Western Star Trucks
|Founded||Cleveland, Ohio, United States (1967)|
|Headquarters||Portland, Oregon, United States|
|Martin Daum, President, CEO
Jürgen Kritschgau, CFO, Finance and Control
Roger M. Nielsen, COO
Kelley Platt, General Manager/President
|Owner||Daimler Trucks North America|
Western Star Trucks Sales, Inc., commonly designated Western Star, is an American truck manufacturer headquartered in Portland, Oregon, United States and a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America, in turn a wholly owned subsidiary of the German Daimler AG.
In 1967 White Motor Company started the Western Star division as White Western Star with a new plant at Kelowna, British Columbia, sharing headquarters with White in Cleveland, Ohio. By 1980, White was insolvent, despite importing Semon E. "Bunkie" Knudsen, son of General Motors legend Semon Knudsen, and President of Ford Motor Company in 1969–70. Volvo AB acquired the U.S. assets of the company. Bow Valley Resource Services and Nova, two energy-related companies based in Calgary, Alberta, purchased the Canadian assets, including the Kelowna plant, and the WesternStar nameplate and product range.
In 1990, Western Star Trucks was purchased by Australian businessman Terrence 'Terry' Peabody, who turned around the company's fortunes over the next 10 years, and in 2000 sold it to DaimlerChrysler where it became part of the Freightliner Trucks division.
In 2002, Western Star production was moved to a plant in Portland, Oregon. 4700, 4800, 4900 and 6900 model trucks are still manufactured in the Portland Truck Plant. In May 2015, the Daimler Trucks North America plant in Cleveland, North Carolina began to build 4700 and 4900 models, as well as assemble all new semi tractor 5700XE models.
Western Star produces a range of Class 8 commercial vehicles for both highway and off-road use. Western Star specializes in trucks tailored to customer specifications. Every Western Star is built with the same heavy duty all-steel cab and offers several sleeper box sizes, with chassis lengths of up to 486 inches depending on model. Five interior packages are available and sleepers can be trimmed to specifications. Engines, transmissions, axles, suspensions and brakes are available in a number of configurations. Engines used include Caterpillar, Cummins, and Detroit Diesel. Western Star also produces right-hand drive trucks for the Australian, New Zealand and South African markets.
Though styled in a conventional fashion and often used in off-road applications, Western Star trucks are also available with anti-lock brakes, traction and stability control, and other modern safety features in order to remain competitive and meet DOT regulations.
Western Star currently has five model families:
- The 4700 Series is Western Star's entry-level model and is available in truck and tractor applications, both with a 110-inch (2,790 mm) BBC. Its internal code name was "Zodiac". In vocational applications, its engineering helps reduce upfitting time and costs for body builders, and can be outfitted for virtually any vocational application. For on-highway use, the 4700 is available only in a daycab configuration and is primarily used in short haul applications.
- The 4800 Series offers more powerful engine options than the 4700 and features a 109-inch (2,770 mm) BBC. Western Star provides the truck as a bare chassis and cab, which can be fitted with a dump body, mixer, tank, crane, or other structure by a bodybuilding company as desired by the customer. The factory-installed twin steer option is also popular on this model for dump and mixer applications. Tractor versions are also available.
- The 4900 Series is the most common Western Star model and features a 123-inch (3,120 mm) BBC. This is a multi-use truck/tractor which is targeted at a variety of industries. The truck can be built as a tractor with fifth wheel, bare chassis for a bodybuilder to outfit, or a lowered-cab model (Low Max) for auto hauling. The 4900 is available in five configurations including Extreme Duty and Twin Steer.
- The 5700XE is Western Star's newest model and first truly aerodynamic truck. The XE stands for Extreme Efficiency. Launched in 2015, it is currently designed only for on-highway applications. The truck features a 126-inch (3,200 mm) BBC, a set back front axle position and is the first Western Star to ride on a Daimler Trucks North America corporate chassis. It can be specified as a daycab or as a sleeper.
- The 6900 Series is the highest capacity model built by Western Star and is designed for off-highway vocations including logging, mining, and other similar applications. Available in Extreme Duty and Twin Steer configurations (XD and TS), each features a 141-inch (3,580 mm) BBC and can be recognized both by its size as well as by its flat, squared front fenders.
Western Star sold a lightly altered version of the White High Cabover as the Western Star Cabover in the 1980s and early 1990s. They also produced a licensed version of the Iveco VM 90 for the Canadian Forces during the 1990s, called the LSVW.
In popular media
Multiple Western Star trucks have been featured in films, including: A Western Star 5700 Phantom Custom is used as the new disguise for Optimus Prime in Transformers: Age of Extinction and The Last Knight as well as a Western Star 4900SF tow truck is used as the Decepticon Onslaught in Transformers: The Last Knight. A Western Star 4800 is used as the Green Goblin Truck in Maximum Overdrive.
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