Daimler says these milestones demonstrate the company’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 respectively 1967, 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 percent in the NAFTA region–a testament to the high popularity its trucks enjoy with its customers.
“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,” says Roger Nielsen, president and CEO of DTNA.
In the year of its 75th birthday, Freightliner has started production of its flagship truck, the new Cascadia. Freightliner says the truck is its most connected 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 eight percent and even higher operating times, DTNA says the 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. The company says 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, the company says. 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.
Additionally, 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. Daimler says 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 company says.
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, the company says.