Increased strength, as well as ability to handle new job functions, are among the standout features of new model trucks and components introduced so far for 2001.
Freightliner, which holds the lead in heavy-duty truck sales, has one blockbuster product for 2001, offering the MBE4000 diesel from its parent company, Mercedes-Benz.
The initial horsepower range of the engine will be 350 to 450, and will be available in four of Freightliners strongest truck series.
"The MBE4000 is one of the worlds most advanced heavy-duty diesel engines," said Freightliner President and CEO James L. Hebe. "With its long list of innovative features, this engine will provide unique advantages to heavy-duty truck operators."
MBE4000s are designed for traditional line haul applications as well as for regional freight transportation, bulk hauling, grocery distribution and vocational applications.
A novel feature on Freightliner Century Class S/T and Columbia Class 8 trucks are adjustable foot pedals. Adjustable throttle, brake and clutch pedals move 3 in. up from the standard positiontowards the driver. They are controlled by a switch on the dash.
For the year ahead, Freightliner is joining several competitors in offering a Day Cab model in its Columbia series. Reasoning behind such special models is that if you arent going to use it overnight, why equip the truck with a sleeper cab that adds to the cost?
Among components for mid-range trucks, Freightliner has attracted attention by introducing an air suspension for mediums that was developed from its heavy-truck air suspension.
By delivering a smooth ride for driver, chassis and cargo, air suspensions have been enjoying a sales boom in recent months.
So what else is new?
Brand new from Kenworth is its K300 medium-duty cabover, available with a choice of Class 6 or 7 ratings.
"We expect momentum to build for the K300 as local delivery fleets and e-commerce businesses learn more about this high-quality truck," said Ed Caudill, Kenworths general manager.
"The cabover segment of medium duty is small, but it is expected to grow." He rated the K300 as having "the best visibility and maneuverability possible."
The truck is built so the driver can exit from either door.
"K300s are an excellent complement to our T300 medium-duty conventional," Caudill added.
Peterbilt, Kenworths brother company in the PACCAR lineup, has just begun delivery of its medium-duty COE model 270, produced at the firms state-of-the-art factory in Ste. Therese, Quebec, Canada.
Meanwhile, the line has improved its Class 7 Model 330 with driver-pleasing features such as a comfortable-to-use steering wheel that provides excellent visibility of the gauges.
"The new Model 330 adds another dimension to Peterbilts product line," said Nick Panza, Peterbilt general manager. "The Class 6 market has been steadily growing since 1993."
The class includes customers who want low GVW ratings without compromising reliability and durability, according to Panza.
Western Star Trucks, a Canadian producer of heavy-duty trucks, has just added the 6964SX model as the first in its Constellation Series truck built for heavy-duty, off-road and severe service applications. The producer added a Solar Series at the top of its medium-duty class.