Fran Matso Lysiak/Transport Topics

PHOENIX — Western Star Trucks held a 50th anniversary event here on April 27, showcasing its custom trucks for highway and vocational applications and saluting its history rooted in Canada.

Western Star was launched in 1967 by the White Motor Co. to handle the rugged demands of logging customers in the West and had its origins in Kelowna, British Columbia.

The company is “primarily a vocational truck company, and we see that as having a lot of opportunity for us as an organization and a great place for us to be able to build on our roots and to grow,” said Kelley Platt, president of Western Star Trucks.

Western Star, headquartered in Portland, Ore., is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America.

During the event, news reporters enjoyed ride-and-drives of Western Star vocationals, including dump trucks and cement mixers and its on-highway trucks, including the 5700XE. 

Daimler Trucks acquired Western Star in 2000. Platt said that the engineering to introduce new models (the 4700 and 5700, both since 2011) and bringing in the Daimler powertrain (the Detroit engine, transmission and axles) were two of the most significant changes that took Western Star trucks “to a whole different level.”

She said 2016 was a great year for Western Star, noting the company was “the only OEM that retail sold more trucks in 2016 than they did in 2015.”

“We see that continuing to grow,” Platt said. “Our market share grew from 2.6% in the U.S. and Canada in 2015 to 3.4% in 2016.”

Peter Arrigoni, Western Star’s vice president of sales, said that the company’s overall Class 8 retail market share is higher in Canada than in the United States. “Canada has a very well-developed distribution network and, obviously, we have our roots there, so we have very good representation and very good brand equity in Canada,” he said.  

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