Detroit Diesel Corporation is a leading manufacturer of on-highway heavy-duty diesel engines for the commercial truck market. The company offers a complete line of engines from 170 to 515 horsepower for the on-highway and vocational markets. Through its corporate headquarters in Detroit, Michigan, Detroit Diesel is engaged in the design, manufacture, sale and service of these products, in addition to supporting alternative and hybrid engine strategies for the commercial truck marketplace. Detroit Diesel is a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler and part of the Freightliner group of companies.
In looking ahead to 2007, the Environmental Protection Agency has mandated new emissions regulations to take effect January 1, 2007. As a result, Detroit Diesel will be bringing to market three redeveloped diesel engines to meet the new emissions standards. While there is much concern within the trucking and vocational industries that rely on medium and heavy duty diesel engines regarding the preparedness of the 2007 engines, Detroit Diesel is confident that it will be ready come next January.
That’s because Detroit Diesel’s EPA ’07 engine program represents the most investment, most resources, most testing and most preparation the company has ever placed on a launch. In 2007, Detroit Diesel will launch three redeveloped engines to meet the new standards: the heavy-duty Series 60 and the Mercedes-Benz (MBE) 4000 engines, and the medium-duty Mercedes-Benz (MBE) 900. All of these engines will come equipped with an aftertreatment device that reduces NOx and particulate matter levels.
A few important items are worth mentioning about the company’s 2007 preparedness:
First, one of our greatest strengths is our background. Detroit Diesel is an integral part of DaimlerChrysler’s Truck Group, which is the largest commercial vehicle manufacturer in the world. Having access to global engineering and development resources gives Detroit Diesel a huge advantage over our competitors. For instance, we started working with our colleagues at DaimlerChrysler and Freightliner in early 2003 for the 2007 program.
Second, the company has not just been busy refining our engines. Detroit Diesel has been preparing the field and our service literature, technician training, parts, and diagnostic tools – all are ready a full year before we launch! And, we have our manufacturing facility, suppliers, and quality function ramped up to support production of the new engines – things we’ve had in place since last fall.
Third, Detroit Diesel has a long and renowned history of diesel engine development and manufacturing. We have nearly 70 years of engine expertise and capability under our belts to support the 2007 program. And we aren’t just looking at ’07, we have programs in development to further our technology position for 2010 and beyond.
Preparation is Key
So what did the company do for ’07 that we haven’t done in the past? Simple: We planned better.
Detroit Diesel will be better prepared than ever and we are accomplishing this through all of these efforts. But the cornerstone of our 2007 program has been, and will continue to be right up until start of production, engine testing.
Detroit Diesel’s first 2007 Series 60 was on a test stand in August of 2004. Since then, we have racked up millions of reliability and durability testing miles across all three engine platforms, and we are in the middle of a comprehensive Customer Demonstration Program that will only serve to strengthen the performance of the engines that we bring to market in 2007. When all is said and done with the testing program, we will have accumulated 24 million test miles on our three engine platforms. By comparison, for our 2004 launch, we accumulated 2.8 million laboratory miles and didn’t conduct a customer demonstration program.
The Detroit Diesel engineering test teams have been crisscrossing the country from in test trucks in order to prove out the engines in all climates and environments and in a variety of applications. And we are very excited about what we have seen – engines and aftertreatment systems performing well. But it doesn’t surprise us given the extensive preparation work that we’ve put into the program.
The 2007 engines are just another step on the evolutionary ladder of our industry. Change is difficult in a competitive environment such as ours and moving to a new product with new technology generates some apprehension.
But recognize that Detroit Diesel is ready to launch in 2007. We are using 2006 to refine our engines; hone our service and parts readiness, and validate our manufacturing capability. We’ve learned a lot from past launches and will continue to apply what we learn to make our products stronger so that when the new emissions standards take effect in 2007, our customers will reap the benefits from our preparation efforts.