5700XE, we hardly knew ye.
Western Star last year shelved its aero tractor 5700XE after just a six-year run – following a debut that included a stint as Autobot leader Optimus Prime, no less – and will turn to a new model in its quest to carve out a niche among small fleets and owner-operators.
That new model, the 57X, comes with heavy doses of technology – something seemingly at odds with the business models of the two groups Western Star hopes to capture. Small trucking companies and independents are the principal buyers of used equipment and often shun newer technologies, largely writing them off as gimmicky expensive gadgets for "steering wheel holders."
But, with its 57X, Western Star is going all-in, recognizing that attitudes around technology can be shaped (or reshaped) by how it performs and what it does for the operator.
"Features that make a driver's life better, they are more likely to adopt," Detroit Product Marketing Manager Len Copeland said, noting that complaints about technology most often come when drivers haven’t been properly trained in how to use it, or leave one fleet for another that uses a similar but different solution. “Safety systems are more important to owner-operators than maybe any other customer. You see billboards everywhere wanting to hear from you if you've been in an accident with a truck. Technology in some cases can eliminate the accident, or at least lessen the impact and the expense."
[Related: Western Star debuts new on-highway truck, 57X]
Western Star has put its safety tech stack – the Detroit Assurance platform – front and center of 57X.