Fleet Maintenance Volume 1-1

A Look Back At 20 Years In The Industry

Oct. 10, 2017
In honor of Fleet Maintenance’s 20th anniversary we present a timeline of events since 1997 that have impacted fleet maintenance, service and repair.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of Fleet Maintenance magazine. To say, “My, how things have changed,” is a vast understatement. The world of vehicle maintenance, service and repair – and its management – has been relentlessly evolving and changing, and becoming exceedingly more complex.

As our industry has transformed, the mission of Fleet Maintenance – which is All Maintenance, All Management, All Vehicle Classes, All the Time – has remained unaltered. Along with its official website VehicleServicePros.com, Fleet Maintenance provides relevant information and knowledge to enable our readers to:

- Keep vehicles operating with maximum uptime and maintain a safe, efficient and profitable fleet.

- Improve their personal performance.


Here is a “walk back” into time for a look at some of the events since 1997 that have had a marked influence on shaping and revolutionizing our industry.

1997 – Fleet Maintenance Magazine launches. Originally titled, Fleet Maintenance Tool & Equipment News, the premier issue hit management desks July/August 1997.

1997 – Ford sells its heavy duty truck business to Freightliner, which rebrands the business as Sterling.

1997 – Ingersoll Rand acquires Thermo King.

1998 – Eaton sell its worldwide Axle and Brake business to Dana Corporation.

1998 – Daimler and Chrysler Corporation merge and form DaimlerChrysler AG.

1999 – The Motor Carrier Safety Improvement Act creates the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) within the U.S. Department of Transportation, effective Jan. 1, 2000.

2000 – U.S. EPA adopts a rulemaking to establish stringent standards designed to reduce emissions from on-road heavy duty trucks and buses by up to 95 percent and cut the allowable levels of sulfur in diesel fuel by 97 percent. Beginning with the 2007 model year, 100 percent of the on-road heavy duty engines will require the use of a diesel particulate filter and 50 percent of the engines will require NOx exhaust control technology. Beginning with the 2010 model year, 100 percent of the on-road heavy duty diesel engines will require NOx exhaust control technology.

2000 – Continental launches Automatic or Adaptive Cruise Control for commercial vehicles, with the mission of increasing driver comfort without sacrificing safety. The systems behave as a conventional cruise control in an open lane condition. Using the Powertrain and Electronic Brake System, the vehicle is able to adjust speeds to keep the driver’s selected headway.

2000 – The U.S. Department of Justice approves the acquisition of Mack Trucks by AB Volvo of Sweden.

2000 – Freightliner acquires Western Star Trucks.

2000 – Daimler Chrysler buys Detroit Diesel Corporation.

2000 – The first Global Positioning System (GPS) system and Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) come to market.

2000 – In joint regulatory actions, the U.S. EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) adopts greenhouse gas emissions standards and harmonized Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) legislation for light duty vehicles.

2000 – Michelin introduces the industry’s first wide base truck tire, the X One.

2000 – Great Dane Trailers celebrates its 100th anniversary.

2001 – In October, WIX Filters introduces its WIX XD (extended drain) Oil Filters. featuring the company’s Spin Flow Technology, they are engineered to increase the miles driven between oil changes, thus reducing downtime and allowing fleets to extend oil change intervals when combined with proper oil analysis.

2001 – The ATA (American Trucking Associations) rechristens its ATA Foundation to the American Transportation Research Institute, with the goal of undertaking transportation research with an emphasis on the trucking industry's essential role in a safe, efficient and viable transportation system.

2002 – California adopts the first greenhouse gas emissions regulations for motor vehicles.

2003 – The FMCSA issues the first substantial change to the hours-of-service (HOS) regulations for commercial motor vehicle drivers since 1939. HOS regulations were first issued in 1938 by the Interstate Commerce Commission, which was then the relevant regulatory agency.

2003 – Meritor WABCO introduces the first roll stability control (RSC) systems for commercial vehicles. It is an active vehicle safety system that automatically intervenes if a high rollover risk is detected while driving. If a rollover threat is occurring, the system intervenes and assists the driver in minimizing the rollover risk by automatically applying the foundation brakes and reducing engine torque output to decrease vehicle speed.

