Western Star delivered the 200,000th heavy-duty truck in its 53-year history during the same week parent Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) elevated its vocational equipment to segment equality with over-the-road trucks while downplaying the role of brands in future purchase decisions.
“As we progress in this century, definitely the loyalty to a certain design or certain logo is no longer the deciding factor,” DTNA President Roger Nielsen said in announcing a realignment of business units.
Brands will remain, and they can be celebrated.
The milestone Western Star truck, a vacuum excavator for a fleet customer, bears a special marker and includes the signatures of brand employees inscribed underneath its hood.
“Western Star trucks have a hard-earned reputation as tough trucks that are able to withstand the most extreme conditions and applications,” said David Carson, senior vice president of DTNA’s Vocational segment.
The plant ceremony in Portland, Oregon, came three days after Daimler announced a shift in its marketing strategy, putting off-highway and severe-duty trucks on equal footing with its Class 8 freight-hauling lineup. DTNA is the market leader, led by its flagship Cascadia line.
Joe Johnson Equipment of Innisfil, Ontario, received the 2020 Western Star 4700SB truck produced in the plant where Daimler has assembled more than 500,000 trucks.
A subsidiary of Federal Signal Corp. (NYSE: FSS), Joe Johnson Equipment has bought more than 1,000 Western Star trucks.
“They’ve exceeded our expectations all along,” Vice President Jeff Johnson said. “It’s an honor to add the 200,000th Western Star to our fleet.”
Western Star sold its 100,000th truck in February 2006 after 39 years in business. It took only 14 years to sell the second 100,000 trucks. The 4700 is Western Star’s most versatile and popular truck model. It recently received safety, productivity and ease-of-upfit enhancements.
Western Star is based in Portland, home of DTNA. It was founded in 1967 as White Motor Co. with headquarters in Cleveland and manufacturing in British Columbia. Production moved to Daimler’s Portland plant in 2002.
“Western Star is well positioned to continue to meet and exceed customer expectations for the next 50 years and beyond,” Carson said.
DTNA said on March 2 it is realigning its structure to focus on both on- and off-highway use, reducing its emphasis on its Freightliner and Western Star brands. A new management structure focuses on market segments.
“Buyers are making data-driven decisions focused on total cost of ownership,” Nielsen said.