NOT JUST HYBRIDS

Rolf Lockwood

November 5, 2008 Vol. 4, No. 23

I’M GOING TO GIVE HYBRIDS A REST for a bit. Well, almost. Can’t avoid them entirely. Honestly, I think this newsletter has been in danger of becoming too focused on that corner of our hardware world, so my promise of more info from the Hybrid Truck Users Forum this time out is an empty one. I’ll come back to it, but for now I’ll deal with just one or two pieces of hybrid news. In a minute.

The thing is, I find new technology fascinating in general, and there’s so much work being done on the hybrid front that I find it mighty hard to avoid. I feel a sort of duty to keep folks informed of what’s coming down the pike, and always will, but there’s a lot happening in the mainstream too. Including some bad news…

SO LET’S START WITH THE NEWS that the Sterling brand is about to expire. Pretty sad stuff, not least because it means the closure of a plant just a hundred miles or so down the highway from where I slave over the keyboard day in and day out. Sad too because I liked the heavy-duty truck that Ford called the HN80 before Freightliner waved its checkbook around. Re-named the A and the L Line at Sterling, it’s an honest truck that handles awfully well, or so I thought after a lengthy road test I did a few years back. I liked the cab too, roomy and straightforward. Not the most modern machine out there by any means, but well suited to a vocational role.

In fact, a bunch of vocational buyers will likely be lost without it. And what does the Freightliner family have to replace it? The M2, it seems, though you won’t get one through a Sterling dealer.

Which raises the big question, namely what happens to those dealers? Many of them were dualled with Western Star, and the vast majority of them won’t survive on Star sales alone. It’s a conundrum for sure, and I wish them well.

Rolf Lockwood

Rolf Lockwood is editor emeritus of Today's Trucking and a regular contributor to Trucknews.com.

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