Nissan unveils commercial van concept

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Updated Jan 14, 2010

Navistar International on Nov. 20 presented keys to the first production International LoneStar to Jeramand Enterprises during ceremonies at East Coast International Trucks in Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada.

Detroit Diesel Corp. said it has surpassed 7 million miles of demonstrated testing on its BlueTec selective catalytic reduction technology for meeting 2010 emissions standards for heavy-duty trucks.

Hino Motors Sales USA will use selective catalytic reduction to meet the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2010 emissions regulations.

Three of Hankook’s commercial fleet tires have been certified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay Program. The AL07+ steer tire, Z35a drive tire and TL01 trailer tire all meet the program’s requirement to reduce rolling resistance by 3 percent.

Air-Weigh announced that its 5802 Trailer Scale now is available as a preferred option on all Wabash National dry freight and refrigerated van trailers.

Penske Truck Leasing announced new warranty and financing options for used commercial vehicles in collaboration with National Truck Protection and netLoan Funding.

Cummins Inc. reduced its professional work force worldwide by about 500 employees – or about 3.5 percent – as a result of the continued deterioration in the U.S. economy and other global markets.

ArvinMeritor will focus on selling its Light Vehicle Systems unit as part of its aggressive response to the current weakness in global business conditions.

Nissan took another step in December toward its planned 2010 entry into the North American commercial vehicle market by unveiling the NV2500 Concept – a commercial van built on a modified Titan F-Alpha pickup platform – at its design studio near Detroit. Nissan also displayed a smaller NV200 commercial van, which features a patented sliding cargo pod and which was unveiled recently outside of North America.

Over its first three years in the North American market, the company plans to offer three all-new products up to Class 5 gross vehicle weight ratings, as well as others from the stable of commercial vehicles it sells worldwide. Nissan is a major supplier of commercial vehicles outside North America, with nearly 600,000 expected to be sold this year.

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The three new products being developed specifically for the North American market will be built at Nissan’s manufacturing facility in Canton, Miss., where the company is investing $118 million to build commercial vehicles. The venture means new suppliers for Nissan, including Cummins for diesel engines and ZF for transmissions, says Joe Castelli, vice president of light commercial vehicles and fleet for Nissan North America. The first vehicle is planned for the first half of 2010. The eventual lineup will be both vans and chassis cabs. “We have to be in both the van business and the truck business,” Castelli says.

The NV2500 Concept van’s “wall-less” mobile office/workspace design includes a computer workstation, fold-down conference table, numerous storage compartments, cargo/tool tiedown racks, nearly six feet of interior height and an awning-style side panel that opens to create a standing outside workshop table. Other concept features include a laser-projected keyboard for the computer workstation and solar panels integrated into the roof panel.

“The Nissan NV2500 is a rolling idea lab – bringing a new perspective to the commercial vehicle segment,” says Bruce Campbell, vice president of design for Nissan Design America Inc. “We see the NV2500 Concept as an ongoing exploration of ways to make these vehicles more than just a box on four wheels. Our goal is to enhance utility through creative design solutions, providing a platform for a wide variety of specific professional applications.”

As Nissan meets with prospective customers in the coming months to guide the development of its production vehicles, the company also is rolling the concept out to its dealers. Those interested in selling Nissan’s commercial vehicle lineup will be required to meet certain standards and certifications for sales and service. For example, dealers will need a 14-foot service bay to accommodate box vans and 30,000-pound lifts so that a loaded Class 5 vehicle could be serviced.

Nissan currently has 1,070 dealers in the United States. Based on the participation of dealers for existing players in the market, Castelli expects about 250 to 300 Nissan dealers to sell and service commercial vehicles. But the company will accept all that meet the standards, he says.
– Avery Vise

Meritor Wabco shows off ‘Pyramid of Safety’
Meritor Wabco last month demonstrated its integrated safety system for on-highway trucks and tractors that combines both proactive and passive monitoring and response systems to enhance driver reactions in dangerous situations and to perform limited actions on its own if a driver is distracted or incapacitated.

Jon Morrison, president and general manager of Meritor Wabco Vehicle Control Systems, a joint venture with ArvinMeritor, says the company’s goal was to develop a highly adaptable “Pyramid of Safety” that would allow fleet owners to customize their trucks and meet specific safety goals.

Several new Meritor Wabco products that form the nucleus of this safety system, including the OnGuard Collision Safety System and the RSSplus trailer-based stability control system – which complements the company’s existing Roll Stability Control and Electronic Stability Control systems for tractors – were on display last month in Atlanta.

OnGuard, designed for North American commercial vehicles, is a forward-looking radar-based adaptive cruise control system with active braking. The system automatically uses the vehicle’s foundation brakes to alert the driver and decelerate the vehicle when a preset vehicle following distance is compromised.

“Passive collision warning systems only alert the driver to a potentially dangerous situation through alarm and engine braking,” Morrison says. “With this new product, if the predetermined ‘safe’ distance is compromised, OnGuard will provide visual and audible warnings to the driver, vehicle deceleration through engine control, retarder control and, most importantly, noticeable foundation braking.”

OnGuard’s forward-looking mono-pulse radar sensor is capable of detecting multiple moving and fixed objects at distances up to 500 feet away. According to the company, it quickly and reliably coordinates responses from the engine, transmission and anti-lock braking systems through communications across the SAE J1939 data network, and it provides feedback to the driver through the in-cab dash display, which includes a progressive audible alert.

Meritor Wabco says OnGuard fully integrates with its anti-lock braking and stability control systems, including the RSSplus stability control system, which can be retrofitted on ABS-equipped trailers. This trailer-based stability control is managed by an electronic control unit (ECU) that incorporates the truck’s antilock braking system. The ECU contains an accelerometer that measures lateral, or side-to-side, movements of the vehicle as it moves down the road.

As the trailer rounds a curve or is involved in a sudden steering maneuver, the ECU continually is calculating the trailer’s roll stability threshold based on lateral acceleration and individual wheel speeds. Before a rollover is imminent, the system is designed to apply the trailer-axle brakes automatically, slowing the vehicle to reduce lateral acceleration and restore control to the driver.
– Jack Roberts