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Power Shift: Fleet Trends In Engine Selection

The transportation industry is constantly in a state of flux – tracking new technology, responding to new regulations and revising logistics to attract drivers and achieve higher satisfaction – all in an effort to gain a competitive edge. This is true across all classifications and categories.

However, there are radical differences between medium-duty truck ownership and the heavy-duty over-the-road category that are important considerations when looking for sales opportunities. It helps to know who is logging the most miles and making the most money.

Across all commercial truck classifications, fewer than 35% of all trucks are owned by private fleets. Yet, those fleets account for 53% of the tonnage, 64% of the total value and 84% of the ton miles. Seventy-five percent of that tonnage is dedicated to wholesale, resale and manufacturing, with the highest dollar values coming from petrochemicals, groceries, drugs, motor vehicles, machinery, electronics and other chemicals.

The amount of annual mileage on these vehicles is significantly different as well. Virtually all private fleets tend to travel less than 500 miles on a route, with over a quarter less than 50 miles. Meanwhile, 80% of all for-hire trucks run routes exceeding 250 miles. Obviously, this can have huge implications for everything from driver recruitment to where maintenance and service get performed.

Increasingly, the transportation market is being dominated by an elite group of larger fleets. In the heavy-duty category, one third of all trucks are run by just 61 fleets. Sixty-seven percent are owned and run by the top fifteen hundred fleets. Obviously, this represents a major volume opportunity on an annual basis – but you shouldn’t ignore the medium-sized and smaller fleets, as this represents one-third of the total market. Overall, Cummins enjoys a significant sales advantage in the heavy-duty category, with 33.7% market share among the top 25,000 fleets – a full 7 points ahead of its nearest competitor.

The medium-duty market is even more concentrated at the top, with just 12 fleets accounting for 20% of all vehicles and the top 100 fleets accounting for 35%. The remaining 65% are spread out over thirty thousand fleets. It’s a more fragmented market that takes a lot more sales calls and footwork. One key fact to note is that the 100 big players in this market have a higher tendency to spec engines below 7 liters in size – while the rest are more likely to spec engines 7 liters and above by an 8-point margin.

Perhaps the most important shifts in recent years are operational. Trucks in all categories are operating shorter routes, spending more time in congestion and in non-driving activities. Understanding how to sell and optimize features like Start/Stop technology and all of the parameters surrounding idle management will be critical.

Understanding the market trends can help you anticipate what your customers want in their next truck – and position Cummins as the only engine supplier capable of meeting all of their needs.

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