In news that just about everyone in the Australian truck industry knew was inevitable and realised would have to come one day, Freightliner Australia has announced its current Argosy model will not be replaced and will be withdrawn from the market in early 2020 to be replaced by the Cascadia.
Daimler has worked hard to ensure confidence in the Argosy, knowing that if it announced its demise too early, buyer support may have flowed away to other ‘US’ brands or to some rival Euro cabovers, leaving them with a possible surplus of Argosys to dispose of. However, now with around 18 months till its replacement is launched, the company clearly feels confident in its stock levels and the ability to smoothly transition to a 100 per cent conventional future.
Like its rivals from the Volvo Group, Daimler will split its product strategy relying on the European sourced Mercedes trucks to handle the cabover market, leaving the Freightliner brand to meet demand for conventionals.
Freightliner in a statement today said the much-loved American sourced cab-over model would depart Australian showrooms in early 2020, to dovetail with the launch of its all-new Cascadia model.
It was left to Freightliner’s Australia Pacific director Stephen Downes to announce the death notice for Argosy while also delivering an informal and fond obituary.
“For nearly two decades, the Argosy has been a fantastic model for Freightliner,” said Downes.
“It is fitting that we will say goodbye to the venerable Argosy in the same year that we welcome the cutting-edge Cascadia, which will signal the beginning of an exciting new era for Freightliner in Australia.”
Argosy was launched in Australia in late 1999 and quickly developed a strong following with customers thanks to its combination of a spacious cabover design and its muscular American heritage and power.
The Argosy is still available with the choice of Detroit 15-litre DD15 or X15 Cummins 15-litre in-line six-cylinder engines and still enjoys reasonable demand.
However with Australia and New Zealand now the only markets in the world where the Argosy is sold, the volume numbers clearly didn’t add up to a viable equation.
Argosy has not been sold in the US market for close to 14 years while the only other market where the Freightliner cabover was sold, South Africa, has not seen a new Argosy since 2014.
Cascadia, the truck that will take over Argosy’s front line role in the Freightliner arsenal, is the best where Daimler is currently in the midst of a program to develop a right hand drive version in time for its launch here in early 2020.
Argosy has not been without its issues in Australia with a variety of niggling issues here over the 20 years it has been sold here including problems with the innovative swing out steps, dash rattles and other minor items, but Daimler has worked hard to fix them and the evolution of the argosy has helped win the truck’s now strong reputation.
In its statement Daimler says ‘the current Argosy is a striking example of continuous improvement, with key changes being made in response to customer feedback’.
Daimler points to the inclusion of an Australian-manufactured dashboard skin to improve refinement levels, the reinforcement of the fold-out steps and the recent introduction of optional features such as blind-spot monitoring systems as some of the improvements it has made.
While it has announced its demise Freightliner says it is not finished with improving the Argosy and even in the 18 months shelf life it haws left in Australia it will launch some new features including a new ‘down-speeding’ Eaton UltraShift option which id says it will introduce soon for Detroit DD15 engine equipped versions which will deliver a significant fuel economy improvement.