2015 marks the 100th anniversary of Allison Transmission – a century-long journey that has seen the company grow into the global leader in medium- and heavy-duty automatic transmissions, while staying close to its hometown roots in Indianapolis.
In 1915, James Allison and partners formed a racing team, the Indianapolis Speedway Team Company, to increase competition at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, which Allison had also co-founded in 1909. Allison supported an informal machine shop to service the team’s cars and advance motorsports innovation that formed the foundation of what would become Allison Transmission.
Just two years later, World War I compelled the company’s evolution to support the war effort, engineering parts for the Liberty aircraft engine and gaining experience as a U.S. government contractor. As a division of General Motors, the company became a major supplier of parts for groundbreaking aircraft engines for the military during World War II, entering the commercial transmission market in 1946 and unveiling a cross-drive military tank transmission in 1949.
“Our company was founded on the values of innovation, quality and reliability,” said Lawrence E. Dewey, chairman, president and CEO of Allison Transmission. “Although 100 years have passed, I’m very proud to say those remain our driving values today. With our products and services, we are improving the way the world works.”
As a part of its year-long celebration, Allison Transmission recently was honored with the Centennial Business Award from the Indiana Historical Society. To help celebrate such a monumental year, Allison has created and is sponsoring two digital journeys for the Indiana Historical Society’s Destination Indiana exhibit. The life of James Allison and the history of Allison Transmission will become part of the permanent display in March.
Additionally, Allison Transmission is partnering with the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Center for Digital Scholarship to create an online collection featuring a variety of digitized archival records from the company dating back to the 1920s.
By embracing change and pursuing new markets across the globe, Allison Transmission has grown into the world’s largest manufacturer of fully automatic commercial-duty transmissions and a leader in hybrid-propulsion systems with approximately 2,700 employees and a market presence in more than 80 countries.
True to James Allison’s original vision, the company continues to innovate with cutting-edge products like FuelSense® and the TC10®, meeting the industry’s need for fuel-efficient performance. The Allison advantage – a reputation earned over the last hundred years – helps customers everywhere work harder and smarter: from open highways to congested cities, hectic construction jobsites to vast oilfields, and nearly all points in between.
2015 is off to a fast start for the trucking industry. Sales of medium- and heavy-duty trucks were up 17 percent in December (compared to December 2013), with double-digit growth for the year. And as diesel prices keep dropping and freight and construction activity trend upwards, economic headwinds are blowing in the right direction to begin the year.
For fleet owners, taking advantage of this momentum means maximizing productivity and minimizing downtime, while keeping fuel costs down. Allison automatics provide proven performance and fuel efficiency, with a reputation for reliable quality that shows in higher resale values – a compelling message for customers at upcoming trade shows.
At the NTEA Work Truck Show in Indianapolis, March 4-6, Allison will feature the 2500RDS and 3500RDS, Rugged Duty Series™ models. The Allison Automatic’s quicker takeoff, uninterrupted horsepower and seamless shifting means smooth performance in stop-and-go traffic, for more deliveries. Allison’s Continuous Power Technology™ assures the same responsive handling under tough conditions on the construction jobsite.
Of course, the first step toward a productive fleet is keeping trucks on the job, minimizing the lost time and added expense of preventable maintenance. All manual and automated manual transmissions (AMTs) slip the clutch at vehicle start up, causing increased powertrain wear. In high start/stop duty cycles like pick-up and delivery, this repeated damage adds up. The Allison torque converter multiplies horsepower at start up, for a wear-free start up with powerful acceleration.
At the Mid-America Trucking Show (MATS) in Louisville, March 26-28, Allison will display both the 2550 HS and 4000 HS from the Highway Series™ and the 3500 RDS from the Rugged Duty Series™. The TC10® for Class 8 tractors will also be on display for its second appearance at MATS.
It’s a constant balancing act for trucking fleets – driving performance versus fuel economy. In 2014, Allison Transmission launched FuelSense®, a breakthrough system that offers the best of both worlds. A year later, FuelSense has been named a “Top 20” new trucking product by Heavy Duty Trucking (HDT) magazine.
Allison’s FuelSense features automatically adapt shift schedules and torque, maximizing transmission efficiency based on load, grade and duty cycle, without sacrificing the Allison advantages fleets already depend on – superior performance and Continuous Power Technology. The system’s fuel-saving impact gained widespread attention in the trucking industry, and ultimately recognition by HDT.
The magazine’s Top 20 "Best of the Best" new products for 2015 were selected from hundreds of products and services introduced in the pages of HDT and at Truckinginfo.com. The winners were chosen by HDT's editors and a group of selected fleet innovators and veteran maintenance professionals from the American Trucking Association’s Technology & Maintenance Council.
“A number of criteria were used to evaluate this year’s products for the award including product innovation, the ability to address top industry issues, their potential to improve a fleet’s bottom line through maintenance savings and improvements in safety and fleet efficiency,” said Justin Miller, regional manager for Heavy Duty Trucking.
FuelSense meets all of these benchmarks: A unique package of software and electronic controls, FuelSense offers a smarter solution for fuel economy, with fleets realizing fuel savings of up to 20 percent while gaining the other bottom line advantages of an automatic transmission – for example, extended service and reduced maintenance, by avoiding clutch wear-and-tear at every start up.
“By introducing FuelSense, we wanted to address demand for upfront fuel economy while preserving the long-term value of an Allison,” said Larry Love, executive director of global marketing for Allison. “We’re pleased the experts at HDT have heard the same feedback that we have – that FuelSense has been a game-changer when it comes to making fleets more efficient and productive.”
In addition to receiving recognition in the February issue of HDT magazine, FuelSense was acknowledged with an award presentation at the TMC Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition in February.
Since its inception in 2007, the Allison Transmission Aftermarket Performance Rewards Program has recognized the top Allison Transmission Distributor Branch locations in North America.
Each year, Allison recognizes the Top Overall branch location, the Most Improved branch location and all the Gold Level branch locations. As the Service Channel face of Allison Transmission, the relationship between Allison and the Allison Authorized Distributor network is of great value. It is important to recognize those who go above and beyond throughout the entire year.
The United Engines branch location, based in Little Rock, Ark., took home the 2014 Top Overall branch location award. The 2014 Most Improved location award went to the Smith Power branch location in Salt Lake City.
“These dedicated individuals put in hard work every day to service and support the Allison Transmission product,” said Denny Breedlove, director of global channel management and aftermarket programs for Allison. “The Performance Rewards Program is a great way to recognize the Distributor branch locations that provide outstanding customer support.”
The criterion for the Performance Rewards Program includes a wide range of metrics that measure a distributor’s performance. Distributor branch locations are measured on vehicle turn time for repairs, customer satisfaction index surveys, product training, in-stock parts availability, stock-to-emergency orders and sales growth of Allison Genuine Parts and Allison ReTran® products.
The Most Improved location award is determined based on the distributor’s overall performance score from the current year compared to the previous year’s performance score.
Additionally, for the Gold Level awards, distributor branch locations must rank in the top 25 percent in total performance against all North America Allison Authorized Distributor branch locations.