Truck-Lite, a Falconer-based manufacturer, is beaming over a product decision by Freightliner Trucks, and the company plans to add jobs.
Freightliner has made Truck-Lite’s new custom light-emitting diode, or LED, headlights its factory standard for forward lighting on its Cascadia and Cascadia Evolution truck models. The heavy-duty headlights are also being offered as a retrofit option for Freightliner dealers across North America.
The Cascadia is Freightliner’s flagship truck model, with about 70,000 built annually, according to Truck-Lite.
And Freightliner said last month that it had received 15,000 orders for the 2014 Cascadia Evolution since the company began producing them in March.
“This is a huge deal,” said Katie Wynn, a Truck-Lite spokeswoman. “We’re the first manufacturer to give custom LED head- lamps to a major truck line.”
Truck-Lite expects to add jobs in Falconer as a result of Freightliner’s decision but has not yet announced how many positions. The company employs 330 in Falconer, among the 1,000 employees it has at facilities in the U.S. and around the globe. Truck-Lite makes lighting, switching and safety accessories, generating annual sales of about $500 million.
The company declined to estimate how many headlights it would produce for Freightliner, or how much additional revenue it expected to reap from Freightliner’s factory-standard designation.
Truck-Lite designed and engineered the custom LED headlight at its headquarters, and it makes the products in a clean room at the Chautauqua County plant.
The company has provided LED headlights to the U.S. military and received a favorable response, which led the company to adapt the products for the heavy-duty commercial truck market.
Freightliner in January offered the custom headlight as an aftermarket and factory-installed option for the Cascadia and Evolution models. Based on positive feedback, it decided to make the headlights a standard feature.
Freightliner said the LED headlights offer better nighttime visibility and enhanced safety, and reduce the draw on a vehicle’s electrical system.
Freightliner is a division of Daimler Trucks North America. Truck-Lite’s parent company is Penske Corp.