The U.S. Department of Justice today filed a civil lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler Automobiles over alleged violations of federal diesel emissions regulations.
FCA has faced these allegations since January when the Environmental Protection Agency and the California Air Resources Board accused the automaker of installing undisclosed engine management software that led to increased nitrogen oxide emissions (NOx) in 2014-2016 Ram 1500 pickups and Jeep Grand Cherokee SUVs equipped with a 3-liter EcoDiesel engine.
The EPA drew comparisons between FCA’s alleged violations and Volkswagen, which is still recovering from emissions violations of its own. According to a report from The Detroit News, DOJ officials say that the vehicles in question “meet emissions standards in the laboratory and during standard EPA testing, but during certain normal on-road driving emit oxides of nitrogen…that are much higher than the EPA-complaint level.”
The lawsuit, according to The Detroit News, also accuses FCA of providing the EPA with specifications for the vehicles that differed from the actual specs of the vehicles on the road. These vehicles are thus “uncertified,” the EPA contends, and in violation of the Clean Air Act.
FCA has denied any wrongdoing throughout its clash with the EPA and said Tuesday it is “disappointed” in the decision by the DOJ’s Environmental Natural Resources Division to file suit.
“The Company intends to defend itself vigorously, particularly against any claims that the Company engaged in any deliberate scheme to install defeat devices to cheat U.S. emissions tests,” an FCA statement issued Tuesday afternoon read.
In addition to working “for many months” with EPA and CARB officials to remedy the agencies’ complaints, FCA says it has already developed new emissions software it believes will do just that.
FCA says it plans to install this updated software in 2014-2016 Jeep Grand Cherokees and Ram 1500 diesel vehicles as a fix to the emissions complaints and says it has formally filed for diesel vehicle emissions certification for the 2017 models of these vehicles which will be manufactured with the same software.
“FCA US believes this will address the agencies’ concerns regarding the emissions software calibrations in those vehicles,” the statement reads. “FCA expects that the installation of these updated software calibrations will improve the 2014-2016 MY vehicles’ emissions performance and does not anticipate any impact on performance or fuel efficiency.”
Source:: Equipment world
The platform on JLG’s hybrid H800AJ Boom Lift can rise 80 feet and hold up to 500 pounds.
Now in its 20th year of hybrid technology, JLG will release the H800AJ, an 80-foot hybrid boom lift designed to reduce emissions, noise and fuel consumption.
The machine, which will be available in late 2017, is based on JLG’s standard 800AJ articulating boom. The main difference between the machines is the electric motor/generator engine that powers the H800AJ. The hybrid’s Tier 4 Final engine can run exclusively in electric mode through its battery pack located in the counterweight. The batteries are charged on demand by the machine’s generator during operation.
The platform can rise to 80 feet and hold 500 pounds. It comes standard with JLG’s SkyGuard sensor that stops and then reverses most functions in use should the platform hit a force of 50 pounds or more. The standard jib can rise for additional reach independent of the main boom.
Other features on the H800AJ include an oscillating axle, four-wheel drive, continuous turntable rotation and zero tail swing when the tower is elevated.
Source:: Equipment world
The U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division has cleared Ritchie Bros.’ proposed purchase of IronPlanet announced last August. The estimated $758.5 million purchase sets the stage for potential combined online sales of $3 billion annually.
The acquisition could close “in the next few weeks” with a new organization structure announced following. Ritchie Bros. CEO Ravi Saligram will lead the combined companies.
“The management team and employees of IronPlanet are enthusiastic about joining forces with Ritchie Bros.—the possibilities are endless when you merge brand strength with technology,” says IronPlanet Chairman and CEO Greg Owens. “We are inspired by the vision of leading a digital transformation in the industry.”
Saligram says the purchase is part of the Ritchie Bros. effort over the last three years to diversify through a multi-channel effort to keep the company “relevant and strong” in the fast paced equipment auction space. “This is our journey from being a brick-and-mortar live auctions company to really being a multi-channel technology company,” Saligram explains.
And while the move is clearly an acquisition, he says it’s being treated as a merger.
“Not all the senior level positions will be at Ritchie Bros.,” he says. “There will be some senior positions occupied by IronPlanet people, some by Ritchie Bros. people and it will be unique.”
