The wholly owned DaimlerChrysler subsidiary Freightliner LLC, based in Portland, Oregon, recently gave the Mercedes-Benz Unimog its first showing in the North American market at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas, and at the “Fire and Rescue” trade fair and will sell the implement carrier from the new U 400 series in the USA and Canada starting next year.
The Unimog will be marketed in the US and Canada under the brand name Freightliner, except for the fire-fighting model, which will be sold under the brand name of Freightliner’s wholly owned subsidiary American La France.
In the USA and Canada, the Unimog’s applications will centre chiefly on forest fire-fighting, with a fire-fighting body by American Freightliner subsidiary American LaFrance, disaster management and hobby and recreational use. Other areas will be municipal services, the energy sector and road/railer applications.
The North American roll-out will start in spring 2001 with the Unimog U400, which will initially be offered in the version presented in Europe at the start of 200. A version specifically tailored to the North American market will follow in spring 2002. Freightliner is billing the new U 400 series as a “tough, compact vehicle, proven worldwide”.
“The Unimog opens up new dimensions in the North American market for off-road four-wheel drive implement carriers”, says Jim Hebe, President and CEO of Freightliner LLC.
The Unimog implement carriers for the North American market will, like the rest of the range, be built at the DaimlerChrysler production plant in Gaggenau, North Baden. In order to meet licensing regulations and customer requirements in North America, numerous vehicle modifications are necessary, chiefly in the area of the cab, brake system and engine/electronics. An appropriate vehicle diagnostic system also had to be developed.