Powerstar is back
Iveco has listened to its customers, writes GRAHAMSMITH
RE-ENGINEERING the Iveco Powerstar with a big-bore Cummins engine is a case of turning the clock back while looking to the future.
A Cummins was used in the Powerstar before a decision three years ago to limit the power choice to Iveco’s own European 13-litre Cursor engine.
The move saw Powerstar sales slow dramatically as B-double operators went elsewhere for their heavy haulers.
The switch back to Cummins is largely in response to the slowing sales, but it’s also a sign new managing director Giorgio Gallia is listening to what operators, customers, and dealers are saying.
Speaking to Big Wheels shortly after his arrival in 2008, Gallia said he would spend the first months of his tenure talking to Iveco dealers, local operators, and existing customers to determine what was needed to restart sales.
The big red Cummins-powered Powerstar that appeared at the recent Brisbane Truck Show was a clear sign Gallia was listening.
The market hasn’t accepted the Cursor engine in B-double applications, even though it can be rated up to 418kW.
There is a clear preference for the grunt of a big-bore American engine like the 15-litre Cummins ISX Iveco has now engineered into the Powerstar.
‘‘The market liked the Powerstar when we offered it with the Cummins, and there have always been requests from dealers and customers to put a Cummins back in the truck,’’ Steve Heanes, Iveco’s general manager for retail truck and bus sales, says.
Heanes admits the Powerstar wasn’t a full-on B-double truck with the 13-litre Cursor engine, and coupled with problems the engine has had in service, it suffered in the market.
The move back to Cummins power puts it back in the game.
‘‘Our main goal was to produce a full-spec B-double truck with American power, and with the EuroTronic transmission we be- lieve we’ve now got a state-of-theart combination,’’ Heanes says.
It is the first time the American Cummins engine has been coupled to the European EuroTronic II 16-speed automated transmission and the project was a major undertaking for Iveco’s local engineering team.
While they supervised the project, they relied on the help of Iveco’s European engineers to sort out the electronics, and a team of local engineers from Prodrive, the Melbourne-based automotive engineering outfit more commonly associated with Ford’s FPR operation.
The local team redesigned the front-end and the cooling system to accept the Cummins engine, as well as updating the cab interior and exterior.
‘‘It was a major, major development program for us here in Australia,’’ Iveco’s engineering director, Matthias Bengl, said.
Iveco is offering the 15-litre Cummins ISX engine with ratings from 361kW to 410kWat 2000 revs and 2505Nm between 1200 and 1600 revs.
The B-double rated model will have the EuroTronic transmission, though Iveco will offer the Power- star with manual gearbox options by the time it hits the market in the fourth quarter this year.
The other variants will be aimed at applications such as tipper-and-dog. Iveco is expected to offer an Eaton manual transmission to best suit those.
The cab is raised by 50mm for better airflow and easier access to the engine; there’s a stylish American-style chrome grille, new mirrors, alloy front bumper, headlights and sun visor, chrome air intakes on the bonnet sides, new side panels, optional square fuel tanks, and new exhaust gantries to allow a 34-pallet load.
There is also a raft of interior changes including a new bunk and mattress, new trim colour, optional leather seats and steering wheel, and a full refrigerator is fitted instead of a cool box.
Redoubled effort for B-double: the revamped Powerstar now boasts a 15-litre Cummins powerplant after a massive engineering program.