Enhancements to two truck lines reviewed
Freightliner LLC showcased new developments from both its Sterling Truck Corp. subsidiary and its recent acquisition, Western Star Trucks Inc., at the Great American Trucking Show.
Freightliner president Jim Hebe stated that Western Star's distinctive styling and custom engineering will be preserved, but the trucks will benefit from a broader offering of powertrains.
Hebe distinguished the market focus of the two this way: Western Star is oriented to over-the-road owner-operators and severe-duty fleets, while Sterling is pegged mainly at shorthaul freight hauling and various vocational applications.
John Merrifield, senior vp-sales & marketing, made numerous product announcements for the two lines. Chief among these were:
Availability of Airliner single- and tandem air-ride suspensions as well as TufTrac spring suspensions on Western Star models.
Various Western Star options, including interior enhancements, Cummins RoadRelay 4 driver-information display, Webasto ThermoCooler system, Clarion radios, and Clifford remote-control power locking.
Availability of Mercedes-Benz MBE4000 engine in Sterling L-Line and A-Line heavy-duty models.
Sterling Acterra models will offer an optional sleeper box.
Noting that the “laws of supply and demand have not been nullified,” Hebe said he is forecasting 162,800 Class 8 truck sales for the U.S. next year, or a 21% drop from this year's expected total.
“But it's not the end of the world,” he said, noting that “the light at the end of the tunnel is that the excessive supply of trucks is working itself out and the economy is still strong.”
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