any time since March 1, 2006. The class action lawsuit includes current and former employees. The case was filed Nov. 8 in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

“The way it got started, we were introduced to a former employee named Marco Baroch who said he never got overtime unless he worked over 60 hours a week,” said Matthews.

Matthews said in checking out that claim, a systemic problem was discovered in the trucking industry for not paying overtime. Baroch worked as a shunter at a Canada Cartage location in Mississauga for about seven years. He is the representative plaintiff in this class action.

According to court documents, in one case, when a worker complained, the company allegedly started paying him overtime – but reduced his regular pay by the same amount.

Matthews said the law firm had established a website to provide more information on the class action lawsuit. It can be found at

A call to Canada Cartage in Mississauga was not returned.

Copyright © OOIDA


Canada OKs boat tails

In Canada, the national transportation department, Transport Canada, has given the green light to truckers using full-length boat tails – or trailer tails – to cut down on wind resistance. It will be up to the individual provinces to set their own standards.

Until now, nothing on the rear of a Canadian trailer could protrude more than 2 feet. In the U.S., boat tails protrude about 6 feet.


Dometic will launch BliZZard battery-operated a/c for trucks at MATS

Dometic Group, a global provider of comfort products for the trucking industry, announced this week that it will launch the Dometic Split-System BliZZard 134a, a battery-operated air conditioning unit for trucks at this year’s Mid-America Trucking Show, to be held March 27-29 at the Kentucky Expo Center in Louisville, Ky.
The BliZZard air conditioning system, which will be on display at Booth No. 14252, is a highly efficient auxiliary a/c unit that allows truckers to cool their sleeper cabs without running the truck engine. Quiet and efficient, the BliZZard is simple to install and provides more than 10 hours of cooling.
Available in 7,000 and 10,000 BTU models, the battery-powered split system allows the noise of the condenser unit to remain outside while the quieter evaporator unit blows cool air to the cab’s interior. Made in the USA, the BliZZard is SmartWay and EPA certified. It uses environmentally safe and commonly available R134a refrigerant.
The Split-System BliZZard is also available with optional electric heat to provide heated comfort without running the engine. For both cooling and heating, the system complies with all federal, state and local anti-idling regulations.
Service for the BliZZard is available nationwide.


Meritor renames braking systems

Meritor is renaming and enhancing two braking products to help customers identify these products and improve their total cost of ownership. As part of a new naming structure, Meritor drum brakes that had been branded QPlus are now Q+; and air disc brakes are renamed from EX225 to EX+.

Meritor also announced enhancements and improvements.

Enhancements to Q+ drum brakes include:

  • Increased availability at multiple OEM customers;
  • Upgraded performance and lining life for reduced stopping distance; and
  • Increased product familiarity among technicians to improve service ease.

EX+ air disc brake improvements include:

  • Unsurpassed braking performance that results in shorter stopping distances, straight line stopping and fade resistance
  • Enhanced twin piston design 
  • Improved redundant sealing at each potential ingress path
  • Enhanced robust adjuster proven in the most severe vocations
  • Total cost of ownership and return on investment benefits for severe duty applications


Pilot Flying J announces Road Warrior campaign

Pilot Flying J has kicked off Road Warrior, a new initiative celebrating and honoring professional drivers throughout North America. The grand prize for the ultimate Road Warrior is $10,000.
Anyone can nominate a Road Warrior, and drivers can nominate themselves. You can also nominate coworkers, friends and family members. Road Warriors will be featured on the new Road Warrior website and PFJ’s social media networks. Daily and weekly Road Warriors will receive a variety of prizes including a Road Warrior T-shirt, MyRewards points and an assortment of other items.  
Voting is currently open, and you can nominate Road Warriors through Oct. 31, 2014. Once nominations close, finalists will be selected and open voting will begin for the final Road Warrior. The ultimate Road Warrior will be announced in December.


Road Choice-branded parts make debut

Road Choice Truck Parts is the newest brand to enter the heavy-duty truck industry’s private label all-makes market. Road Choice Truck Parts is a trademark of Mack Trucks Inc., an affiliate of the Volvo Group. 

Second- and third-generation truck owner/operators will find this news of interest. Road Choice products are designed to offer owners of out-of-warranty trucks quality and reliability with parts covered under a minimum, one-year warranty.

