At the ConExpo construction show in Las Vegas, Freightliner has released a new family of work trucks called the Severe Duty line, aimed directly at North American Class 7 and 8 vocational markets.
Sterling was supposed to be Daimler Trucks North America’s vocational truck line, with Freightliner concentrating on long-haul applications. This strategy worked for awhile, but David Hames, general manager, marketing and strategy for Freightliner, acknowledged it gave the impression that vocational trucks were a secondary product for Freightliner. “That was never true,” he says. “Freightliner has always taken vocational markets seriously. But simply getting the chassis required to fill vocational orders was always a problem due to our popularity in long-haul markets. And the Sterling acquisition (from Ford) was intended to address that issue.”
Hames said increasing costs and the looming EPA emissions regulations forced DTNA to pull the plug on Sterling in 2010. But now, the Freightliner SD will pick up where Sterling left off. The trucks feature new styling, designed to help differentiate the vocational line from the company’s long-haul products.
But Freightliner engineers did more than give their existing trucks a facelift. Freightliner invested in frame, suspension, PTO and axle upgrades to ensure productivity and efficiency on jobsites and in severe off-highway working conditions. These enhancements have been coupled with optimized body installation procedures, spearheaded by developing engineering relationships with leading body installers around the country.
“Our overall goal was to provide body builders with the tools they need and to assist fully with that process,” said T.J. Reed, director of product marketing. “We want to help find and develop optimal solutions for body packaging – even on tough installations like street sweepers.”
The new Freightliner SD series will consist of both 108- and 114-inch bumper to back of cab configurations — both with set-back axle positions as well as a Coronado SD version for extreme heavy-hauls and severe off-road applications. The 108SD features a 42-inch set-back axle with rating from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds and single and tandem rear axle options from 21,000 to 46,000 pounds. Power options include a standard Detroit Diesel DD13 or Cummins ISB and ISC diesel engines.
The Freightliner 114SD vocational truck features a set-forward axle with a standard 31-inch position or an optional 29.5-inch bridge formula configuration, and a set-back 48-inch setting for enhanced maneuverability. Front axle ratings are available up to 23,000 pounds, and heavy rear axle configurations for single axles are available up to 38,000 pounds. Tandem rear axle ratings range up to 58,000 pounds and tridem ratings are up to 69,000 pounds.
All three Freightliner SD models feature hood access panels to ease daily maintenance checks with front-end equipment (such as snowplows) installed. Other enhancements include easy-service headlamps, a single-channel 12-inch frame rail package and aluminum cab.