Western Star Back Pack

Sneak peek: Western Star vocational cab ‘back pack’ extension

WINDSOR, ON. Recognizing that vocational truck users need crew cab space, but not necessarily more space for crew, Western Star will soon introduce a cab extension package that allows customers multiple options on the amount of room behind the front seats and, more importantly, the freedom to configure that extra room as they see fit.

John Tomlinson, XD and vocational sales manager for Western Star, provided Trailer/Body Builders with an exclusive preview of the IronFeather 24” Back Pack Cab Extension System this week at the Canadian Transportation Equipment Association Technology Conference here. Essentially, the back pack system is a variation of the Western Star extended cab crew cab, introduced earlier this year.

“The more I talked to customers, the more I found that many of them actually don’t use the crew and extended cabs for a crew seating, they use it for storage—but it’s the only thing they could get,” Tomlinson said. “So we took that and went back to the drawing table: Why don’t we just design something for storage?”

Indeed, Tomlinson tells of simply walking outside his home where utility workers had parked a truck equipped with a crew cab. He asked if he could look inside, and found the seating area covered with gear—tools, jackets, notebooks.

And he also tells of vocational customers who have fabricated their own work-arounds—though these perhaps were not up to OEM engineering standards. So, in keeping with Western Star’s recent innovation push to leverage its unique market position as a small, premium brand backed by Daimler, the world’s largest truck manufacturer, the company worked with Northside Industries (NSI) on a factory-built solution.

The system will be presented formally at the NTEA Work Truck Show next March.

“It was pretty easy for Western Star. We have an open-back cab, so all of our sleepers use a socket,” Tomlinson said. “We worked with the people that developed our crew cab, NSI, to develop this Back Pack system that uses our socket mounting. It snaps on right at the factory; we get CARCO to do the install.”

While a 12-in. storage extension and the full crew cab have been announced, the new Back Pack will be available in 12-in. and 24-in. configurations, or with a 36-in. extension that can be equipped as a rest cab sleeper, with a 3-person certified bench seat, or even with a work table.

Among the marketing bullet points:

• The extremely light weight storage units are fully customizable

• Clean design allows users to fabricate custom interiors; and

• The extension can be set up for light loads or heavy loads using rear chassis mounting.

The absence of a crew cab had kept Western Star “out of a lot markets,” Tomlinson noted, but customers have insisted the brand would be “in” with the option. And now Western Star has upped the ante: The IronFeather Crew Cab and the Back Pack extension are available with all Models including the big bore Detroit DD16 and Cummins ISX engine offerings. More to come in the spring.

Look for the November issue of TBB magazine for additional coverage of the CTEA Technology Conference.

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