Steep Appalachian Terrain No Match for Product Distributors, Inc.

DD16-Equipped Western Star powers through rugged West Virginia mountains

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Fort Mill, S.C. – When it comes to hauling equipment, Product Distributors, Inc., faces steep challenges every day. Founded 40 years ago, the Little Birch, West Virginia-based company transports construction materials to destinations throughout the mountainous Appalachian state.

“We haul heavy loads through 4,500 feet of the toughest roads and steepest grades in West Virginia,” said Derek Long, chief financial officer of Product Distributors, Inc. “In this type of environment, it’s a constant challenge to deliver on time.”

Founded in 1971 as a small automotive service, Product Distributors transported auto parts, tires, and other materials to better serve its customers. When the mining boom hit in the 1980’s the company saw a new business opportunity and began to haul mining equipment. The venture proved to be successful and Product Distributors quickly established itself as a reliable transportation company, expanding its transportation services into new areas.

“Over the past three decades, we’ve hauled everything from gravel to diesel fuel, said Long. “We’ve utilized every type of truck along the way – from heavy-duty, off-road vehicles to small on-highway vehicles.”

Product Distributors purchased its first Western Star truck in 1999 – a 4900EX with a Stratosphere® sleeper – to haul mining equipment through the difficult climbs. And in May of 2010, the company added its newest Western Star truck – a 2011 Detroit Diesel DD16®-equipped 4900EX – to support its current venture of transporting construction materials throughout central West Virginia.

Sleek Style, Rugged Performance

In close collaboration with Western Star engineers, Product Distributors spec’d their new 4900EX to haul maximum payload, yet still meet highway regulatory standards. Equipped with lightweight drums and single rear aluminum hubs, the truck is light but tough enough to tackle West Virginia’s steep grades and craggy roads.

“We were very impressed with the customer focus we received,” said Long. “From the representative at our local dealership to the Western Star engineers who helped design components to suit our unique needs, each person was there every step along the way.”

In addition to its robust design, Product Distributors’ Western Star truck boasts a range of custom features. The roomy cab is outfitted with sleek, real wood cabinets, gold-trimmed dials, plush carpeting and cushioned leather seats. An automatic transmission and Sirius XM Radio further add to the comfortable interior – a bonus for drivers who work long shifts.

The 4900EX’s exterior is also an impressive sight on the road with its electric blue cab and gleaming chrome finish.

“Heavy haul customers are seasoned drivers whose experience has taught them to expect the highest standards from their equipment,” said Ann Demitruk, director of marketing, Western Star. “Western Star is a natural fit because it gives them the kind of quality and workmanship they demand.”

Added Long, “We love our Western Star trucks because they’re designed for functionality and for driver comfort and pride. Having a reliable truck and a powerful engine is important for us to get the job done on time.”

Serious Power

Product Distributors prides itself on its commitment to customers, which is why it relies heavily on the dependability and performance of its trucks.

The 4900EX is equipped with a 2011 Detroit Diesel DD16® engine – the most powerful Detroit Diesel engine offering to date. The DD16 features a robust core design, amplified common rail fuel system (ACRS™), turbo compounding technology and superior power curves. The engine also features multi-torque power ratings up to 2,050 lb-ft torque and 600 horsepower, ideal for heavy hauling.

“We have one regular route that takes us 68 miles through central West Virginia to the eastern mountains. It’s steep, rough terrain on a narrow two-lane highway with a nine-mile stretch that features grades of up to nine percent,” said Long. “You really need a powerful engine to get through the route. We love driving our Western Star because that powerful DD16 engine blows other drivers out of the water. It’s a good feeling.”

In addition to its proven power, the DD16 has delivered improved fuel economy, lower operation costs and reduced maintenance due in part to the engine’s BlueTec® Emissions Technology.

“I’ve seen up to a half-mile per gallon fuel mileage improvement over previous models,” said Long. “That’s impressive because our heavy loads combined with these steep roads usually cut our fuel efficiency. With the DD16, we’ve experienced the opposite.”

Continued Long: “Western Star and Detroit Diesel have hit the nail on the head. This is the best truck and engine combination in the market today. We outperform every other truck on the road to keep our customers coming back.”

For more information, and to find a local dealer, visit or call 866-850-STAR (7827).

Western Star Trucks Sales, Inc., headquartered in Fort Mill, S.C., produces heavy-duty custom trucks for long-haul and vocational applications. Western Star is a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America LLC. Daimler Trucks North America produces and markets Class 4-8 vehicles and is a Daimler company, the world's leading commercial vehicle manufacturer.

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