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Medium-duty roundup – Part Two

TORONTO, Ont. - This is the conclusion of a two-part look at what's new for 2006 in the medium-duty marketplace....


TORONTO, Ont. – This is the conclusion of a two-part look at what’s new for 2006 in the medium-duty marketplace.

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Sterling

Sterling officials say most of the company’s attention has been directed towards 2007 and the new emission standards.

The new, cleaner, greener engines will require the trucks to feature revamped exhaust, electrical and in-cab items as well, points out Matt Stevenson, new product marketing manager with Sterling.

However, he adds there have been some recent enhancements to the company’s Acterra.

For instance, the truck is now available in all-wheel-drive configurations straight from the factory. And the company’s crew cab has been well-received by the industry, he says.

“We’ve seen some good initial success on the Acterra crew cab, being one of the largest in the industry,” says Stevenson, adding the extra headroom and interior room is a key benefit.

The fire and emergency vehicle markets have been among the first to embrace the new crew cab, he adds.

The Acterra can now be spec’d with a proprietary automated manual two-pedal transmission, built by Mercedes.

Sterling medium-duties continue to be offered with a variety of powertrains including the Cat C7, Mercedes-Benz 900 and Cummins ISC.

Stevenson says Sterling medium-duty trucks incorporate the company’s heavy-duty cab providing good visibility thanks to the sloped hood.

Coupled with a 55-degree wheel cut, the truck is easy to maneuver in tight quarters while making inner city deliveries, he says.

“It’s a pretty versatile truck,” Stevenson says. “It can be used as a simple pickup and delivery Class 6 to a baby Class 8 tandem dump truck.”

Freightliner

Freightliner has gotten serious about the medium-duty vocational market over the past year, increasing its offerings and heavily promoting its Business Class M2 106Vs as a vocational workhorse.

Among the new options for medium-duty customers is an all-wheel-drive Business Class M2 106 and 106V.

The front drive axle option is a part-time system ideal for use in fire and rescue, utility, snowplow and municipal service applications.

The system can be activated when additional traction is required and it can be engaged at or below 10 mph or while the vehicle is coasting on a level grade, the company says

“Our Business Class M2 product line was specifically designed to tackle tough vocational jobs,” said Alex Bernasconi, vice-president of sales, Freightliner Trucks. “When paired with our quality vehicles, this new front drive axle option meets our customers’ needs for increased traction and mobility during off-road and slippery conditions.”

The front drive axles are available in 4×4 and 6×6 configurations on the M2 106 and 106V, which can be spec’d with MBE900 or Cat C7 engines. It’s offered at 12,000, 14,000 or 16,000-lb ratings and available with a variety of single and tandem rear suspensions including flat-leaf, spring or Freightliner’s own AirLiner suspensions.

Another new option on Freightliner medium-duties is a hood access latch, which allows drivers to check fluid levels without opening the entire hood. It’s particularly handy on trucks with front-end equipment, such as snowplows.

Peterbilt

Peterbilt’s 330 and its successor the 335 have consistently been winners of the JD Power and Associate’s Medium-Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study.

The 330 Class 6-7 conventional was introduced in 1994 with the 335 replacing it in 2004.

When unveiling the 335, Pete officials said it boasted improved styling and performance over its predecessor. Pretty much everything on the Pete 335 is new, since it was only introduced in 2004.

“Peterbilt’s impact on the medium-duty marketplace has been significant, and the new Model 335 will take our presence to even higher levels,” says Dan Sobic, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice-president announced when the truck was introduced.

“Its new design, with modern styling and distinctive Peterbilt features, provides customers with a premium image. Additionally, through new serviceability features, interior upgrades for better productivity and ergonomics, and improvements that help increase visibility and safety, our medium duty vehicle remains the industry’s value leader with low overall lifecycle costs.”

The Pete 335 is intended for the pickup and delivery, beverage, municipal, dump, crane, tanker, mixer and refuse and utility industries.

“The design of the Model 335 brings a more dynamic, contemporary look to Peterbilt’s medium-duty product. Yet, its styling is unmistakably Peterbilt with elements that optimize both form and function,” said Sobic.

“Side-air vents accent the hood while increasing engine air flow and cooling capacity. The sloping hood provides a sleeker appearance while reducing weight and improving visibility and durability. The polished crown, grille and bumper create a professional, lasting appearance while featuring practical strength and long life. The Model 335 was engineered to bring our medium duty customers the industry’s lowest cost of operation and ownership – and look good doing it.”

GMC

Customers looking for medium-duty cabover engines still have a couple of options, in GMC’s T- and W-Series tilt cabs.

The trucks are intended for urban pickup and delivery applications.

“It’s not a rural truck for farm usage,” points out Denis Comeau, GMC medium-duty specialist with Shaw GMC in Calgary.

Comeau says the truck’s visibility and maneuverability make it ideal for city driving, adding it can be configured with a dump body or flat deck. The trucks can also be equipped with a box for regular freight.

The demand for a cabover engine medium-duty has been steady, Comeau says. GMC’s crew cab makes it a popular work truck with plenty of interior room for a full work crew.


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