Fallen Flag: UD Trucks N.A.


By Jim Taylor, Editor MACS ACtion Magazine

Late last month, UD Truck of North America announced its withdrawal from the North American market, effective for 2013. Reasons cited included a shrinking market for their cab over engine (COE) class 3 – 7 medium duty products and the increasing costs of safety and emissions compliance.

 

Another important but unmentioned factor is the company’s lack of any North American manufacturing capacity. All of their products are imported from Asia and the current strength of the Yen and other currencies worked against the import business model.

UD – for “Uniflow Diesel” – began as a subsidiary of Nissan Diesel America in 1984. Their early products earned a reputation for ruggedness, reliability and ease of repair in the U.S. market. As with almost all trucks in these classes, the cab-and-chassis base vehicle could be configured for a variety of standard uses including small reefers, cargo and delivery boxes, stake-bodies, dump bodies, liquid tanks and so on, plus specialty and less standard uses as well.

The company continued to upgrade the lines and introduced new truck and engine technologies through the early 2000s including electronic common rail fuel systems and variable nozzle turbocharging.

In 2007, Nissan Diesel was purchased by AB Volvo and became a subsidiary of that company. But both companies were severely affected by the 2008 business downturn, and UD’s North American sales never recovered to any notable level. Last year’s sales were roughly one quarter of 2005’s volume.

The company’s letter to its dealers said that there are about 300 new trucks remaining in UD inventory and that orders for 2013 vehicles will be accepted for anything that can be built before year’s end.

UD’s pull-out leaves the COE market to the Class 6 and 7 trucks from Kenworth and Peterbilt, while the market for lighter classes and purpose-bodied “vocational vehicles” falls back to the perennial players including Mitsubishi Fuso, Hino, Isuzu and others.

The Mobile Air Conditioning Society’s blog has been honored as the best business to business blog in the Automotive Aftermarket by the Automotive Communications Awards and the Car Care Council Women’s Board!

When having your mobile A/C system professionally serviced, insist on proper repair procedures and quality replacement parts. Insist on recovery and recycling so that refrigerant can be reused and not released into the atmosphere.

If you’re a service professional and not a MACS member yet, you should be, click here for more information.

You can E-mail us at macsworldwide@macsw.org or visit to find a Mobile Air Conditioning Society member repair shop in your area. Click here  to find out more about your car’s mobile A/C and engine cooling system.

The 33rd annual Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Training Conference and Trade Show, Be the Best of the Best will take place February 7-9, 2013 at the Caribe Royale, Orlando, FL.

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About macsworldwide

Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide Founded in 1981, MACS is the leading non-profit trade association for the mobile air conditioning, heating and engine cooling system segment of the automotive aftermarket. Since 1991, MACS has assisted more than 600,000 technicians to comply with the 1990 U.S. EPA Clean Air Act requirements for certification in refrigerant recovery and recycling to protect the environment. The Mobile Air Conditioning Society (MACS) Worldwide’s mission is clear and focused--as the recognized global authority on mobile air conditioning and heat transfer industry issues. www.macsw.org
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