Lightweight design, connectivity and piloted driving are trend topics attributed only too often to just the passenger car industry. However, the commercial vehicle sector also plays an important role as an innovation driver for future-proof product and mobility concepts for the ever-changing automotive industry. The 11th summit meeting of the commercial vehicle sector was held in Munich in April 2016, under the motto "Trends in the commercial vehicle industry - goods traffic at the focus of technical challenges". 

For the sixth time, Jochen Seifert, chairman of the event and Head of the EDAG Competence Centre for Commercial Vehicles, welcomed the who's who of the sector to an exchange of ideas, and moderated the two-day conference. Not only VDA President Matthias Wissmann, but also Stefan Buchner (Divisional Director at Daimler Trucks), Dr. Harald Ludanek (Member of the Executive Board, R&D, Scania CV AB), Christian Coolsaet (CEO and Vice President, Volvo), Joachim Fehrenkötter (owner of Fehrenkötter Transport Logistik GmbH), Sven-Boris Brunner (CEO of M&M Militzer & Münch GmbH) and Roland Klement (President for R&D, Schmitz Cargobull AG) presented their visions and concepts for the future of commercial and heavy goods vehicles.

"Increasingly linked to a highly developed infrastructure, more than anything else it is the high-tech truck that makes it possible for materials and goods to be transported safely, efficiently and reliably every day, and this is one of the essential process variables of our economic processes," explained Jochen Seifert. "This vehicle type, which cannot be beaten for diversity and variability, must be constantly re-inventing itself in order to maintain an ideal position in the face of the fundamentally changing basic conditions in the transport sector and, last but not least, to continue to take the pole position in the transport carrier rankings."

Economically, the commercial vehicle industry got off to a good start in the current financial year. For the West European commercial vehicle market, the VDA (Association of the German Automotive Industry) forecasts a 4 percent increase in 2016. Currently, almost every 4th person working in the German automotive industry is employed in the commercial vehicle sector. Far more than the passenger car branch, the commercial vehicle sector has to be constantly re-inventing itself, as the German government expects a 39 percent increase in road freight transport by 2030, compared to 2010. Closely linked to this, challenges are growing constantly. To further reduce CO2 levels and improve fuel efficiency, not only must diesel engines become more efficient, aerodynamics be improved or alternative drive concepts be integrated; the logistics of the haulage contractors and the economy must also be optimised. A task that is as exciting as it is challenging. As an independent engineering partner, the design engineering company EDAG contributes in many areas towards making the truck into a transport medium fit for the future. As well as day-to-day business and the development of complete cabs and numerous vehicle chassis solutions, the Wiesbaden-based company also develops innovative chassis architectures, systematically follows up promising lightweight design concepts and, by means of sophisticated modular solutions brings about a wide range of variants, but at the same time the flexible and economically viable production or derivatives, because a commercial vehicle is also always a made-to-measure suit. Only in this way can the high demands made of these commodities be met.

"The truck operator is interested in the reliability of his vehicles, but above all in their TCO (total cost of ownership). To achieve an overall optimum here, all the components of the truck must work together to perfection. And this is exactly where our know-how and competence come in. As an engineering service provider that works as equals with OEMs, we can provide innovative solution proposals in all decisive disciplines, as well as profound concept competencies," explained Jochen Seifert.