Most of us have experienced the feeling that occurs when a favoured brand changes a product you love or rely on. Possibly they make an alteration to the ingredients. Or maybe a change to the sizes available or the hours of operation.
Kerikeri’s Dan and Debbie Carter experienced the trucking equivalent last year. Established in 2004, Carter’s Bulkhaul had steadily expanded from a single truck operation to a fleet of nine Freightliner Argosy’s and the recent addition of a single Mercedes-Benz Arocs.
Coinciding with the planning for their 11th truck was the news the long-running Argosy was being discontinued.
The Carters began to investigate its successor, the new Freightliner Cascadia. While it promised a new generation of technology and fuel efficiency, it seemed there would no longer be an 8x4 solution to suit Carter’s favoured 50MAX nine-axle truck and trailer combination.
“Freightliner suits the work we do. They are a reasonable price and a low tare weight which is important as most of our work is paid by the tonne,’’ says Dan Carter.
“There is a loyalty with Freightliner that goes back to when Trucks and Trailers Ltd were dealers. We had a good relationship with Mark [Wright] and before that with Don. They’d always been good, and we had used Keith Andrews Trucks in Whangarei for our service work.”
What do you do when your favourite model of truck is discontinued, but you still love the brand?
Dan Carter of Carter’s Bulk Haulage faced that conundrum when Freightliner announced the demise of the popular Argosy model. Even worse, when the Argosy’s replacement was announced it was a completely different truck style and not available in the New Zealand standard 8x4 configuration. Dan had a fleet of Argosy’s and had to consider how he was going to keep the preferred 50MAX nine-axle combination for his business.
The answer turned out to be a new Freightliner Cascadia set up with a third lift axle set in front of the drive axles. It makes for an interesting looking truck and it’s definitely not the norm seen on Kiwi roads.
Which is the reason we decided to test this set up and learn how it’s performing compared to its predecessor.
We catch up with the Cascadia at the Carter’s yard in Waipapa, north of Kerikeri for a run down to Marsden Point and a return leg back to Puketona, just south of Waipapa. I take over the driving just north of Whangarei at 50t all-up with a load of washed sand to deliver to Firth at Puketona.