Western Star updates 4700, looks to grow vocational presence

YOUNTVILLE, Calif. – Western Star wants a bigger bite of the vocational truck pie, and has enhanced its 4700 model to improve the driver and body builder experience.

The vocational truck market represents about 30% of the overall NAFTA Class 8 truck model, but for Western Star, it represents about 70% of its volumes. Western Star parent company Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) is the overall Class 8 market share leader, but holds only 14% of the vocational market, meaning there’s room to grow.

DTNA aftermarket boss (left) Stefan Kurschner and Western Star president David Carson discuss the aftermarket needs for vocational truck buyers.

“We are getting closer to our customers and understanding their specific needs,” David Carson, Western Star president, said during a press event here.

The market remains strong, he said, adding “There’s lots of ordering going on.”

Carson attributed this to the “tremendous amount of capital” that has already been allocated to infrastructure projects across North America.

“We’re optimistic,” he said of the vocational truck market. “We don’t have a crystal ball, and as things change in the regional economy and global economy, we could see some of that cyclicality come into play.”

Enhancements to the Western Star 4700 were aimed at improving the body upfit process and the driver experience. New safety features have also been added, something Carson said vocational customers are just starting to demand.

“Vocational customers used to not be interested in paying for those features, or they believed since most of the time they’re off-road they didn’t need them,” he said of active safety features. “But with consolidation in different segments and bigger businesses buying smaller regional companies, they’re quite focused on risk management and safety features and want to ensure they have the best technology available on those vocational trucks.”

An enhanced Western Star 4700.

Samantha Parlier, vice-president of marketing and product strategy with Western Star, explained some of the enhancements to the 4700, including an upgraded electrical system and interior.

“Frankly, the most important thing about a vocational truck is that it can be upfit to do its job,” she said. “You can have the toughest truck and if you can’t put a body on it, it’s useless.”

An all-new electrical system simplifies the body upfit process, and a new ground wire stud was added under the hood. Optional transition plates on the frame rail give the frame more strength to withstand the force put on it by a cement mixer.

The area where the pump is mounted on a mixer truck is free of air tanks and other components, so body builders don’t have to relocate parts before adding the body. The Cummins X12 engine shaves off about 600 lbs depending on other options, which adds about 1/8th of a yard of concrete producing capabilities.

“If you’re making eight or 10 turns a day, it really starts to add up,” Parlier noted.

The Wabco OnGuard collision mitigation system is available, and an aggressively sloped hood provides good visibility for the driver on job sites. A Third Eye camera system is also available, giving the driver 360-degree visibility around the truck.

The interior features an updated dash, with LCD screen and now USB power port availability. The engine brake controls have been moved to the steering wheel from the dash and more controls are accessible on the steering wheel.


James Menzies is editor of Today's Trucking. He has been covering the Canadian trucking industry for more than 18 years and holds a CDL. Reach him at james@newcom.ca or follow him on Twitter at @JamesMenzies.

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