Heavy Duty Trucking

NOV 2014

The Fleet Business Authority

Issue link: https://heavydutytrucking.epubxp.com/i/413586

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Page 45 of 125

partial-aero designs, like the 4900FE. That left Western Star without a truck to fill a growing market demand. "Without a full-aero offering, we were clearly self-imposing some limita- tions on our growth opportunities," Jackson says. "We realized we couldn't play well in the aero market with what we offered. The 5700XE is the answer." Jackson says he expects this truck to push Western Star into the 5%-plus range for market share in the on-high- way segment by opening the doors to that 65% of the on-highway market they couldn't previously touch. Western Star's director of marketing, Ann Demitruk, says the 5700XE is not being aimed at large truckload fleets, leasing companies or customers that want the absolute lowest up-front pric- ing. Rather, she sees owner-operators, small- to medium-sized fleets, and test drive 44 HDT • NOVEMBER 2014 www.truckinginfo.com dard 4900, it fell short of the industry's current definition of a true aero truck. But the market was different in 2012. In fact, a year before the 4900FE hit the streets, Western Star conducted a customer survey that suggested 40% of its customer base was still on the aerodynamic fence, but were beginning to lean in that direction. "Our customers told us they wanted distinct styling, and not something they associated with a fleet truck," Western Star general manager Mike Jackson said when the 5700XE was launched in Las Vegas in September. "But that has changed in 2014. They tell us now that while the badge and the image are still important, they realize they have to make money too." Jackson noted that the current Class 8 tractor market is running at 65% full aero, compared to the traditional or N ot long ago it would have been a stretch of the imagi- nation to use the words Western Star and aerody- namic in the same sentence. Today, they might be considered synonymous. The company claims its new flagship, the 5700XE, is 14% more aerodynamic than its predecessor, the 4900, and the second most aerodynamic truck in the Daimler Trucks North America port- folio, next to the Cascadia. Company officials did not elaborate on the spread between the two, but it's probably closer than many would suspect. In 2012, Western Star rolled out a first stab at an aerodynamic truck, the 4900 FE. It featured a set-back front axle and a rounded hood profile, a swept-back bumper and few other cosmetic changes. While it did cut the air a little more smoothly than the stan- Western Star's 5700XE might just be everything to everyone. It's a big classic-styled truck with second-to-one aerodynamics. The Jelly Bean Large Car Jim Park Equipment Editor test drive Western Star's 5700XE is a classic style truck in aerodynamic wrap.

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