The Freightliner Cascadia comes on down under to Australia this week with a big bang and a major event in Sydney. The reveal of the new truck saw the loud music and bright lights shining on the new models through the artificial smoke in a repurposed carriage works in Sydney.
The size of the event and the surrounding publicity reflects the Daimler Trucks organisation’s hopes for the new Cascadia in the Australian market. This is expected to be a game changer for the Freightliner brand, which has been treading water since it was announced the Argosy model was to be discontinued. The Coronado and Columbia models have had limited success in the last ten years and as Argosy came to the end of its useable life, sales dwindled.
Freightliner are looking to get a major boost from the Cascadia, which takes conventional trucks in Australia to a new level. These models can match, toe-to-toe the sophisticated European prime movers which have been eating into the Freightliner market share.
Although the basic Cascadia model has been around for some time, it was not until the substantial update of the model in 2016 that it really met its potential in the US market. The update saw the Cascadia design become a cutting edge technology leader, with excellent fuel consumption, sophisticated safety systems in a package which has now captured 40 per cent of the US heavy duty prime mover market.
When it was first released in 2007 the Cascadia was a left hand drive only truck and Daimler had no viable way of making the adaptation to our market. However, by the time the updates in 2014 and 2016 came though, a revised layout could be adapted to a steering wheel on either side. As a result Freightliner hatched plans to bring the new model to our shores.
In a five year project Freightliner, here in Australia, has taken what was a successful truck in the US and gone through a development process which not only brings this truck design to Australia, but also brings the whole truck development process within Freightliner back up to date.