The original classic Cascadia came out in the US back in 2007, but now the Cascadia is finally here, the truck has made its way to Australia, seeking to shake up the conventional truck market.
The Freightliner Cascadia has been launched in Australia 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.
This means that in the future when new technology, software or features are added to the design of the North American Cascadia it can be brought to market in Australia at the same time.
The lag time for design has been a problem for Freightliner in the past as it has struggled to maintain a cost effective development program for its offering in Australia. A case in point would be the Argosy, which although originally developed to be sold in the US, became an exclusively Australian and South African product. A global truck producer like Freightliner does not spend big research and development dollars on models which are only going to be sold into relatively small markets.
With the arrival of the Cascadia in Australia, we now have a game changer in the conventional market which is able to match sophisticated European prime movers in terms of electronic sophistication, safety systems and fuel-efficient driveline.
We are moving from the world in which conventional trucks are custom-built and using a lower level of technology, when compared to the top end of the European truck offering, to one where the conventional is every bit as smart and sophisticated as any other truck on the market. In fact, Freightliner here in Australia has and does claim that this is the most advanced truck on the market today.