December, 2009

At this time of year it's customary to look over the previous twelve months and talk about the events that shaped the industry over that time. Right now I'm more interested in what the next twelve months will bring. A year from now there will be no Sterling Trucks. A year from now, Caterpillar will not be taking orders for new truck engines. A year from now, fleets will be teaching their drivers how to use urea (or "Diesel Emissions Fluid," if you prefer) in their trucks, and where to find it. Those are the things we know of for certain. Other things we can only speculate on... A year from now, the local dealer you depend on for warranty work may not be in business. A year from now there may be no Dodge trucks. A year from now there may be no Pontiacs, Saabs or Hummers. A year from now there may be no Chrysler or GM whatsoever. Or, we could all be co-owners of Chrysler and GM. A year from now, gasoline and diesel fuel prices could be reaching new lows. Or new highs. The point is, a year from now we will all be living and operating in a much different world, and there's no way of telling what will change or how dramatic the changes will be. The good news is that, as of next month, the grown-ups will be in charge again in Washington, and so far the new administration seems to be taking the approach that the current economic upheaval is an opportunity to create a new, green economy. I hope they're right, because the alternative is too terrible to even think about.