Offering a growing line of high-demand parts, including air conditioning, air springs, air/electrical coils and accessories, brake chambers, exhaust products, lighting, shock absorbers and universal joints, Road Choice all-makes parts are value-priced to compete with heavy-duty manufacturers’ and warehouse distributors’ private brand parts.

Drivers and fleet managers can find the growing selection of all-makes parts and a listing of authorized Road Choice Truck Parts retailers at the Road Choice website.
Attendees of Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky., March 27 -29, can learn more about Road Choice all-makes parts at booth No. 36065.


TMC honors seven with Silver Spark Plug Award

The Technology & Maintenance Council awarded its highest honor, the Silver Spark Plug Award, to seven trucking industry professionals during the Council’s 2014 Annual Meeting, March 10-13, in Nashville, Tenn.

The 2014 TMC Silver Spark Plug recipients are: Jim Clark, recently retired as director of engineering for TMD Friction, Troy, Mich.; Lilo Hurtado, applications engineer for ExxonMobil, Bolingbrook, Ill.; Bob Jeffries, sales manager for Remy Inc., Arlington, Texas; Mark Louzon, engine product development manager for Volvo Powertrain North America, Hagerstown, Md.; Vic Meloche, manager of technical sales for Detroit Diesel, Detroit; Don Raitzer, engineer for Stemco Brake Products Group, Livonia, Mich.; and Dan Umphress, vice president of maintenance and fleet services for A&R Transport, Morris, Ill.


Merger creates truck dealership with 19 facilities

CSM Companies Inc. and French-Ellison Truck Center LLC announced this week that the two companies will merge on March 31, 2014.  The result will establish the company as one of the largest commercial truck dealership groups in the United States with 19 facilities.  

CSM Companies was founded in 1978 and currently operates 12 Kenworth dealerships and three independent service centers in Wisconsin, Michigan, Nebraska and Illinois.  The company’s locations do business as Wisconsin Kenworth, Michigan Kenworth, Sahling Kenworth, and Dedicated Fleet Services.  The company was named Kenworth Dealer of the Year in 2013.

French-Ellison Truck Center was founded in 1968.  It operates four Kenworth and three Mack dealerships in south Texas. The company was named Kenworth Dealer of the Year in 2008.

The newly formed company will be headquartered out of Madison, Wis.


Volvo takes the entire stable to MATS

Volvo Trucks will showcase its full range of North American Class 8 models at the 2014 Mid-America Trucking Show, March 27 to 29, in Louisville, Ky. Volvo’s indoor booth No. 32125 in the North Hall of the Kentucky Exposition Center includes 12 vehicles spanning regional haul, long haul, heavy haul and vocational segments of the Class 8 market. 


Ryder and WIT: more user-friendly trucks for women

Ryder System says it’s partnering with the Women in Trucking association to offer trucks that are more user-friendly to women. According to a recent statement from Ryder, many women would benefit from design changes that feature things like better-positioned cab steps and grab handles, adjustable foot pedal heights and an electric or hydraulic devise to lift the hood. 

Ryder says it will start offering such features on its trucks and will encourage truck manufacturers to do the same.


Navistar steps up reliance on Cummins engines

Commercial truck maker Navistar International Corp. will close an engine plant in Alabama this summer as it moves to eliminate excess production capacity and consolidate its engine lineup for medium-size trucks.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the closure of the plant in Huntsville will result in the loss of about 280 jobs and generate savings of about $22 million a year. Production at that plant will be shifted to an engine plant near Chicago, which will add about 75 workers.

Navistar will continue to produce large diesel engines for heavy-duty trucks at a second plant in Huntsville. WSJ reports that the move reflects an increasing reliance on engines made by Cummins Inc. Navistar recently began offering Cummins’s engines in its medium-size trucks and had earlier decided to buy 15-liter engines from Cummins for heavy-duty trucks.



More CATs than you can shake a stick at

In 1988, there were only 28 CAT Scales around the nation. But recently, CAT Scale Co. celebrated the opening of a new one at the Love’s in Springville, Utah, which brings the number up to 1,500.

 And for new drivers, you may have heard that the people from CAT will either pay a trucker’s fine or go to court for them if they get an overweight citation after weighing on a CAT scale?

 Yep, it’s true.



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