Freightliner debuts new looks

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – This year’s Mid-America Trucking Show saw Freightliner executives unveil several new interior and exterior options to entice looks-conscious O/Os and drivers.

Among the company’s new offerings were two new chrome accessory packages for the Classic, Classic XL and FLD SD truck models, available separately or together.

The two trim packages, one of them interior and the other exterior, incorporate products from Panelite, and are factory-installed options.

The interior bright chrome trim package includes: glove box cover, door kick panel, shift cover, windshield post cover, side window post covers, fuse box cover with Freightliner Trucks logo, upholstery buttons, lower passenger-side window trim, SleeperCab vent trim and dash coverings including heating vents, instrument panel and heater controls, along with other dash trim.

The exterior bright chrome trim package includes: fender guards, headlight visors, bug shield with handle cut out and window trim.

According to Bruce Smalley, general manager of marketing and strategy for Freightliner Trucks, benefits of the new bright chrome accessory packages include improved vehicle styling, increased truck resale value and pride in ownership, “not to mention turning a few heads.”

“If customers want to draw attention to their vehicle, they’ll get it by spec’ing these chrome trim packages,” Smalley explained. “These two new accessory packages are truly eye-catching and, when added on to an already great-looking Freightliner truck, they really set the vehicle apart from all others on the road.”

A new interior option was also on the menu, namely an enhanced Driver’s Lounge for the Century Class S/T, Coronado and Columbia Class 8 truck models at the Mid-America Trucking Show. The lounge’s upgrades were designed to offer a more generous work space with a reliable and easy-to-use support system, allowing for driver comfort and convenience while working in the vehicle.

“The enhanced Driver’s Lounge was designed to address the needs of the long-haul driver who spends a substantial amount of time in his or her vehicle,” said Mark Lampert, senior vice-president, sales and marketing, Freightliner Trucks. “Driver comfort is a major factor in maintaining satisfied customers and happy drivers, so we focused our design efforts on offering a comfortable and spacious work environment for those Freightliner Trucks customers.”

The unit folds away when the table is lowered and stowed away, completing the middle-area of the lower bunk. Cushions are then placed over the table to restore the bunk and bed area. Access to the storage compartment underneath the bunk is not compromised. And by pulling a handle underneath the front lip of the table, it can easily be locked in the up and down position for stability and safety. A gas-assist cylinder helps lift the table into the upright and locked position.

Legroom isn’t a problem because the support pedestal is located close to the back wall, leaving room under the table. The corners of the tabletop are angled off, enabling easier entry and exit to the seating area. And a lamp is mounted on the back wall of the cab to illuminate the smooth and seamless surface of the table.

Last but not least, Freightliner execs introduced a new instrument cluster as standard for the Freightliner Century Class S/T and Coronado heavy-duty vehicles.

The new cluster was designed to enhance reliability and provide better gauge readability, while offering easier maintenance and increased serviceability, said company officials. It uses a single-unit circuit board design for greater reliability, and has eight gauges, including a tachometer and speedometer. It also has the capacity to expand to 12 gauges. All gauges, except for air pressure, are digitally controlled.

Long-life LED backlighting, is also included on the new instrument cluster. Warning indicators for low oil pressure, high coolant temperature, low fuel level and high transmission temperature are included in the gauges for faster evaluation of system issues. These warning indicators also use LED backlighting.

For better visibility, all gauges in the instrument cluster have 270-degree movement, which displays gauge values with better resolution when compared to a 90-degree movement.

The Driver Message Centre, which displays essential operational information, includes a 10-key keypad to select display screens indicating fuel consumption, incoming messages from communication equipment, outside air temperature, warnings and alerts. In addition, when the vehicle is stopped, trip, fuel, engine and diagnostic information can be displayed. The Driver Message Centre incorporates a new LCD dot matrix display with larger letters for easier readability.

Each instrument gauge on the cluster is individually removable, allowing for easier service and decreased maintenance costs. Gauges can be added to the cluster without reprogramming. Additionally, the individual gauges can be specified with chrome or black bezels.

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