2003 – Toyota premiers its Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain in the all-new 2004 Prius. A full hybrid system, it is capable of operating in three modes: gas only, electric only or in a combination mode where the gas engine and electric motor work together.

2003 – Zonar receives a patent for the first ever Electronic Verified Inspection Reporting (EVIR) system. Compliant with all U.S. DOT, OSHA and MSHA (Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) inspection requirements, EVIR is the only fully electronic way to perform verified inspections and eliminate paper reporting. This advance in technology is part of a wider trend in digitalization of the commercial vehicle industry, from fleet telematics platforms to digital tire management and electronic inspection reporting.

2004 – Bendix and Dana Corporation form a joint venture known as Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake (BSFB). It is a single, complete source for OEM brake system design, manufacturing, hardware and support for all foundation brake components and actuation systems, as well as all-makes coverage of medium and heavy duty aftermarket parts.

2004 – International Trucks introduces its International 4000 Series Hybrid, the first commercial diesel/electric hybrid on the market.

2004 Sales of OEM-embedded telematics reach more than 1.8 million units.

2004 – Freightliner opens a full-scale wind tunnel in Portland, OR, making it the first wind tunnel in North America fully designed for, and dedicated to, testing full-size commercial vehicles.

2004 – The U.S. EPA launches the SmartWay Transport Partnership Program – a government/industry collaboration between the U.S. EPA, freight shippers, carriers, logistics companies and other stakeholders – to voluntarily improve fuel efficiency and reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution from the transportation supply chain industry. SmartWay is comprised of partnerships, financial incentives, policy and technical solutions, as well as research and evaluation projects that find new ways to optimize the transportation networks in a company’s supply chain.

2004 – FedEx Express places its first hybrid electric-powered vehicles into service in Sacramento, CA.

2005 – The introduction of real-time traffic data to in-vehicle navigation systems.

2005 – Goodyear introduces its Duraseal Technology for commercial truck tires. It instantly seals punctures up to 1/4” inch in diameter in the repairable area of the tread.

2005 – Meritor WABCO introduces the first Electronic Stability Control (ESC) product for commercial vehicles. Combining Roll Stability Control (RSC) with the added capability of yaw or rotational control, ESC can reduce the risk of the vehicle instability while in a slippery curve or taking an evasive action, preventing jackknife and drift-out conditions through select braking of the tractor and application of the trailer brakes. If loss of stability is detected, tractor trailer speed is reduced through engine control and application of the engine brake, tractor and trailer foundation brakes.

2006 – The U.S. EPA begins the phase-in – through 2010 – of more stringent regulations to lower the amount of sulfur in on-road diesel fuel to 15 ppm. This fuel is known as ultra low sulfur diesel (ULSD). After 2010, the agency’s diesel standards require that all highway diesel fuel supplied to the market be ULSD, and that all highway diesel vehicles must use ULSD.

2007 – Congress enacts the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA). It contains several vehicle fuel efficiency provisions, including:

- Instructs the U.S. DOT to prescribe fuel economy standards for cars and light duty trucks sold in the U.S. for each model year from 2011 to 2030.

- Sets a minimum standard of 35 miles per gallon for cars and light trucks for model year 2020.

- Directs the National Academy of Sciences to evaluate vehicle fuel economy standards, including those for medium and heavy duty trucks.

- Requires the U.S. DOT to study fuel efficiency of work trucks and commercial medium and heavy duty trucks.

2007 – The U.S. EPA establishes a national Renewable Fuel Standard Program to encourage the blending of renewable fuels into the nation's motor vehicle fuel.

2007 – Daimler and Chrysler split.

2007 – Noregon launches JPRO Commercial Vehicle Diagnostics, an in-shop diagnostic and repair solution that offers an extensive multi-brand coverage and comprehensive diagnostics.

2008 – Freightliner becomes Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA).

2008 – DTNA discontinues the sale of the Sterling truck brand.

