Newsmakers of the Year: Diesels Highlight Electric Year

Deutz Corp. engines, service and reman tabbed in a year of electrification and alternatives

 

By Mike Osenga

Deutz Corp., Atlanta, Ga. is the 2019 Diesel Progress Newsmaker of the Year.

For those of you keeping score at home, the Diesel Progress Newsmaker of the Year is awarded annually to the person, product, company, trend, technology or news event deemed by the Diesel Progress editorial board to have generated the most news over the last 12 months.

The Newsmaker of the Year started in 1997. Previous winners have included, Dana, Caterpillar, DaimlerChrysler, Navistar, Oshkosh Truck, Generac and Briggs & Stratton. Issues and technologies chosen as the Newsmaker of the Year have included electrification, the global meltdown, SCR, pricing, and the power generation markets among others.

See the Diesel Progress International Newsmaker of the Year

In picking the Newsmaker of the Year we consider a variety of factors; discussions with people around the industry, website and social media traffic, as well as anecdotal impressions about what people in the industry are talking about. It isn’t all analytics; it isn’t all hearsay.

Some years the Newsmaker of the Year is a fairly easy decision to make. Other years it isn’t, and some years we wait until the last minute to see if something tips the balance (ala Caterpillar buying Bucyrus late in 2010).

The decision this time was probably the most analyzed Newsmaker of the Year we’ve had in the 22 years we’ve been doing this. There were no shortage of options as mentioned below. But in the end, Deutz Corp., the wholly-owned subsidiary of Germany’s Deutz AG, covering the Americas, won out over a host of other contenders.

It’s always hard with subsidiary companies to separate out the activities of the local company from the parent, but there’s little doubt that Deutz Corp. had an active 2019.

It was interesting that in this time of electrification and alternatives, much of our deliberation centered around the activities of internal combustion engine manufacturers, which resulted in Yanmar receiving the Diesel Progress International Newsmaker of the Year award and Deutz for Diesel Progress.

Busy 2019 For Deutz

There was no doubt Deutz Corp. has had a busy 12 months. The year started with the company adding two new small diesels, a 1.2 L and 1.7 L, to its product line via an agreement with Korea’s Kukje Machinery Co.

As was 2019 drawing to a close, Deutz signed an engine deal with China’s Sany, which has the potential to be a much larger story moving

Deutz Newsmaker of the Year
Presenting the Diesel Progress Newsmaker of the year to Deutz Corp. to (left) Steve Corley, chief sales officer, Bob Mann, president and CEO and Mike Osenga publisher/editor of Diesel Progress.

forward. And in one of those late year deals, Deutz added Futavis, a battery manufacturer, to its expanding electric power portfolio.

Also during the year, Deutz made a very interesting move introducing diesel block gasoline engines to the industrial markets. Still in its infancy, that program could change the landscape in some equipment segments and is something the editorial board all noted.

Deutz also expanded its Power Solutions product range adding the first of a line of skeleton gen-sets for food trucks, work trucks, mobile command centers and other “power inside the machine” uses.

Deutz Corp., in recent years has also made some interesting moves on the engine aftersales side, establishing and expanding its company-owned Power Center operations, most recently expanding Deutz Power Center Great Lakes in Chicago. It also announced and is growing its service of Genie mobile elevated work platforms with the Deutz Power Centers are now authorized service and parts centers for some Genie-branded machines.

And after celebrating the tenth anniversary of its Deutz Xchange operation in Pendergrass, Ga., Deutz announced it is expanding the footprint of that operation and adding the TCD 2.9 engines to its portfolio. With the remanufacturing of smaller output diesel engines an oddity 10 years ago, today the expanding Deutz Xchange program is a key part of its North America operations.

Also Considered

But as mentioned, 2019 had no shortage of Newsmaker of the Year candidates. The one story during the year that really caught the attention of the editorial board was Briggs & Stratton’s launch of a line of batteries, which they are making themselves, to power off-highway machines. There is the feeling that when electrification becomes a widespread industry reality, this may be the sort of path it follows. A definitely glimpse-of-the-future story.

Likewise the debut of the first Chinese-built EPA-certified diesel engines by Weichai and Power Solutions International certainly got a lot of notice. The Toro acquisition of Ditch Witch was also one of the top news stories of 2019.

The overall Volvo group was all over the news in 2019. Almost weekly it seemed, the Swedish manufacturer was announcing something to do with electrification or its engine-powered equipment, both on-highway and off-highway. There is no “second place” with the Newsmaker of the Year, but if there was Volvo would have been a strong contender.

Certainly anything to do with electrification was everywhere in 2019 and Cummins once again made a bunch of moves in that regard including one of the many electrified off-highway demo vehicles shown at bauma. Fuel cells also seemed to have caught the attention of the Columbus, Ind. manufacturer leading them to buy Hydrogenics and partner with Hyundai o that technology.

An economy that seems to be slowing globally also got everyone talking, especially in the second half of the year. The economy is almost always a major story in any given year, but after a steady line of growth since 2009, any slowdown has people talking.

The powertrain side of the business was also busy this year with Meritor, Dana and Allison all making significant acquisitions and introductions, many in the electrification world.

Maybe because it was a bauma and North America Commercial Vehicle show year, much of the big news of 2019 was made by new product instructions. Eleven of those new products can be found in the Notable New Products of 2019 article elsewhere in the December issue of Diesel Progress.

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