Western Star has just made a major announcement—its new 5700XE model—and customers were involved in the designing. According to Michael Jackson, general manager, Western Star Trucks, “We started our interviews with customers with a series of focus groups at the Mid America Truck Show in 2009. We also conducted quantitative research of highway customers, working to identify top purchase drivers. In early 2010 we formed a team of a select group of dealer salespeople who have extensive experience selling into the highway segment.
“We investigated customer purchase intentions for traditional versus aero trucks, and it is clear that the market is shifting. Some customers who have long preferred traditional ‘long-nose’ styling, are now ready to move to more aerodynamic trucks.”
He goes on to say, “We did learn that many customers still want to feel pride in their truck and demand individual styling and a lot of brightwork so they don’t look like every other truck on the road. They want all of the benefits of aerodynamics and fuel efficiency while maintaining a uniquely styled truck. Fleet managers are concerned about driver retention and everyone wants safety and other features that contribute to a better driving experience. With our wide comfortable cab, and premium amenities, combined with the driver-friendly performance of the Detroit DT12 transmission, the 5700XE will deliver in all areas.”
Western Star has been leveraging new technology to help its customers operate trucks safely and cost-effectively. Jackson says that starts with the driver experience, the new 5700XE features a brand new steering wheel that has radio, bluetooth, marker interrupt and cruise control functions built into it. In addition, the new right-hand stalk (on the steering column) provides finger-tip control of the engine brake and gear selection for DT12 transmission. All of these features allow the driver to stay focused on the road while maintaining maximum control of the truck. The optional WABCO OnGuard lane departure warning, collision avoidance, enhanced roll stability and ABS systems all work closely with Detroit’s exclusive Intelligent Powertrain Management (IPM) to help make this Western Star safer.
Every 5700XE truck comes standard with the Detroit Virtual Technician feature. Virtual Technician collects data from the trucks engine and communicates directly to the driver and to our Customer Service Center. “Our experts are able to analyze the performance data from a customer’s vehicle to determine what the problem is, what caused it, when it needs to be fixed and where to go for service,” notes Jackson. “It then provides optional dealer service locations where parts and service will be available.”
When asked if customers would ever see a fully integrated Western Star model now that the Detroit transmission and axle are available, Jackson says, “Yes, in fact the 5700XE is exclusively powered by the Detroit DD13, DD15 and DD16 engines. In addition, the DT12 transmission is standard along with Detroit axles. The 5700XE also features the optional Detroit Integrated powertrain package which combines a downsped DD15, a direct drive DT12 transmission and specific rear gear ratios in 6×2 or 6×4 configuration to deliver the most fuel efficient powertrain package available.”
The name 5700XE says a lot about the truck. The “X” stands for the eXtreme quality, durability, and styling that Western Star customers expect. Jackson says, “Our trucks are built to be long-lasting, to work for our customers for many years. The ‘E’ stands for efficiency, which is a benefit of our proven Detroit powertrain combined with our unique, edgy styling. This truck combines outstanding fuel-efficiency and driver amenities and still feels like a ‘real’ truck.”
The all-new Western Star 5700XE is ideally suited to image conscious owner operators, and small to medium fleets or as a reward truck for large fleets. It provides the ride quality, reliability and easy serviceability Western Star customers have enjoyed for years while incorporating driver experience enhancers that fleet drivers demand for driver retention, says Jackson. The large, comfortable sleeper provides incredible noise and temperature insulation and features real wood cabinets and other comforts you won’t find anywhere else. This just might be THE answer to driver retention, he adds.
“While Western Star might be the last manufacturer to offer a purpose-built aerodynamic model, we were able to tap into the best,” notes Jackson. “As part of Daimler, we were able to put the most fuel-efficient powertrain available into this truck, yet retain the edgy styling and driver comfort that Western Star customers expect. Fleet drivers and independents have a lot of choices today, and there are a lot of ‘look alikes’ out there. When a driver gets behind the wheel of the 5700XE, they immediately notice they are in a ‘real truck’ with a ‘real truck’ feel. No truck on the road today can match the bold unique styling while providing top performing fuel-efficiency like the 5700XE can.”