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Daimler Truck North America introduced the Plus Series line of its Classes 6-8 Freightliner M2 and SD models, which the company said feature major updates to the trucks’ interior and electrical systems.
Among key features of the Plus Series trucks are new safety and connectivity systems, fingertip-accessible transmission controls, a new digital screen, updated engines choices and a virtual technician system if help is needed.
The Plus series replaces the trucks’ legacy products, DTNA executives said during a media preview in late July at the American Center for Mobility test track in Ypsilanti, Mich. The news was embargoed until Sept. 13.
Welcome to the family: @freightliner today introduced the new Plus series - enhanced versions of its M2 and SD models. The Plus series is designed to take Freightliner’s medium-duty and vocational lineup to the next level.— Daimler Truck AG (@DaimlerTruck) September 13, 2022
Read more https://t.co/JuUzEErMrz pic.twitter.com/99kgj4z0Hg
“The Plus series provides Freightliner customers the same reliable workhorses they have counted on to add dollars to their bottom line for years, now packed with additional features to further benefit their operators and increase productivity even more,” David Carson, DTNA senior vice president of sales and marketing, said in a release.
“We really focused on placement of electrical system components to reduce instances of downtime,” Greg Treinen, product marketing manager for heavy vocational, said during the event.
A lineup of DTNA Freightliner severe-duty models. (Daimler Truck North America)
That included the power distribution module. “We relocated it off the fender so it is less prone to the road vibrations,” he said.
Treinen noted that customer feedback compelled the company to pay particular attention to the interior. During a walk-around tour of the M2, he noted that customer input led to the relocation of a speaker from the door to the dash to improve sound quality. In addition, a more robust plastic was used on the door panel and dash to reduce squeaks and rattles, especially during off-road use.
For entry into the truck, a more robust map pocket doubles as an additional grab handle, and an optional kick plate can be installed so occupants can scrape off mud and grime from shoes. There is more interior insulation, too.
A Freightliner chassis. (Daimler Truck North America)
Freightliner also relocated electric lock buttons to the door from the B panel, mimicking the familiar placement found in passenger vehicles.
The company also touted the comprehensive suite of safety and connectivity systems now available across Freightliner’s entire vocational and medium-duty truck lineup. Standard selected safety features in the Plus Series include active brake assist and lane departure warning, and optional side guard assist allows for increased safety on the road or job site.
With the new electrical architecture, Plus Series trucks can be equipped with the Detroit Assurance 5.0 suite of safety systems. The full suite is available when the truck is spec’d with Detroit engine models. For the first time, certain Detroit Assurance features now are available with a Cummins engine. Customers selecting the combination of a Detroit engine and DT12 transmission also have access to the safety systems.
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It’s another indication of the two companies working together.
In February 2021, Daimler Truck, DTNA’s parent, and Cummins announced Cummins will establish an engine plant at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Mannheim, Germany, to produce medium-duty engines compliant with the Euro VII emission standard beginning in the second half of the decade. Daimler’s current medium-duty diesel engine generation will end with the start of production of the Cummins engines at Mannheim.
That change also reaches to Portland, Ore.-based DTNA.
According to DTNA, its North American medium-duty vehicles will shift exclusively to Cummins engines along the same schedule in the second half of the decade.
“The Cummins engine is a huge deal,” Treinen said in Michigan, “especially in this market that uses the L9 engine.”
Heavy-duty engines will remain in Daimler’s portfolio and continue to be manufactured in Mannheim and Detroit.
For the first six months of 2022, DTNA led in Class 7 and Class 6 sales with, respectively, 11,076 and 12,438, and in Class 8 sales with 42,369, according to Wards Intelligence.
DTNA in 2021 led in Class 7 sales with 20,451 and was second in Class 6 with 18,733, trailing Ford Motor Co.’s sales of 19,955. In Class 8, DTNA posted a leading 83,616 sales, according to Wards.
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