“A big part of this acquisition was not just for the IronPlanet brand or the technology or for their model, but as importantly was for its people. Greg has assembled a terrific management team. Just like the brands, they’re complementary to each other, bringing different skill sets. In fact, that was a condition of the deal that if I could not get the people we wanted from the management team, that we would not move forward. We signed employment agreements, conditional on the closing. We’re getting six senior executives from their management team. Each one of these people will have very meaningful and responsible roles.”
Besides the people, Saligram says a key meshing of abilities will be with Ritchie Bros. EquipmentOne and the IronPlanet Daily Marketplace.
“We’re going to fuse the two together,” he explains. “Together they will actually become one. It will take some time to technologically achieve it, but that’s our aim, so there is one offering in the Daily Marketplace-EquipmentOne combination.”
Part of that effort will be to incorporate IronPlanet’s inspection system and the IronClad Assurance equipment condition certification. “They have a very good systematic way of doing it,” Saligram says. “They have inspectors around the globe and it’s all done on iPads.”
The purchase also will make Ritchie Bros. Caterpillar’s preferred global partner for live onsite and online auctions of used equipment through a long-term strategic alliance with the manufacturer.
“When we did the strategic alliance with Caterpillar there were a lot of aspects to it, and having a strong association with the Caterpillar brand is a positive thing,” Saligram says. “We have very strong relationships with many Cat dealers around the world and we think that there are ways that the Cat Auction Services can be used very effectively in conjunction with our live Ritchie Brothers Auctions (RBA) brands.”
He adds the two aren’t viewed as mutually exclusive and they can complement each other.
“We think there will be things that they’ll want to do which is focused on dealer business,” Saligram adds. “We also think it will be a great way for us to enter new countries without having to create new sites where Caterpillar dealers have their yards. We will figure out ways, whether dealers want to, when it’s appropriate, to use the (Cat Auction Services) brand and when to use RBA. We think there is a place for both and we’re very comfortable with that going forward.”
Saligram refers to the acquisition as a “marriage made in heaven” of two well-known brands in the auction industry that bring different things to the table.
“It’s a way for us to combine their digital expertise and their online prowess with our unique business model, our financial strength and the customer relationships that we’re known for,” he says. “Bringing the two together, these portfolio of brands, I think we’re becoming a one stop shop. To me this is about transformation of not only the company, but transformation of the industry itself.”
Source:: Equipment world
It’s no secret that visiting a customer can be a great way to build a relationship that leads to sales. However, it’s critical to note the difference between calling on an established customer and calling on an unknown prospect, says George Papp, professional sales consultant and trainer for the Used Truck Association’s (UTA) “Selling for Success” training seminars.
Scheduled in advance, pre-arranged calls are visits to customers with whom you have some relationship.
If you’ve done your homework on a customer, and especially if the relationship is strong, you should know their needs and the extent of their buying qualification, says Jim Ehrensperger, assistant manager of Arrow Truck Sales, Atlanta. So when you schedule a visit, you should be prepared with photos, financing options and other information about specific trucks.
Pulling up in a truck you know they’ll like doesn’t hurt, either. “That creates excitement,” Papp says. The sales process moves a lot faster when a buyer is sitting in a truck rather than looking at brochure.
“You have to do your research and know what types of equipment they need,” Ehrensperger says. “If they only run day cabs and I show up there in a sleeper, it’s a waste of time.” He said his research would often go as far as looking at Google Earth images to see what equipment a customer has.
“There’s been many times that I have taken a truck with me to visit a potential customer and came back with a check in hand,” he says. “Having the truck adds a lot of clout in the selling process.”
Salespeople should be comfortable and gregarious when visiting a customer. Whatever your relationship is, Papp says, work to strengthen it during the meeting. That will help sell the customer on not just the truck but also you and your dealership’s complete offering.
“There’s a big difference between someone who just wants to sell you something, and someone that wants to be your business partner for a long time,” Papp says.
He advises to listen carefully when a customer is talking, but don’t be too quiet. Long periods of silence make a customer uncomfortable.
Cold calls are fact-finding missions, not selling opportunities. They provide a chance to introduce yourself to a prospective customer, get information about the business and its truck needs.
Can a cold call visit morph into a selling opportunity? Sure, but Papp says a salesperson should allow the customer to be the one who takes it in that direction. He says salespeople who try to turn cold calls into sales meetings get nowhere and give cold calling an unfairly poor reputation.
“There is no magic script, and while there are many helpful techniques and methods, there is no single answer,” Papp says in his training brochure.
He recommends being prompt, polite and direct during a cold call. Introduce yourself and ask if you can speak to the person in charge of truck purchasing. If that individual isn’t there, ask for contact information and leave your business card, but don’t push the issue.
