NTEA’s Truck Products Conference was September 25 and 26, and our assistant editor found herself in Michigan for the first time, ready to bring readers who were unable to attend a recap of the information they missed.

The top manufacturers in our industry were scheduled to bring us information on upfitter modifications, product changes, and give body builders the opportunity to speak one-on-one about ways to easily integrate equipment onto chassis. Representatives from hundreds of brands you love were there to learn all they could about ways to improve the upfits needed for your application.


NTEA’s stellar lineup of manufacturer presentations began on Tuesday morning with Freightliner and Isuzu at 8 A.M. Freightliner’s new models have a few things coming, and when a decrease in weight is involved, that’s always a good thing, right?

Freightliner is decreasing its rear suspension by 191 lbs for new models due to a shorter frame and is fully launching its DD5 and DD8 engines in its trucks. DD5 and DD8 engines have been in quick launch for a bit, but with the full launch, the engines will now provide an increase in horsepower.

Isuzu is making changes in its automatic transmission with new models. These changes come with an improvement in fuel economy with an increase in lockup range (1,100 rpm to 900 rpm) and drivability with a deceleration skip down shift allowing drivers to go from sixth to fourth, fifth to third, and fourth to second gear. Air conditioning is also standard for new Isuzu models.

International’s New CV Series


Hino debuted its new XL Series at The Work Truck Show in March of this year. We know you’ve all been dying to order your XL7 or XL8, and you’ll get your chance when Hino begins accepting orders in November 2018. See more about the XL Series on Hino’s website.

Hino’s cab-over models see an improved wide mirror stay, an update to its 155/195 PTO, and an updated COE body builder chart that makes things simpler for the upfitter.

Mercedes-Benz is rolling out new technology for its upcoming models. This telematics systems connects fleet managers, drivers, and vehicles to increase efficiency and productivity.

Mercedes PRO connect:

  • Mobile app gives drivers easy access to vehicle and job-related information
  • Communication Module ensures broad range of connectivity with 4G LTE SIM card permanently installed
  • Vehicle Management Tool gives comprehensive overview of resources to simplify logistics and increase productivity.


Peterbilt is seeing changes. Its new models come with an increase in electrical functionality and security with less moving parts and less hardware. Talk about simplification! Its engines receive electrical updates, too, with changes in PTO function, configuration, limits and interlocks.

GM is updating a lot this year. A lot. The Chevy Silverado 4500HD, 5500HD, and 6500HD—introduced at The Work Truck Show in March—are all true stunners. Production for these models begins late this year. For those interested in detailed specs and features, visit See other GM changes below:


  • Chevy nixes the 3500HD from its lineup
  • 5500XD 5.2-L cew cab is added in 2020; production begins in January
  • The Aisin A465id replaces existing A465 in 2020 5.2-L diesel 4500HD/XD and 5500HD/XD, improving fuel economy, increasing lockup range, and adds skip shift
  • Dana Model S19-140 replaces 19-060S in 2020 6500XD; a weight reduction of 86 lbs and final ratio from 6.17 to 6.14
  • 2020 6500XD gets 50-gallon fuel tank.

Silervado/Sierra 1500
Next year, GM launches its all-new 2019 MY Silverado/Sierra 1500. Some of these models are currently in production, and others won’t be in production until next year. These new models are something you’re not going to want to miss. They are sleek, sophisticated, and come with changes that are sure to impress:

  • Larger cab
  • Longer wheelbase
  • Short front end
  • Higher ground clearance
  • Mixture of materials used to optimize performance, cost, and strength.


  • 4.3-L V6 replaces 4.8-L V8 engine, adding direct injection, variable valve timing, fuel economy improvement
  • Forward collision alert
  • Lane departure warning
  • Side blind zone alert
  • Rear park assist.


We feel like Ram is often an unsung hero in our industry. The guys at Ram have hit 19 monthly sales records, and its 2019 Ram 1500 is the most tech-advanced truck for Ram—stay tuned! The brand will also reveal new 3500, 4500, and 5500 chassis in January. We’ll bring you the updates!

Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation has its own to-do list for its upcoming models, simplified into the acronym CASE—Connected, Autonomous, Shared Services, Electric. These changes include new instrumentation, smartphone and GPS connectivity, 360-degree truck views, and collision mitigation for medium-duty hydraulic brakes.


International has a new truck in town! The CV Series is a joint development with General Motors. It features a 6.6-L engine with 350 hp and 700 lb-ft of torque. It has a 6-speed Allison transmission, 4×4 capability, and a segment only gear-driven transfer case. Stay tuned for more!

Western Star is giving all its models an HVAC update, featuring faster defrost, 30 percent increase in airflow, quieter operation, and a lower A/C temperature of 13 degrees. The brand’s 4700/5700XE receive changes to the auxiliary panel that moves the 12 V receptacles out of the auxiliary panel and into the dash. The 4700, 4800, and 4900 have updated PTO modes available on DD13 engines that give the ability to control engine rpm when in stationary mode when FEPTO/REPTO is ordered without a transmission PTO. This disengages once the vehicle is in motion in order to regen.

The brand’s models also receive a “tough wrap” harness system that provides superior harness protection to chassis wiring. Western Star models—excluding the 5700—receive a 3rd Eye camera system, a back-up/pulsed radar blind spot object detection system that actively notifies operators of potential collisions.


Ford is (finally) bringing back the Ranger, a light-duty truck with plenty of capability. This truck was engineered and tested to the BFT standard of excellence with a frame-mounted steel bumper, skid plates, and front tow hooks. For all the specs, visit Ford’s website. See other Ford vehicle changes below:


  • 65 mph speed limitation available on 6.8-L gas
  • Front spring rates optimized on seven most popular upfitter configurations for better alignment
  • Engine Immobilization Security Lock available on cutaways.


  • Electronic Stability Control option extends to straight frame configurations with air brakes
  • Relocated vertical exhaust stack three inches closer to back of cab
  • Frame holes for both propane tank and fifth wheel prep options
  • Optional fender-mounted mirrors
  • Provision for EZ-TRAC all-wheel drive upfit
  • Provision for Meritor 4×4 upfit.

Super Duty Chassis:

  • Aft-of-axle extension
  • Upfitter interface model designed to operate aftermarket-installed equipment; up to nine digital input signals
  • Factory-installed and laptop programmable.


  • Rear recovery eye
  • Increased angle rear cargo door hinges allow for much wider door-opening
  • Optional front steps and decals
  • Optional D-pillar grab handles.


These are just some of the many changes coming from the most trusted manufacturers to the most reliable vehicles on the market. Although many of these changes don’t affect the end-user, here at MWS, we wanted to give an overview of what buyers can expect from their favorite brands.


Find out more about NTEA’s Truck Products Conference,


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