March 28, 2011 4:45 AM, EDT

Freightliner Unveils Models for Severe-Duty Sector

By Jim Galligan, Staff Writer

This story appears in the March 28 print edition of Transport Topics.

LAS VEGAS — Freightliner Trucks introduced two new severe-duty trucks last week at the 2011 ConExpo/ConAgg construction conference and equipment exhibition here, in a move by Daimler Trucks North America to recapture market share in vocational vehicles.

The 108SD and 114SD heavy-duty trucks, which use Freightliner’s bumper-to-back-of-cab measuring nomenclature, will complement the company’s heavy-duty Coronado SD model, which was introduced in late 2009.

Freightliner introduced the Classes 7 and 8 trucks as core components of DTNA’s effort to regain the vocational business lost with the demise of Sterling Trucks.

Although Freightliner’s former FLD SD model was a vocational truck, most of DTNA’s severe-duty business had been handled by Sterling, the former Ford Motor Co. heavy-duty truck product, which Daimler dropped in 2008.

“Our commitment to the vocational markets was secondary,” said David Hames, general manager of DTNA marketing and strategy, referring to Freightliner’s focus on its over-the-road business.

Sterling was never able to become a dominant player in the severe-duty sector. That, along with the high costs of upgrading the truck line to meet the 2010 diesel emissions standards, led Daimler to close down the brand, Hames said. The Freightliner FLD also was discontinued prior to the 2010 emissions changeover for the same reason.

The new Freightliner trucks will handle applications in the core vocational markets of construction, refuse hauling, utilities, special hauling and government.

The trucks will be available in set-forward or set-back front axle positions with either Detroit Diesel or Cummins engines, depending on the configuration and application.

The 108SD features a 42-inch set-back axle position with axle ratings that range from 10,000 to 20,000 pounds in the front, and single and tridem rear-axle options from 21,000 to 46,000 pounds.

Engine choices for the 108SD include the Cummins ISB or ISC models with ratings from 200 to 350 horsepower and 520 to 1,000 pound-feet of torque.

The 114SD SFA (set-forward axle) features a standard 31-inch front-axle position and an optional 29.5-inch bridge-formula configuration. The model also is available in a 48-inch set-back configuration for better maneuverability. Front axles can be spec’d up to 23,000 pounds, while the rear axle is available in single, tandem and tridem configurations, with maximum weight ratings of 23,000 pounds, 38,000 pounds or 69,000 pounds, respectively.

Buyers will have several engines choices with the 114SD models. For heavy-duty applications, the trucks will use the Detroit Diesel DD13 with ratings of 350 to 450 horsepower and 1,250 to 1,650 pound-feet of torque. The Cummins ISC or ISL, with ratings ranging from 260 to 380 hp and 660 to 1,300 pound-feet of torque, will provide power for lighter work. The 114SD also will be available with the Cummins ISLG natural gas engine.

The transmission offerings will include Eaton manual and automated and Allison automatics.

Both new models will be available in day, extended or crew cab configurations.

The cab is a blend of steel and aluminum. It can be spec’d with either an up-level exterior package with chrome trim or a lower-cost base trim level to make it more appealing for municipal and government budgets, Freightliner said.

Some notable exterior options include small hood access doors to provide quick checks of fluids and a snow door, which can close the hood intake.

All models include Freightliner’s SmartPlex multiplexing system as standard. The wiring system simplifies integration of switches and wiring for bodies and equipment.

Hames said the company also is expanding its vocational sales and marketing group to work with upfitters, body suppliers and customers.

Production of the 114SD SFA will commence in the second quarter of 2011. Production of the 108SD and 114SD SBA will begin by the end of 2011.