Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA), the parent company of Western Star, has officially revealed the company’s latest vocational truck. The company considers it the natural evolution of the 4900 series of work trucks.
“We know the 4900 is a great product, but we also know that it doesn’t bring the best of technology to the customer,” said Samantha Parlier, vice president of Vocational Market Segment Development at DTNA. “So what we really focused on was how do we bring all of this great technology to help make the customer’s job more efficient, more productive, and ultimately more profitable without losing all of the durability and toughness of the 4900.”
The first Western Star 4900s were a product of the late 1960s. We are now well into the 21st century, and both DTNA and Western Star want to make it clear that they are not about to fall behind the curve of innovation.
Here is a non-exhaustive list of the bells and whistles you can expect on a 49X:
- Power Launch Mode to give the truck a running start.
- Rock-Free Mode to shake the tires loose of mud, rocks, and other debris.
- Forward adaptive cruise control with no lower limit (0 MPH).
- Active Brake Assist, a camera that can detect close objects and apply brakes appropriately.
- Heating element headlights to evaporate condensation or melt ice.
- Wider steps and larger handholds to reduce falls when boarding or exiting the vehicle.
- Three transmission modes: economic, performance, and off-road.
- Optional three-piece rear window to grant more view behind the driver.
- ISO Tech Hood Suspension system to increase stability in the cab on rocky terrain.
Beyond added technological features, DTNA insists that the machine is extremely durable, even by vocational truck standards. The truck has been tested, both in the lab on shaker tables, and in the environment in DTNA’s High Desert Proving Grounds facility. When asked about the testing, a spokesperson said, “this truck has been to hell and back.”
Finally, alongside the 49X comes the launch of the DT12 Vocational Series of automated manual transmissions (AMT). Daimler says it has invested $100 million into the research, development, and testing of their newest AMTs. Combined with either Detroit or Cummins brand engines, these two AMTs–DT12-V and DT12-VX–provide the truck with many of the abilities listed above, including Power Launch Mode and Rock-Free Mode.
DTNA says that in the six years since it launched its last truck model, the 5700XE, they have done extensive research into how people use vocational trucks in everything from blistering desert to slippery, icy roads, and asked themselves what changes could be made to the truck to improve the quality of life of the professional driver, no matter the scenario.
Fleets and dealers will be able to start ordering these new models during the winter and can expect to drive them in 2021.