Leasing Expert Shows Customers the Value of Eaton's UltraShift® HV Transmissions
“...the transmissions will never need a service interval for the entire term of the lease.”
Leasing Account Manager Maudlin Idealease
"Converting a customer from a manual transmission to an automated transmission is easy," says Darin McClure, leasing account manager for Maudlin Idealease, Jacksonville, FL. He should know. Over the past three-plus years, he's already sold the idea to several customers who are now running more than 32 medium-duty Eaton UltraShift Highway Value (HV) automated transmissions.
Upfront, McClure likes to remind his customers that they will see up to two miles per gallon fuel consumption improvements by opting for automation instead of a manual or traditional automatic transmission. "This is a great feature with added operational value," he says.
He also cites "zero service for the life of the lease" as another factor that his customers find just as attractive as the gains at the fuel pump.
"Most of my medium-duty fleet customers are running their trucks for about 50,000 miles a year," says McClure. "So if they are on a five or six-year lease, the transmissions will never need a service interval for the entire term of the lease. It's also great that we never have to service a clutch either."
In fact, adds the 10-year trucking industry veteran, servicing any part of the UltraShift HV transmissions is seldom – if ever – a concern. By way of example, he cited a food distribution customer that converted its entire fleet to automation a few years ago. "They now have 75,000 to 125,000 miles of road service and we have had zero failures," says McClure. "That's hard to beat. Going with the Eaton automated transmission is pretty much a no-brainer. Who wouldn't want all of that?"
Well, apparently there are still a handful of doubters in northern Florida. And for those skeptics, McClure often enlists the services of his Roadranger representative, David O'Kelley, senior territory manager for Florida. "He shares our view on how to treat a customer," adds McClure. "He and his team have been very helpful. The assistance they provide at driver orientation meetings and their sales support is top-notch."
Mirroring the O'Kelley approach to customer service, McClure says, "We try our best to assign all customers with a single point of contact; people who actually know the customer and are held accountable for any issues."
Maudlin Idealease is affiliated with Maudlin International Trucks, Inc., which boasts five truck dealerships in central and northeast Florida, including Jacksonville, Dayton Beach, Orlando, Ocala and Palm Bay. The company also is certified to sell and service engines from Cummins and Caterpillar. Bob Magnus is the company president.
The UltraShift HV transmission is a fully automated transmission for Class 6 and 7 vehicles with diesel engines in the 195 to 260 horsepower range. It is capable of handling torque capacities up to 660 pounds per foot and loads up to 33,000 pounds gross vehicle weight. It is ideally suited for pickup/delivery, service and recovery applications.
Other key features and benefits of the UltraShift HV transmission include Hill- Assist, which automatically minimizes rollback on up to 10 percent grades while the operator makes the transition from the brake pedal to the accelerator. This feature benefits the driver in both uphill and downhill stop and start situations. Additionally, the UltraShift HV transmission's two-pedal design eliminates manual shifting allowing operators to keep both hands on the wheel for safer, less stressful vehicle operation.
The majority of McClure's medium-duty leases are in the 33,000 GVW range, with customers primarily in the food and beverage, auto parts and industrial supply businesses. McClure currently has 84 trucks being leased, with 32 of those outfitted with automated transmissions.
Eaton has been a pioneer in the development of transmission automation, and now has more than 25 years of experience in the field. Hundreds of configurations are currently available from Eaton for virtually all makes and models of medium- and heavy-duty trucks in classes 6, 7 and 8.
"Automation is definitely catching on with more and more truck users," adds McClure. "It certainly is here, which of course, is also making my job easier and easier."