2008 – The U.S. EPA finalizes regulations that require the emissions control systems of large highway diesel and gasoline trucks to be monitored for malfunctions via an onboard diagnostic (OBD) system, similar to those systems that have been required on passenger cars since the mid-1990s. The regulations require OBD systems on 2010 and later heavy duty engines used in highway applications more than 14,000 lbs.

2008 – All the major automakers are pursuing telematics strategies.

2008 – Tesla launches its Roadster sports car. It has a powertrain built around an AC induction motor patented in 1888 by Nikola Tesla. Accelerating from 0 to 60 mph in 3.7 seconds and achieving a range of 245 miles per charge of its lithium ion battery, the Roadster sets a new standard for electric mobility.

2008 – Caterpillar announces it is leaving the heavy duty on-highway truck engine business by 2010, before the next round of emissions legislation kicks in.

2009 – In February, Temper Axle introduces Doctor Preload bearing adjustment tools, designed to eliminate all endplay from wheel bearings. The tools allow technicians to quickly, consistently and accurately adjust wheelend bearings to SAE standard light preload settings while measuring preload forces all the way through the adjustment process and at the final preload setting.

2009 – Bendix introduces its Wingman ACB system, a radar-based active cruise with braking – a first step in delivering an active braking approach to collision mitigation. The system not only maintains the cruise control “set” speed, but also a set following distance of 2.8 or 3.5 seconds behind the vehicle being followed. When not in cruise control, the system will continue to provide following distance alerts to warn if the following distance between the truck and forward vehicle is closing.

2009 – General Motors goes bankrupt and is rescued by the government. 

2010 – The FMCSA launches its Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) program. A data-driven safety compliance and enforcement program, it is designed to improve safety and prevent commercial motor vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities. CSA consists of three core components: the Safety Measurement System (SMS); interventions; and a Safety Fitness Determination (SFD) rating system to determine the safety fitness of motor carriers.

2010 – Paccar launches the MX Engine in North America. Developed by Paccar and its DAF Trucks brand, the engine is released in Paccar’s Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks. The 12.9L, inline, six-cylinder MX is offered across a horsepower range of 380hp to 485hp, with torque outputs of up to 1,750 ft-lb.

2010 – The North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE) is formed. Its purpose is to double the efficiency of North American goods movement by improving the quality of the information flow and by highlighting successful adoption of technologies. In 2013, it begins collaborating with the Carbon War Room – an organization whose purpose is to accelerate the adoption of business solutions that reduce carbon emissions and advance the low-carbon economy.

2011 – The U.S. EPA, in coordination with NHSTA, issues greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for medium and heavy duty trucks manufactured in model years 2014 to 2018. The intent is to reduce CO2 emissions, plus lower fuel use and enable fuel savings to accrue to vehicle owners.

2011 – Caterpillar launches its first on-highway vocational truck – the CT – in the North American market. Cat worked with Navistar on the design and build. The CT has a Cat-branded engine manufactured by Navistar.

2011 – Detroit Diesel introduces its Virtual Technician – an integrated remote diagnostic system for U.S. EPA 2010 Freightliner trucks equipped with Detroit engines. Developed in collaboration with Zonar, the technology recorded engine or aftertreatment fault code events and used cellular communications to notify fleets of the severity of the problem. With this, Detroit’s and Freightliner’s parent company, DTNA, becomes the first truck OEM to deliver a remote engine and aftertreatment diagnostic service.

2011 – Donaldson introduces its Synteq XP next-generation fine fiber technology for fuel filtration. Thermally bonded synthetic fibers capture particles down to 4 microns or more, delivering fuel that is four times cleaner than the competition to help minimize engine repairs and downtime. Donaldson also developed air filter media using fine fiber technology when it released Ultra-Web for the diesel market in 1997.

2012 – Detroit Diesel announces the addition of Detroit axles to its integrated powertrain portfolio in a move to expand the Detroit product to encompass all powertrain-related components.

2012 – VDO RoadLog becomes the first dedicated, stand-alone electronic onboard recorder (EOBR)/electronic logging device (ELD) designed to meet the new FMCSA mandate requiring the use of electronic data recording for heavy duty trucks and buses. VDO RoadLog simplifies the process of driver logs and is the only ELD on the market with a built-in printer that instantly produces a traditional paper style log for inspections.

