Luck = value + persistence?

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When new manufacturers try to sell trucks in the Unites States, it’s big news. When they pack up, go away, then try it again, you know they either enjoy losing, or are very determined.
A year and a half ago Bering Truck Corp. – which marketed rebadged Hyundai trucks in the United States from its headquarters in Front Royal, Va. – closed its doors after doing business for a very short time. Now, a newly formed Hyundai Truck America (HTA), based Jamesburg, N.J., is open for business. The company is rolling out a Class 4 and two Class 6 cabover trucks through its network of 30 former Bering dealers.

One might wonder how HTA plans to succeed where Bering failed. “I can’t say what happened within Bering,” says Ed Muldoon, HTA’s director of sales and marketing. “Bering was a U.S. distributor of Hyundai trucks. But we are a new organization, with no crossover of personnel. HTA has the commitment and resources of its South Korean parent company.”

One might also wonder about the decision to enter the U.S. market at a time when the economy is so soft. “The medium-duty market hasn’t been hit as hard as heavy-duty,” answers Muldoon. “We know we have a good product with a lot of standard features not found on other medium-duty offerings, and we see opportunities as the economy recovers. Besides, if you wait for all the green lights, it’s going to be too late to start.”

The vehicles
The trucks are basically the same models offered by Bering, minus the Class 8 entries.

With a GVWR of 14,510 pounds, the Class 4 HLD150 is powered by the Italian-built Detroit Diesel 638, 6-cylinder, 3.8-liter engine, rated at 160 hp @ 3500 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque @ 1800 rpm. The turbocharged and intercooled engine is mated to an Allison AT 542 four-speed automatic transmission. The steel frame is available in wheelbases ranging from 116 to 176 inches.

The HMD230 and HMD260 Class 6 trucks, rated at 23,000 pounds and 25,510 pounds GVWR, respectively, are motivated by a Cummins turbocharged and intercooled ISB 6-cylinder, 5.9-liter diesel, producing 215 hp @ 2500 rpm and 520 lb-ft of torque @ 1600 rpm. It drives through a ZF 6S-850 6-speed, fully synchromesh, manual overdrive transmission.

The HMD230 is available in wheelbases of 149 to 224 inches, and the HMD260 comes in 193- and 224-inch wheelbases.

All three trucks use a stabilizer bar on the front axle, and multi-leaf spring suspension and standard shock absorbers all around.

I think Muldoon is right about the standard stuff being a differentiating factor. I remember being impressed by that in the Bering days, and I remember favorable comments from fleet guys who had bought them.

Things like a tilt/telescoping steering column, cruise control, heated mirrors, power windows and locks, wood-grain dash panels, suspension driver’s seat and DuPont Imron paint aren’t usually thought of as standard equipment, but they are on these trucks.

I wish the company well in its endeavor, because I believe healthy competition results in better products for the end user. Consider the recent improvement in passenger car warranties. Could that have had anything to do with the introduction of Hyundai’s own 10-year/ 100,000-mile version?

I’d put money on it.