The End of the Argosy

The year 2020 will see the end of the Argosy, Freightliner’s highly successful cabover will be phased out in two years time as the company moves onto another era. The change will take place around the same point at which Daimler Trucks will introduce the Freightliner Cascadia to the Australian market.

Introduced to the Australian truck market back in 1999, the Argosy was an adaptation of a US cabover for the Australian market. It was brought in as a direct competitor to the Kenworth K100 and achieved some impressive sales figures over the years.

The growth of the B-double as the combination of choice for much of Australian trucking helped US prime movers with their set forward axles, allowing them to pull a B-double set with a front axle mass below 6.5 tonnes, but also provide a full load of fuel and a larger sleeper cabin space than was viable for the European manufacturers and for conventional prime movers.

It was the combination of a sizeable cabin with a North American driveline which fuelled a lot of the early success of the Argosy and saw it go toe to toe with the K100 and its successors over the years.

Setbacks for the Argosy began with the US truck buyers abandoning the cabover as a truck choice. The model was dropped from the US market and continued to be sold in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

The decision, by Freightliner in the the US, to end its relationship with Cummins, for a period, was also a problem for the Australian arm of the company. As we well know the world was divided, at the time, between Cummins, Detroit and Caterpillar.

The return of Cummins as a second choice along with the Detroit DD15 did bring back some sales for the Argosy, but the lower level of development dollars available to a truck not sold in the big numbers of the US truck market did hamper further modernisation of the model. This was followed by a period where the European prime mover started to increase its level of penetration in the Australian B-double prime mover market.

The decision to end sales of the Argosy became easier to make for Daimler in Australia with the success of the new generation Mercedes Benz Actros models, riding the wave of increasing European truck sales. With the Argosy out of the picture, truck customers entering a Daimler dealership in late 2020 will have a simple choice, for a cabover there’s a Mercedes Benz and for a conventional, there’s the brand new Cascadia from Freightliner.

“For nearly two decades, the Argosy has been a fantastic model for Freightliner,” said Stephen Downes, Freightliner Australia Pacific Director. “It is fitting that we will say goodbye to the venerable Argosy in the same year that we welcome the cutting-edge Cascadia, which will signal the beginning of an exciting new era for Freightliner in Australia.”

The Argosy will be available for the next two years and is still fitted with either a Detroit DD15 or an X15 Cummins. With its disappearance from the Australian truck market, we will also see the end of the truck’s famous automatic fold out staircase up into the cabin, a boon for the older drivers in the fleet.