Pow­er­star is back

Iveco has lis­tened to its cus­tomers, writes GRAHAMSMITH

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Front Page -

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.

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