Being friendly goes a long way. “When you’re [rude] they’re going to treat you that way in return,” Papp says.
The goal should be to lay the groundwork for another conversation and eventually a pre-arranged call.
“Cold calling makes things happen,” Papp says, and it can be the first step in finding a new customer.
This report is from Big Iron Dealer’s sister site, Successful Dealer, and is part of a series on the best practices for moving used trucks. Read the previous report, “Dealers should try disruptive marketing to shake up the status quo,” here.
Source:: Equipment world
Equipment Roundup: Volvo EX2 electric compact excavator; Ford intros 2018 F-650/750; Pro-Handler extendable wheelbase skid steer; New 12kW Cat portable generator
Volvo Construction Equipment has unveiled what the company believes to be the first fully electric compact excavator prototype.
Eight months after unveiling the LX1 hybrid electric loader and the HX1 load carrier prototypes as part of the company’s vision for the autonomous and electrified quarries of the future, Volvo has taken the wraps off of its latest prototype, the EX2 compact excavator.
The EX2 is powered 100 percent by electricity. Two lithium ion batteries delivering 38KWh replace a combustion engine and provide eight hours of power to the machine in what Volvo calls “an intense application, such as digging compact ground.”
Just Easy Tools has added a 2-ton OTR version of its Easy Gripper tire handler.
The Easy Gripper 2400-T2 is designed as an attachment for forklifts, front loaders and truck cranes. It follows the same three-point grip design as the 1-ton version. It provides a firm grip when pulling wheels and tires off and pushing them on, as well as when loading, unloading and transporting tires inside and outside, the company says. It also gives a precise rotation.
Ford is updating its largest trucks for improved performance and serviceability for the 2018 model year, including adding electronic stability control and traction control brakes as standard on all 2018 F-650 and F-750 tractor models.
The system will initially be optional on certain F-750 diesel air-braked straight trucks with high-center-of-gravity-body upfits.
For tow trucks, road service vehicles and other truck applications with high electrical demands, a high-output 240-amp alternator is now available with the 6.8-liter V10 gasoline powertrain. Ordering the higher output alternator to power auxiliary lights and equipment can eliminate the need to specify a second alternator or generator.
Vermeer says its CC155 concrete cutter is designed to increase roadwork efficiency and minimize lane closures.
The CC155 can handle such diverse applications as road construction and repair, airport lighting projects and demolition work.
A geometric cutter head allows the cut to come from the center of the machine with more precision and power. The 84-inch cutter wheel has a cutting width of 4.8 inches and a cutting depth of 31 inches.
The design of construction machines doesn’t change much through the decades, but the Pro-Handler, if nothing else, takes the standard skid steer and stretches its capabilities.
Hand-built as a proof of concept by Extend Manufacturing, the Pro-Handler offers an extendable rear section that also lengthens the wheelbase, an extendable boom (similar to JCB’s new Teleskid) and four-wheel drive hydraulics to power the front and rear wheels.
With front and rear extendibility, the machine can serve as a rough terrain handler offering a 14-foot telehandler height, an aerial work platform that goes to 19 feet as well as doing all the things a normal skid steer does with attachments.
Less than a year after entering the home/outdoor power market with a lineup of portable generators, Caterpillar is increasing the lineup’s power range with a new model.
The new Cat RP12000 E delivers 12kW of power from a 670cc V-Twin engine with a fully pressurized oil system. The all-copper generator delivers up to 15kW of surge power, enabling it to power more equipment and heavy loads.
A low idle option allows users to cut down on noise, fuel consumption and engine wear. Further cutting down on noise levels are a custom muffler and the placement of the fuel tank on top of the engine as opposed to the side tank placement seen on other generators. Cat says this top tank placement also prevents damage from vibration.
Source:: Equipment world
Business Roundup: Strongco Q1 revenues down; Parrot thermal imaging drone; Kubota Engine opens tech training center; Rental revenue targets $49.4B for 2017; U.S. home starts fall
Equipment dealer Strongco Corporation’s first quarter 2017 revenues fell to $83.2 million according to its most recent financial report, representing an 8.8 percent decrease compared to the same period the year before.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) dropped to $4.3 million, a decrease of 18.9 percent compared to 2016’s $5.3 million.
Despite these decreases, Robert Beutel, executive chairman of the Ontario-based company, says Strongco is beginning to see “small, but encouraging signs of improvement in the marketplace” compared to the challenges and transitions the company experienced last year.
