LOUISVILLE, KY – Freightliner LLC plans to start production of its new Business Class M2 line of medium duty trucks this June, while re-starting production of its Coronado Class 8 tractor that was originally introduced back in June 2000.

Speaking at the 2002 Mid America Trucking Show, Freightliner senior vp of sales and marketing Mark Lampert said the company's new M2 medium-duty line will be rolled out in stages over the next year and a half. The first M2 vehicle will be a 106-in. BBC model, which goes into limited production in June, followed by extended and crew cab configurations by the end of the year. Longer 110 and 112-in. M2 models will be produced starting in 2003.

He added that the M2 represents some $250 million worth of research and development investment by Freightliner. Since Freightliner introduced the Business Class 5-7 line in 1991, the company has grown its medium-duty market share from 6.9-23.4%, a trend Lampert said Freightliner hopes will continue with the M2.

Freightliner's Coronado Class 8 tractor will also be ramped up for production in June, added Lampert. The company originally introduced the Coronado two years ago, but suspended production in the fourth quarter of 2000 as new truck sales plummeted. Lampert said the vehicle is aimed at the owner-operator market, with a 70-inch raised roof and mid-roof sleeper versions, along with a day cab configuration.