Landmark for Kenworth
The truck maker is on a roll, writesGRAHAMSMITH
AUSTRALIA’S leading truck manufacturer Kenworth has passed a major landmark with the production of its 40,000th locally built truck.
The truck, a T608, was handed over to Melbourne-based bulk transport company Kalari Transport at Kenworth’s Bayswater factory late last month.
Kenworth’s connection to Australia dates back to 1962 when the first trucks were imported, but took on a new dimension in 1971 when the company began producing trucks locally. It now builds around 3000 trucks a year at Bayswater.
The production of its 40,000th truck underlines Kenworth’s com- mitment to local production. The Bayswater plant is the only facility PACCAR has outside North America building Kenworth trucks.
Kenworth has long held the view it is necessary to build trucks locally to meet the unique demands of the Australian trucking industry.
With high loads, long distances between refuelling stations and service points and speed-limited running on rough roads, trucks in Australia are subjected to some of the harshest conditions in the world.
PACCAR Australia managing director Joe Rizzo, handing the keys of the distinctively painted prime mover to Bill Rothery, chairman and CEO of John Swire and Sons, parent company of Kalari Transport, said Australia provided a unique and challenging environment for the transport industry.
The 40,000th Kenworth has a GCM of 90,000 tonnes. It is powered by a Cummins Signature engine rated at 433kW and 2505Nm, matched to an 18-speed Fuller manual transmission, Meritor rear axles and Kenworth air suspension.
Kalari’s new truck will be a regular sight on the east coast, employed on Melbourne-Brisbane, Sydney-Melbourne and MelbourneAdelaide runs. Configured as a B-double pneumatic tanker, it will transport various materials, including powdered plastic, raw materials for the glass industry, such as feldspar, sands and limestone as well as fly ash for the concrete industry.
It will run up to 10,000km a week and before it is finished in Kalari colours it will have accumulated more than a million kilometres.
Rothery says the T608’s versatility is a major benefit.
‘‘We can have a T608 handling tanker work in Victoria today and with subtle changes we can send it to Queensland tomorrow where it could be hauling a road train,’’ he says.
‘‘That level of flexibility is invaluable and essential in our business.’’
Rothery also paid tribute to the reliability and durability of Kenworth trucks, saying they had outperformed every other truck the company has tried.
‘‘The current economic climate hasn’t changed the reasons we buy a Kenworth,’’ he says. ‘‘In fact, if anything, it has reinforced it.
‘‘In tough times you have to get value for money. You need to ensure that whatever you’re purchasing is going to give you good service and it’s not going to cost money in repairs.
‘‘Now more than ever, when we buy trucks, we are making a decision from a whole-of-life perspective.’’
It took 14 years for Kenworth to build its first 10,000 trucks and another 13 years to reach the 20,000 mark, but after that, things accelerated quickly. The 30,000th truck was delivered just four years later, and the 40,000th a mere 3½ years after that. At that rate, the company will be celebrating the milestone of its 50,000th truck in around three years.