“Falcon is the leading manufacturer of hotboxes and asphalt recyclers, and our customers in Georgia and Florida will benefit from the ability to keep their asphalt at temperature for extended periods, as well as the ability to recycle leftover asphalt,” says ClearPath Solutions President Frank Salensky.
Less than two months after announcing an affordable drone package aimed at allowing real estate and construction professionals to quickly create 3D models of jobsites and properties, French drone maker Parrot has announced the launch of a new business unit that will focus on commercial applications.
As part of that announcement, Parrot has also introduced a new thermal imaging drone solution designed for use in inspections and trades work.
Though Parrot and competitor DJI have long enjoyed success in the consumer/hobbyist portion of the drone market, serious competition in startups like Kespry and Airware has emerged thanks to drone solutions tailored specifically to commercial settings. Kespry’s end-to-end solution requires almost zero user interaction and has netted that company a global distribution deal with John Deere, while Airware’s impressive mapping platform caught the eye of Caterpillar, which recently invested in the company as part of a drone rollout at the heavy equipment maker’s dealerships across the world.
Kubota Engine America has opened a technical training center in Lincolnshire, Illinois, as a means of providing “educational opportunities” for dealer technicians.
The facility has 1,500 square feet of lab area and 3,400 square feet of classrooms.
The company recently held its inaugural sessions for technicians, which included a course on common rail Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) system with running engine stations. Course topics to be covered through the program include Diesel Power Tuning after treatments and SCR systems, spark ignited engines, legacy mechanically controlled engines and compression ignited engines equipped with common rail.
The American Rental Association (ARA) expects U.S. equipment rental revenue in 2017 to grow 4.5 percent, reaching $49.4 billion, according to its latest five-year forecast. This is $500 million more than its previous forecast issued in January.
The forecasted figure combines revenue for construction and industrial, general tool and light construction, as well as party and special events. ARA expects growth rates of 4.7 percent in 2018, 5.1 percent in 2019, 4.6 percent in 2020 and 4.4 percent in 2021, to reach $59.4 billion.
“The equipment rental continues to post strong performance numbers with annual revenues closing in in the $50 billion mark this year,” says John McClelland, ARA’s vice president for government affairs and chief economist. “The issues going forward are how the Congress is going to deal with tax reform and infrastructure spending. If tax reform can lower rates and simplify the code for all businesses that could be a sign of even stronger growth and a strong infrastructure bill will add to that momentum.”
A dip in the start of construction on multifamily homes wiped out a small gain in single-family homes in April, bringing total U.S. home starts down 2.6 percent.
Total starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.172 million but remain up 0.7 percent from the April 2016 figure, according to preliminary data from the Commerce Department.
Single family starts rose 0.4 percent to a rate of 835,000 homes while multifamily starts fell 9.6 percent to a rate of 328,000 homes. Single family starts remain up 8.9 percent over the year-ago figure while multifamily starts are down 14.6 percent.
Source:: Equipment world
(Left to right) Tony Boals, Wright Brothers Construction; Steve Wright; Kent Starwalt, Tennessee Road Builders Association. Photo: ARTBA
The American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) has presented Steve Wright, president of Wright Brothers Construction Company in Charleston, Tennessee, with its ARTBA Award.
The award, established in 1960, is the association’s highest honor and recognizes recipients for their “outstanding contributions that have advanced the board goals of the association.”
Wright has served in various volunteer leadership positions for ARTBA, including 2012 chairman, senior vice chairman, first vice chairman, southern region vice chairman, Contractors Division president, 2011 Strategic Planning Committee co-chair, 2007 Long-Range Planning Committee co-chair, Environmental Committee chairman, and served the past five years as a trustee on the ARTBA Foundation board. He’s also a past president (1998) of the Tennessee Road Builders Association, ARTBA’s chapter affiliate, and a long-time TRBA board member.
In serving as a trustee, the association says, he helped orchestrate the development of the Dr. J. Don Brock TransOvation Workshop and the Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals program.
Wright is the first graduate of the Young Executive Development Program, which is now the Industry Leader Development Program, to be elected ARTBA chairman of the board.
Source:: Equipment world
The Department of Labor has suspended an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule requiring companies to electronically report injury and illness records, which keeps the records from being publicly disclosed, The Washington Post reports.
