LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The Western Star booth is always a big attraction at the Mid-America Trucking Show, but seemingly more so this year with the addition of a new star attraction.
Optimus Prime, the lead truck from the movie Transformers, was on display at the show. Western Star has been working with Paramount for the past year to redefine the star of Transformers, which will hit theatres June 27. But Ann Demitruk, director of marketing with Western Star Trucks, hinted some of the design elements will be featured on a new aerodynamic Western Star to be launched later this year.
“It gives you a cue to some of the styling looks we have for a new product coming down the pike,” Demitruk said during a tour of the booth. “Later this year, Western Star will be launching a fully aerodynamic product, an entirely new model.”
The new truck will be dubbed the model 5700.
Business has been brisk for Western Star to start 2014. While industry-wide demand for new trucks is up around 30%, Demitruk said Western Star’s net order intake is up 70%.
“We are really growing and on the move,” she said, noting the 4700 model is driving much of the demand. In fact, Daimler Trucks North America has reconfigured its Cleveland, N.C. truck plant to take on some production of Western Star trucks.
“So in addition to building Western Stars in Portland, we are now building Western Stars in Cleveland, N.C.,” Demitruk said.
Also showcased at the booth was a 4900 model Western Star allowed fans to design via social media. More than 16,000 Facebook votes were cast, allowing fans to weigh in on everything from the model to the interior and exterior colours. When the show wrapped up, the truck was donated to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which will drive it to various association events over the next two years.
Other announcements from Western Star included: a larger, 23-gallon DEF tank is now available on the 4700; Meritor’s electronic stability control is available on all Western Star 4900 trucks; the Eaton UltraShift Plus has been expanded to include the 4800 model; and Detroit’s Virtual Technician remote diagnostics platform is now standard on 4700, 4800 and 4900 models with Detroit’s GHG14-compliant engines.