Freight­liner range gets full over­haul

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels - JAMES STAN­FORD

TWO up­dated mod­els and a re­place­ment for a Ster­ling mixer will strengthen the Freight­liner range this year.

The Mercedes-owned brand has strug­gled with de­layed ac­cess to new trucks and fresh en­gines in the past few years, but Freight­liner is now on a mis­sion to update its range.

This process started with the in­tro­duc­tion of the big and bold Coron­ado late last year.

‘‘This is the start of an of­fen­sive for the Freight­liner busi­ness,’’ says Mercedes-Benz Aus­tralia chief Hans Tem­pel.

‘‘In the next 18 months we will be in a po­si­tion to re­place our en­tire prod­uct range.’’

The first model to be in­tro­duced is the short-bon­net Columbia CST 112, which will re­place the cur­rent Columbia CL 112 and slots in be­low the Coron­ado.

The CST 112, which will be launched this month will up­grade to the new 13-litre en­gines avail­able from both Detroit Diesel, the DD13, and Cum­mins, the ISX.

With the Ster­ling brand now of­fi­cially re­tired, Freight­liner is look­ing to re­place the much-loved 7500 mixer.

Freight­liner says it is yet to fi­nalise the de­tails of this truck, but says pro­to­type mod­els are cur­rently be­ing tested. The new model will be pre­sented for the first time at the Bris­bane Truck Show in May.

An­other new Freight­liner to be pre­sented for the first time at the show is the new cab-over Ar­gosy.

Freight­liner stopped pro­duc­ing the cur­rent Ar­gosy for the US mar­ket in 2006 given the Amer­i­can pref­er­ence for bon­neted trucks, but it will con­tinue to pro­duce it for ex­port mar­kets in­clud­ing Aus­tralia.

The new Ar­gosy will have a new look as well as be­ing avail­able with the new Detroit Diesel and Cum­mins en­gines. It will go on sale around Oc­to­ber.

These new trucks can’t come soon enough for the Freight­liner team, with Tem­ple ad­mit­ting some cus­tomers and deal­ers had ques­tioned the value of the Freight­liner brand. He says Freight­liner sales are not where he wants them to be ei­ther.

‘‘In re­cent years Freight­liner has seen some dif­fi­cul­ties in Aus­tralia, this is re­lated to the prod­uct is­sues we’ve had.

‘‘Due to the fact that we have with­drawn cer­tain prod­ucts from the mar­ket it takes some time for them to be re­placed and we are now in the process of do­ing that,’’ Tem­ple says.

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