Daimler Trucks Celebrates Freightliner and Western Star Anniversaries

Daimler Trucks is celebrating the 75th anniversary of Freightliner and 50th anniversary of Western Star in 2017.

The 1942 Model 600 “Shovelnose” and the 2017 New Cascadia.
The 1942 Model 600 “Shovelnose” and the 2017 New Cascadia.

In 2017, Daimler Trucks is celebrating two significant anniversaries in North America: 75 years of Freightliner Trucks and 50 years of Western Star Trucks, respectively – demonstrating Daimler’s strong commercial vehicle legacy in the NAFTA region. Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) can look back on a rich history of continuous innovation, during which its trucks have become the economic backbone across the continent. Since their founding days in 1942 and 1967, respectively, Freightliner and Western Star have put a total of about 3,200,000 trucks on the road. In the first half of 2017, Daimler Trucks has brought 42,300 units to market. DTNA leads the market in Classes 6-8 with a market share of 40.2% in the NAFTA region – a testament to the high popularity its trucks enjoy with its customers.

Roger Nielsen, President and CEO of DTNA, says, “We have a portfolio of brands that, while very diverse, share a strong legacy of innovation and customer focus. In the past decades we have strengthened our position as the undisputed market leader – and as we celebrate our past, we’re looking forward to building even more perfect trucks in the future.”

DTNA: Looking to the future

In its year of anniversaries, DTNA is looking well beyond its past: Underlining its historic anniversaries and leading market position, Daimler Trucks is going to kick-off the inaugural North American Commercial Vehicle Show (NACV) in Atlanta on September 24, 2017 with a spectacular Premiere Night. The next morning DTNA will host a press conference to showcase an exciting range of on-highway and vocational trucks, along with technologically advanced engines and components. These provide the broadest range of solutions for customers looking for the most optimized fuel efficiency, safety options, durability and uptime.

Throughout the four-day show, DTNA‘s 70,000 sq. ft. booth will feature interactive displays and top-selling vehicles from Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Fuso Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans and Thomas Built Buses. Additionally, Detroit components, safety and telematics software demonstrations, financing services from Daimler Trucks Financial, and Aftermarket parts will be showcased. Among the highlights at the DTNA booth will be:

  • A special-edition new Cascadia marking Freightliner’s 75th anniversary will be showcased, as well as the latest product innovations. Furthermore, the debut of the new Cascadia mid-roof XT will be on display.
  • Western Star will continue celebrating 50 years of legendary awesomeness by displaying its 5700 XE, 4700 and 4900 truck models. Each will feature this year’s Limited Edition 50th Anniversary appearance package and the latest productivity, technology and safety enhancements.

Freightliner: Benchmark for innovation and efficiency The 2017 Freightliner New Cascadia represents the best in fuel efficiency, safety, connectivity, quality, uptime and driver experience.The 2017 Freightliner New Cascadia represents the best in fuel efficiency, safety, connectivity, quality, uptime and driver experience.

In the year of its 75th birthday, Freightliner has started production of its flagship truck, the New Cascadia – Freightliner’s most connected truck ever, setting industry standards in connectivity solutions. It is also its safest and most efficient Freightliner truck to date. With fuel efficiency of up to 8% and even higher operating times, total cost of ownership is at an all time low for customers. Daimler’s investment of around $300 million is paying off: Currently, over half of the Class 8 orders are for New Cascadia. And it is expected that there will be a further significant increase as additional variants are rolled out throughout the rest of this year. Freightliner offers the most connected truck fleet available – powered by the Truck Data Center, a hardware box integrated in every truck that provides communications capabilities for telematics systems. Today, over 275,000 of DTNA’s trucks in North America are already online.

The drive to innovate is part of Freightliner’s DNA, recalling its earliest beginnings: When founder Leland James could not find a truck powerful enough to meet conditions in the western United States, he decided to simply build his own. Indeed, the past 75 years have been a story of ‘firsts’: Freightliner was first to launch an all-aluminum cab in 1942, revolutionized the industry in 1987 by offering an integrated sleeper cab with a raised roof, and in 2015, put the first licensed, fully autonomous truck on American highways: the Inspiration Truck.

Western Star: 50 years of unrivaled toughness and quality

With its recently launched 5700XE, the most fuel-efficient Western Star truck to date, and the 6900 Multi-Body-Transformer (MBT), Western Star is gaining strong momentum in its anniversary year. Western Star trucks have become the benchmark for ultimate toughness – tough enough even to garner the Model 5700 a leading role in a popular movie franchise – while at the same time guaranteeing customers an exceptional driving experience.

Western Star traces its roots back 50 years to the Canadian logging and mining industries. The brand has since established itself as the premier vocational and over-the-road heavy duty truck manufacturer in the region. From the beginning, each Western Star truck has been built by hand, ensuring that every truck can be highly customized for each specific use case. Western Star can therefore offer trucks for a wide array of jobs, such as construction, the oil and gas industries, and mining. This approach is reflected in its diverse product line-up including a wide choice of axle, hood and sleeper configurations. The versatile Western Star 6900 Multi-Body-Transformer can quickly convert from dump truck to tanker and eliminates the need for multiple pieces of dedicated off-road equipment.The versatile Western Star 6900 Multi-Body-Transformer can quickly convert from dump truck to tanker and eliminates the need for multiple pieces of dedicated off-road equipment.

Freightliner and Western Star are not alone in celebrating anniversaries: In 2016, DTNA already celebrated 100 years of its bus brand Thomas Built Buses, well known for its iconic yellow school buses. And next year, the DTNA-owned Detroit Diesel Corporation (DDC) will have been providing industry leading engines to the commercial vehicle industry for 80 years.

DTNA profits from global Daimler strategy

DTNA and its truck brands benefit from Daimler Trucks’ global strategy, which allows for a roll out of shared platforms and architectures across all brands. With shared component modules, Daimler can supply tailored technologies to its customers simultaneously and worldwide, as well as exploit economies of scale – such as already underway with heavy and medium duty engines and transmissions. Take for example the platform for automated heavy-duty transmissions. A few years ago nobody would have believed over 75% of our Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 5700 trucks could be sold with an automated transmission. That innovation turned the market in the NAFTA region upside down and increased DTNA’s market share from 29.6% in 2009 to 39.3% in 2016. In 2016, the shared platform strategy has been expanded to the truck chassis, which the new Freightliner Cascadia shares with the Mercedes-Benz Actros.

Another perfect example is the Truck Data Center, the brain of the connected truck. It will be installed across all brands at Daimler Trucks on the basis of the internationally standardized electronics architecture. The standardization of the Truck Data Center is combined with maximum adaptability to regional customers' requirements by means of the software and apps: in the future, the Truck Data Center will form the basis for existing connectivity solutions from Daimler Trucks as well as the telematics systems of FleetBoard and Detroit Connect.