A view from a Swedish tow truck operator: make fully automatic transmissions the standard


Increased driver comfort and productivity, easy operation on ice and lower maintenance costs lead to specification of more trucks with Allison transmissions.

GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN - Stig Andersson, owner of Skara-Götene Bärgningstjänst in Götene, 150 km north east of Gothenburg in Sweden, has four vehicles in his towing truck fleet. The two newest, a Scania 340 and a Volvo FL, are fitted with Allison’s fully-automatic transmissions, a choice which has not been regretted. They are both used as lorry platform towing trucks for medium and heavy vehicle towing up to 60 tons.

“Like many other commercial vehicle drivers I started developing strain injuries in my left knee after years of stamping on the clutch pedal. When I planned to invest in the Scania truck I thought it was about time to reward myself with a more comfortable drive. That was one important reason for choosing Allison fully automatic transmission in my new towing truck,” he says.

“After a couple of years driving with my automatic transmission, I have noticed many other benefits compared to manual and semi-automatic alternatives, which are at least as important as the driving comfort. I don’t lose any power when accelerating, and I have also noticed how the maintenance costs have been minimized.

”In contrast to what you’d expect, the total fuel costs also are not higher with the automatic transmission. Especially when you consider the increase of efficiency and productivity in my work. Tests has proven that if there are any differences in fuel costs they are somewhat lower with Allison transmission.”

He continues: “In snow and ice it’s much easier to rock yourself loose from difficult situations with an automatic transmission. This is because you can change between forward and reverse much faster than with a manual gearbox and without risk of damaging the transmission.”

Anders Ivarsson, Market Developer at Allison Transmission in Sweden explains, ”The advantages that Mr. Andersson has described are driven by the design of the Allison product. The torque converter and continuous power transfer ensure superior performance in many different situations. In addition, Allison’s fully automatic transmissions eliminate costly clutch repairs and consequent vehicle downtime.”

Future plans include automatics

A towing truck must be able to operate under difficult conditions, 24 hours a day and in all kinds of weather. It is often very tight, muddy and slippery on the scene of an accident, placing high demands on maneuverability and ability to start smooth on all kinds of grounds. In these circumstances Allison transmissions, thanks to their patented torque converters, really can be instrumental to effective and safe operations.

Furthermore, drivers often work under stressful traffic situations where it’s important to concentrate on driving and not on changing gears. “There is quite enough to think about anyway”, says Andersson.

According to Andersson, fully automatics are becoming more and more popular in towing trucks, and he cannot understand why his colleagues should not realise the benefits of fully automatic transmissions too.

“There’s no doubt about it; my next towing truck will also have a Allison fully automatic transmission. And the one after that too,” he concludes.

Jun 25, 2012

About Allison Transmission

Allison Transmission (NYSE: ALSN) is the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic transmissions for medium- and heavy-duty commercial vehicles and is a leader in hybrid-propulsion systems for city buses. Allison transmissions are used in a variety of applications including refuse, construction, fire, distribution, bus, motorhomes, defense and energy. Founded in 1915, the company is headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA and employs approximately 2,600 people worldwide. With a market presence in more than 80 countries, Allison has regional headquarters in the Netherlands, China and Brazil with manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Hungary and India. Allison also has approximately 1,400 independent distributor and dealer locations worldwide. For more information, visit allisontransmission.com.