2012 – Kenworth introduces the T680, declaring that it establishes a new standard of excellence in the industry with exceptional styling, superior fuel efficiency, outstanding performance and extraordinary comfort.

2013 – Eaton and Cummins announce their collaboration on the SmartAdvantage – an integrated, fuel-efficient powertrain. It brings together the Eaton Fuller Advantage Series automated transmission and the Cummins ISX15 engine with SmartTorque 2 ratings.

2013 – Hendrickson celebrates 100 years as a leading innovator and manufacturer of suspension systems and components for the global heavy duty vehicle industry. 

2013 – MAHA USA introduces its new and redesigned MCL family of ball-screw-powered mobile column lifts. These wireless lifts are the first of their kind in the industry, expanding the variety of tire profiles and vehicles that can be served by wireless mobile lifts.

2014 – In January, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Association of Global Automakers, Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association and Coalition for Automotive Repair Equality announce their collective acceptance of a national agreement to ensure consumer choice in post-warranty auto repair, putting an end to the “right to repair” debate within the industry.  

2014 – Isuzu Commercial Truck of America celebrates its 30th anniversary in the U.S.

2014 – In July, Daimler Trucks of Germany provides the world’s first demonstration of an autonomous truck in action when the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 drove along a cordoned-off section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg, Germany.

2015 – In May, the Freightliner Inspiration Truck with the Highway Pilot system becomes the world’s first autonomous truck to be granted a license for road use in the State of Nevada.

2015 – In September, the Commercial Vehicle Solutions Network, Truck and Engine Manufacturers Association, Equipment and Tool Institute, Auto Care Association and Heavy Duty Aftermarket Canada sign a Memorandum of Understanding addressing the availability of service information for model year 2010 and later trucks and buses more than 10,000 pounds sold in the U.S. and Canada. The “right to repair” agreement seeks to ensure that vehicle owners and independent repair facilities have access to the OEM-controlled service information.

2015 – In December, FMCSA issues its final rules for electronic logging devices (ELDs). Compliance date is Dec. 18, 2017.

2016 – Caterpillar announces it will discontinue production of its on-highway CT vocational trucks.

2016 – In August, the U.S. EPA and NHTSA issue Phase 2 of the greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards for model years 2021 to 2027 semi trucks, large pickup trucks, vans and all types and sizes of buses and work trucks. The standards includes trailers, model years 2018 to 2027, for certain trailers. This is the first time trailer OEMs have been regulated by U.S. EPA.

2016 – In September, Volkswagen agrees to an engine technology and purchasing alliance with Navistar International and buys a 16.6 percent stake in the company.

2016 – In October, Otto, the self-driving truck subsidiary of Uber, ships a truckload of Budweiser beer from Fort Collins, CO, to Colorado Springs in the first real-world commercial use of autonomous trucking.

2016 – December 1st is the first licensing of the American Petroleum Institute (API) CK-4 and FA-4 heavy duty diesel engine oils – formerly known as PC (proposed category) 11A and B. This marks a significant milestone in the development of diesel engine oils because API developed two new standards, rather than one, to meet new emissions and fuel efficiency regulations and provide improved protection for current and future diesel engines. API introduced its last diesel engine oil specification, CJ-4, in 2006.

2017 – Hofmann celebrates its 85th year of business, offering a product line of innovative and user-friendly automotive undercar service equipment solutions.

2017 – In May, UPS deploys a prototype extended range Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle (FCEV) in its Rolling Laboratory fleet of alternative fuel and advanced technology vehicles. UPS is working with the U.S. DOE and other partners to design a first-of-its-kind, zero tailpipe emissions, Class 6 medium duty delivery truck that meets the same route and range requirements of UPS’ existing conventional fuel vehicles.

2017 – In June, Cummins announces it will have a fully-electrified powertrain system available for commercial customers in 2019 and an extended-range electric truck ready in 2020.

About the Author

David A. Kolman | Contributor - Fleet Maintenance