The rule, which took effect Jan. 1, requires employers to send in their summary data electronically by July 1, but OSHA never launched the website where companies were to submit the information, and it posted language on May 17 saying it “is not accepting electronic submissions of injury and illness logs at this time, and intends to propose extending the July 1, 2017 date by which certain employers are required to submit the information.”
OSHA spokeswoman Mandy Kraft told reporters that the agency delayed the rule to address employers’ “concerns about meeting their reporting obligations” in time.
The rule has been opposed and challenged in court by several business groups, including the Associated General Contractors of America, the Associated Builders & Contractors, and the National Association of Home Builders on the grounds that it could unfairly damage the reputation of some of their members.
Randy Johnson of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told the news agency that firms were concerned that information “could be used by unions and others to smear companies. Just because you have an injury in the workplace doesn’t mean you have the bad employer, or that the employer is violating safety and health laws.”
According to the news agency, David Levine, chief executive of the American Sustainable Business Council, sent an email saying that his members “are eager to send OSHA their summary injury data. Not having this data increases the likelihood that workers will be injured. In addition to needless human suffering, that’s a cost to our economy overall.”
Source:: Equipment world
The California Transportation commission has approved $328 million for 88 transportation projects across the state, including 41 biking and pedestrian projects receiving $35.8 million from the Active Transportation Program.
“This list of multi-modal and fix-it-first projects help us keep our commitment to Californians to maintain and improve the transportation system for economic and quality of life benefits,” says California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) Director Malcolm Dougherty.
Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed California’s SB 1, also known as the Road Repair and Accountability act of 2017, which will provide $52.4 billion over 10 years for transportation infrastructure improvements. California lawmakers approved the measure in early April.
As a result of this law, Caltrans says there will be increased awards and allocations for projects similar to those allocated funding now.
This round includes $234 million from the State Highway Operation and Protection Program for 29 “fix-it first” projects to “maintain and preserve” the state highway system and related infrastructure. These include maintenance, pavement repair and rehabilitation, safety improvements and bridge upgrades.
Other allocations include:
- $45.4 million for two Transit and Intercity Rail Capital Program projects
- $6.4 million for eight capital improvement projects both on and off the state highway system as part of the State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP)
- $4.6 million for Traffic Congestion Relief Program projects that will relieve congestion, connect transportation systems and provide for better goods movement.
- The remaining $1.6 million in allocations came from various state and federal transportation accounts.
Source:: Equipment world
State Farm and the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) have entered into a sponsorship agreement that will rename the agency’s Connecticut Highway Assistance Motorist Patrol (CHAMP) to the CTDOT State Farm Safety Patrol.
The program, which involves patrols and assistance for stranded motorists in addition to traffic control at incident scenes, has been in operation for more than 20 years. State Farm has similar partnerships with 15 other states, including Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Nevada, New York, New Jersey, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
“Keeping our highways safe requires proactive management of daily traffic incidents in order to ensure that anyone involved remains protected and these occurrences do not become exacerbated by secondary accidents,” says Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. “Our transportation department’s highway assistance program assists motorists who have found themselves in unfortunate situations. By working with State Farm through this innovative funding approach, we are able to ensure that this highway safety program can continue providing the same high-level of service, while actually reducing costs to our state’s taxpayers.”
CTDOT says State Farm’s sponsorship will help offset the cost to operate the program, with the remainder coming from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
“Our support of CTDOT’s State Farm Safety Patrol program embodies our ‘good neighbor’ philosophy,” says Matthew Hodson, State Farm vice president of Agency. “It also underscores the continued commitment State Farm has to auto safety, while helping people recover from the unexpected, which is the heart of the State Farm mission.”
CTDOT Commissioner James P. Redeker says that for every minute a highway lane is blocked it takes four minutes to clear the resulting traffic. “In 2016, CHAMP responded to nearly 16,000 service calls, helping to quickly and safely clear roadside incidents, and we’re proud to continue to provide those same important services with this sponsorship.”
“There are more than 30,000 fatalities on U.S. roads each year,” says Amy Jackson-Grove, FHWA Division Administrator in Connecticut. “The FHWA, which pays for a share of the CTDOT State Farm Safety Patrol program, knows that the men and women who carry out the Safety Patrol work are directly helping to make America’s highways safer.”
The CTDOT State Farm Safety Patrol each weekday travels highways across the state, including Interstate 84, I-91, I-95, I-291, I-395, Route 2, Route 7, Route 8 and Route 15 (Merritt Parkway).
Source:: Equipment world