Owner Driver - - Brand Analysis -

It was easy to un­der­stand Richard Howard’s re­luc­tance to talk about Western Star. Sure, as a big cog in the Daim­ler Trucks North Amer­ica (DTNA) wheel, he car­ries plenty of clout. But then, he’s also well aware that the fleets of au­to­mo­tive mogul Roger Penske are among DTNA’s big­gest cus­tomers in North Amer­ica and, like­wise, equally cog­nisant of Penske’s hold on Western Star dis­tri­bu­tion in Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

So, when asked about spec­u­la­tion that any fu­ture Western Star de­sign will be sim­ply a badge-en­gi­neered Cascadia, a di­rect Howard said sim­ply: “Western Star will re­main unique to Western Star just as Freight­liner prod­uct will be unique to Freight­liner.”

He was, how­ever, far more forth­right when it came to ques­tions of Star’s long-term fu­ture within the DTNA jug­ger­naut, par­tic­u­larly in re­gard to the brand’s po­si­tion­ing as the group’s heavy-haul spe­cial­ist.

While con­ced­ing that Western Star vol­umes are rel­a­tively small com­pared to Freight­liner, an adamant Howard ex­plained: “We see great op­por­tu­ni­ties for Western Star both in North Amer­ica and Aus­tralia.

“We are on our big­gest in­vest­ment pro­gram for the North Amer­i­can mar­ket in heavy ap­pli­ca­tion trucks, and in the his­tory of Western Star trucks. There will be more to come on that [when the time’s right] but you can be as­sured Western Star is square and cen­tre of our strat­egy for North Amer­ica and for right-hand drive markets,” he con­cluded.

Mean­time, don’t be sur­prised if 2020 – the same year Cascadia will be launched in Aus­tralia – also sees the in­tro­duc­tion of an en­tirely re­fash­ioned Western Star. Star is long overdue for a ma­jor model makeover and if the whis­pers are right, it won’t be hard to spot the Cascadia in­flu­ence. Re­mem­ber, you read it here first. Be­low: Star power. There re­main great op­por­tu­ni­ties for Western Star both in North Amer­ica and Aus­tralia

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