MT. HOLLY, NC. At a new conference at its assembly plant here yesterday, Freightliner Trucks announced the start of production of its new Business Class M2 medium-duty line and debuted two new M2 models—optional extended cab and crew cab versions.

Freightliner said production of its Class 5-8 M2 trucks began initially in late June with 106-in BBC models. Production of those with extended or crew cab options will start in the fourth quarter. The OEM also noted that 100- and 112-in. BBC M2 models will become available next year.

The Business Class M2 is succeeding the manufacturer’s original Business Class line, introduced in 1991. According to Mark Lampert, senior vp- sales & marketing, Freightliner will continue to produce “various” original Business Class models as the new ones are brought on line.

“The extended cab and crew cab are important additions to the line because of the productivity and efficiency advantages they bring to customers,” said Lampert.

M2s with extended cabs feature a 132-in. BBC, 26 inches longer than standard 106-in. BBC “day cab” models. The extended cab can seat up to four persons and is aimed at towing, emergency rescue and ambulance, and specialty hauling applications. It can be ordered with or without rear jump seats that face forward and fold up when not in use. And in place of rear seats, a 24-in. wide bunk that meets DOT specs is available to provide sleeper accommodations.

The crew cab boasts a 154-in. BBC for even more passenger room—it can seat up to six, including the driver. The crew cab is designed for fire and rescue, moving van, RV hauling and various service applications. Crew seating options include air-suspended or non-suspended seats and bench seats for either front or rear. Both front and rear doors have been designed for improved crew entry and exit, especially helpful to fire and rescue workers wearing bulky gear.

Standard power for all M2 models is the Mercedes-Benz MBE900 (4- or 6-cyl.) diesel. Caterpillar engines are available optionally and transmission choices offered are Allison automatics and Mercedes-Benz and Eaton Fuller manuals.