Freightliner LLC Supports Customer Demonstration Vehicles Equipped with MBE Engines

PORTLAND, Oregon, Freightliner LLC today announced it has initiated and is supporting a Customer Demonstration Program for dozens of heavy and medium-duty trucks equipped with Mercedes-Benz (MBE) 4000 and 900 engines. These units, equipped with EPA ’07 compliant MBE engines, are now in the process of being delivered to nearly 20 customers.

The 2007 MBE engines build on decades of designing, testing and manufacturing expertise and represent the next generation of these venerable powerplants. The MBE 4000 and MBE 900 continue to gain in popularity in the North American commercial vehicle market because of their durability, reliability and fuel economy.

With just a few months left before the new emissions standards take effect, the 2007 MBE 4000 and MBE 900 engines continue to prove themselves with more than 10.4 million reliability growth test miles accumulated. As a result, the engines continue to deliver the performance and fuel economy that fleets, owner/operators and vocational vehicle buyers have come to expect in these two engines. In addition to the MBE 4000 and MBE 900, Freightliner LLC is also set to launch a re-developed heavy-duty Series 60 in 2007.

Tightening Emissions Standards

The EPA has been reducing diesel emissions standards for the past 30 years. The latest regulations, which take effect in 2007, demand changes in both fuel and engine technology. The new regulations will dramatically reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) by 55 percent and particulate matter (soot and ash) by 90 percent. To achieve these new emissions targets, Freightliner LLC and Detroit Diesel are conducting one of the most aggressive and comprehensive testing programs in their history. When the MBE engines begin series production in January 2007, the MBE 4000 will have accumulated 6.0 million test miles and the MBE 900 will have racked up 8.5 million test miles – emphasizing the company’s commitment and dedication to launching durable and highly reliable engines into the marketplace.

“We continue to gather a tremendous amount of input from our engineering trucks and look forward to gaining more insight into how the engines are performing with the customer demonstration units for the MBE products,” said Dave Skupien, Program Manager for MBE Engines in NAFTA. “The overall program for the MBE engines is strong. We began the 2007 engine development program earlier than previous engine launches, dedicated more engineering resources, and drove more miles to validate the MBE 4000’s and MBE 900’s engine design. The result is industry-leading performance and reliability for 2007. We are proud to begin releasing these vehicles into the hands of our customers for trials. Once our customers test the products, we know they will be back to buy more in 2007.”

Larry Dutko, EPA ’07 Program Manager for Freightliner LLC and Skupien’s equivalent on the truck side, stresses that the close working relationship with Detroit Diesel provides a significant advantage in developing and testing the 2007 MBE engines.

“Similar to the success of the Series 60 Customer Demo Program, we’re really looking forward to the feedback we will receive from our customers, who will be relying on MBE 4000 and MBE 900 engines in their trucks. This type of feedback enables us to continually refine the engines and chassis so that service downtime for our customers is minimized. The close collaboration with Dave and the team at Detroit Diesel while we were running the Reliability Growth trucks provided us with some critical insight into where we could improve the total performance of these two engines. By securing this performance data early, we had time to implement changes and then validate that the expected improvements were achieved. We are now at the point where customer input is needed and we feel confident that our customers will also be pleased with the performance and reliability of our products,” said Dutko.

Freightliner LLC, headquartered in Portland, Oregon, is the leading medium- and heavy-duty truck manufacturer in North America. Freightliner produces and markets Class 3-8 vehicles and is a company of DaimlerChrysler, the world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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