Volume 20 | Issue 5 | Year 2017

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It goes without saying that trucking is vital to the efficient distribution of goods and the health and well-being of local as well as global economies. Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is equally vital to the development of efficient, innovative and safe vehicles that are indispensable to the conduct of modern life and business.

Daimler Trucks North America, (DTNA) the parent company of Freightliner Trucks, Western Star Trucks, Detroit Diesel Corporation, Thomas Built Buses, Freightliner Custom Chassis Corporation, SelecTrucks and Daimler Truck Financial, is headquartered in Portland, Oregon and employs over 20,000. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daimler AG, headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, one of the largest producers of premium cars and the world’s biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles.

The largest producer of trucks over six tons, DTNA makes and markets two leading truck brands—Freightliner and Western Star. “We build commercial vehicles to serve a range of uses, including light-, medium- and heavy-duty trucks for long-haul and short-radius distribution, construction site operations, and a range of special-purpose trucks,” notes Paige Jarmer, spokesperson for Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA). “Drawing upon the parent company’s enormous research and development capabilities, manufacturing expertise and worldwide reach, Freightliner and Western Star customers reap the benefits of product innovation, technological advancements and global efficiencies.”

This year Daimler celebrates the 75th anniversary of Freightliner and 50th anniversary of Western Star, both market leaders in their respective classes. “Freightliner commands the largest share for Class 8 trucks and is the leading heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America, with an impressive on-highway and severe duty vocational line up covering a broad spectrum of customer requirements. Freightliner trucks deliver the lowest Real Cost of Ownership (RCO) for customers through maximized efficiency, quality and innovation,” Jarmer points out. “The Western Star 4700 is the truck of choice for many vocational customers and continues to grow vocational market share in all segments – particularly in construction and municipal applications.”

The Freightliner brand has been at forefront of trucking innovation since its inception in 1942. Today, Freightliner engineers employ advanced digital mock-ups to perfect each and every design—with the engineering vision realized through the latest automated manufacturing technologies that achieves precision results.

Freightliner Cascadia®

The latest example is the new Cascadia model that sets the industry benchmark for fuel efficiency, safety, connectivity quality, uptime and driver experience. “The truck is loaded with the latest safety features, productivity enhancements and comforts,” Jarmer notes.

The new Cascadia model is available in mid-roof cab configurations best for regional overnight haulers and segments such as bulk haul and flat beds. Configurations include 48-, 60-, and 72-inch mid-roof XT sleeper cabs in 116- and 126-inch BBC platforms, available with two levels of aerodynamic packages. Additional features include the service-friendly electronic vault (eVault), an industry first that houses and protects all vehicle electronics; all LED-lit interior and exterior lights; ergonomic dashboard and display screen designed for the driver; the seamless integration of Detroit™ Connect and Detroit Assurance; and a Drier Loft option.

The truck’s world-class aerodynamic design helps take fuel efficiency to the next level. The new Cascadia is available with the integrated Detroit™ Powertrain, which combines the fuel-efficient down speed 400 horsepower/ 1,750 pound/foot of torque Detroit™ DD15® or DD13® engines with the Detroit™ DT12™ automated manual transmission, Intelligent Powertrain Management (IPM4) and corresponding Detroit™ steer and rear tandem axles.

Western Star

Western Star custom trucks are made for vocational and highway applications, with more than 3,000 factory-installed options to customize each truck for every customer. Key focus areas include ride quality, driver comfort, a variety of power solutions, tough components for unsurpassed cab and frame durability, body-builder specific options to reduce installation time and easy serviceability.

According to Jarmer, “The customers that are most attracted to Western Star are small-to-medium fleets. Western Star has also seen a steady increase in market share in on-highway business due to the Western Star 5700XE model. The all-new interior offers comfort, space and storage to spare. With four sleeper models, five roof heights and a high-quality walkthrough design, as well as a range of upgraded material and color options, the truck can be outfitted to fit the needs of any customer.”

Freightliner and Western Star trucks are built with the highest quality of materials and components that contribute to durability and uptime. “When a truck requires routine service or unexpected maintenance, DTNA is committed to providing a superior customer experience that gets a truck out of the shop and back on the job fast,” says Jarmer. Key to this is EliteSupport Support℠, a collaborative initiative between DTNA and its dealerships.

There are currently 250 Elite Support-certified locations that improve the customer experience through preliminary diagnosis and communication within two hours of arrival, clean and comfortable driver lounges outfitted with a range of amenities, robust parts availability and exceptional turnaround and quality.

Continual Innovation

With all the talk these days of the self-driving car, can a self-driving truck be far behind? Indeed, in 2015 Freightliner Trucks unveiled the Inspiration Truck, the first automated commercial truck in the world to receive a full license to operate on public roads. Daimler has announced automated platooning tests on highways in Oregon and Nevada. “We continue to research and develop technology that will make automated vehicles safe, reliable and efficient,” Jarmer says.

Closer to wide-scale adoption is the Truck Data Center connectivity module, currently available only in Europe but intended to be installed across all Daimler Trucks brands worldwide. It receives data from the truck’s sensors, cameras etc. and analyzes it for many different applications. The Truck Data Center is responsible for the vehicle’s external communications, communicating in real time via Bluetooth, 3G or GPS with the transportation infrastructure, other vehicles and other entities involved in the logistics process.

DTNA also invests in technology to improve fuel efficiency in its vehicles and to improve the overall cost of ownership for customers. “DTNA has met all emissions standards by delivering vehicles that improved fuel economy,” Jarmer points out. “Safety is another pioneering initiative, with the incorporation of active and passive safety to our vehicles. The blind spot monitoring system, for instance, warns truck drivers when turning not only of other road users, but also of imminent collisions with stationary obstacles such as traffic lights or road signs.”

Hard Working

DTNA is committed to promoting the trucking industry and facilitating jobs growth. One example is its Hardest Working Cities program. Started in 2015, the program has recognized eleven cities: Indianapolis, Salt Lake City, Nashville, Los Angeles, Toronto, Dallas, New York City, Edmonton, Seattle-Tacoma, Des Moines and Detroit. The municipalities are chosen based on eleven criteria, ranging from impact on overall gross domestic product and employment growth to the number of jobs in key industries, including construction, manufacturing and logistics. Freightliner hosts a celebration at a dealership in each city and makes surprise deliveries of coffee and donuts to vocational truck work sites in the area.

Meanwhile, DTNA continues with the hard work of making the best trucks better. “We offer our customers the leading-edge technologies that they need for their business to be successful,” Jarmer says. “When it comes to efficiency, safety and connectivity, DTNA leads the way and continues to raise the bar. In these areas we are constantly working on new technologies that provide our customers with financial benefits and promote society’s interests to improve the safest and most efficient transportation of goods and services.”