Western Star Trucks, a subsidiary of Freightliner LLC, recently celebrated the official start of truck production at their new manufacturing location in Portland, OR. It was the culmination of a program begun in October 2001 to move truck production and other operations from Kelowna, B.C., Canada, to the U.S. Carsten Reinhardt, former general manager of operations for Western Star in Kelowna, is the first general manager of the Oregon truck manufacturing plant.
Ryan Lucas, a small fleet operator based in British Columbia, took production of the first Oregon-built truck, a Western Star 4900 SA purchased through James Western Star Sterling Ltd. in Prince George, B.C. According to Western Star, customers and dealers played key roles in the transition of operations from Canada to the U.S. A Transition Advisory Group comprised of customers and dealers was organized early on to review the company's plans and provide guidance in a number of areas, noted John Merrifield, senior vp-sales & marketing for Western Star Trucks.
Western Star also announced that it plans to offer the Mercedes-Benz MBE4000 12.8-liter, 6-cyl. engine for its 4900 FA and 4900 SA truck models, beginning in January 2003. The engine is rated from 350 to 450 hp. with peak torque of 1,550 lb.-ft. at 1,100 rpm. According to Western Star, the MBE4000, manufactured by DaimlerChrysler Powersystems, is exempt from the October 2002 emissions standards.