— the lat­est gear, rigs and test drives

The Expo, New Zealand’s truck and heavy equip­ment event held ev­ery four years, had a few sur­prises plus a cou­ple of pre­views of what’s to come for the Australian mar­ket.

Owner Driver - - Owner/Driver - Greg Bush writes

IF THE BRIS­BANE Truck Show is the largest truck­ing event in the Aus­trala­sia re­gion, New Zealand’s premier trans­port and heavy equip­ment show­case, known sim­ply as The Expo, could eas­ily rank as num­ber two.

Held ev­ery four years at the pic­turesque val­ley set­ting of the Mys­tery Creek Events Cen­tre, The Expo is unique in many ways.

It not only show­cases the lat­est in road trans­port equip­ment, but it also at­tracts a large num­ber of en­thu­si­asts, dis­play­ing a large col­lec­tion of clas­sic and vin­tage trucks, as well as a show and shine com­pe­ti­tion on The Expo’s fi­nal day.

This year’s event took place over three days from March 2 to 4, with most ma­jor truck man­u­fac­tur­ers hav­ing a pres­ence, the Volvo Group and Hino be­ing no­table ex­cep­tions.

What was sur­pris­ing was the ap­pear­ance of Penske Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles, which has de­cided to opt out of this year’s Bris­bane Truck Show. Penske had a cou­ple of new MAN TGX D38s on show in the big Mys­tery Creek pavil­ion, as well two flashy cus­tomer-bound Western Stars.

Freight­liner opted for the Kiwi ‘all black’ look for its Ar­gosy, Coron­ado and CST112, while a strik­ing blue was the colour for stable mate Mercedes-Benz’s new range of Arocs and Ac­tros mod­els.

Paccar oc­cu­pied the western end of the pavil­ion with a fairly ex­ten­sive range, in­clud­ing the new T610 Ken­worth, two of which were al­ready in the colours of their new own­ers. The fleet of South Is­land out­fit Dynes Trans­port is pre­dom­i­nantly Ken­worth, so it’s no sur­prise that it was one of the first in the queue for the new T610.

Adding to Paccar’s ar­moury, it also had the new DAF CF 510hp in tip­per for­ma­tion, des­tined to join the fleet of McCaf­ferty Metal Car­ri­ers in Gis­borne.

At the pavil­ion’s op­po­site end, Isuzu had a fairly ex­ten­sive range on show, in­clud­ing a 460hp tip­per and 530hp prime mover, while boast­ing its po­si­tion as “New Zealand’s favourite truck for 17 years”.

“Most of the cus­tomers are lin­ing it with the Euro brands rather than the Asian brands”

How­ever, tucked away in the pavil­ion’s side an­nexe, Hyundai was caus­ing a stir with its newly ar­rived 6x4 Xcient P520 prime mover, dwarf­ing the light-duty Mighty trucks on its stand.

The Xcient ar­rived in Aus­tralia at the end of 2016, but The Expo was the Korean man­u­fac­turer’s first op­por­tu­nity to un­veil the 520hp show unit be­fore the gen­eral public ‘down un­der’. It was a close call, how­ever, with the Xcient ar­riv­ing in New Zealand just two weeks be­fore The Expo, al­though Kiwi Hyundai dealer Cen­tral Group had man­aged to take it for a quick run south to garner feed­back from its South Is­land deal­er­ships.

Hyundai is mak­ing no bones about where it’s head­ing with the Xcient – and that’s be­ing strong com­pe­ti­tion to the Euro­pean cab-overs.

One of the Hyundai per­son­nel on the stand, who pre­ferred to re­main anony­mous, he says the new P520 with its 2500Nm of torque has “re­ally good high­way ca­pa­bil­ity” while up­com­ing vari­ants could in­clude a long wheel­base unit for lo­cal pal­let de­liv­er­ies.

“Over time we would move into a full-blown tip­per con­fig­u­ra­tion,” he says.

The un­named source says ini­tial feed­back has been “very good”.

“Most of the cus­tomers are lin­ing it with the Euro brands rather than the Asian brands. They’ll be mak­ing com­par­isons to DAF and Iveco and those sorts of trucks, not like Hino and UD,” he says.

“The truck it­self is very dif­fer­ent to those. You’ve got air sus­pen­sion all round; you’ve got scales in the rear air bags, 6-wheel disc brakes, power split­ters, cross diff locks, air-sus­pended cabs, air sus­pen­sion, and a huge lot of fea­tures and op­tions in the cab.

“There’s a large bed up there, a fridge in the cab, and lots of stor­age,” he says.


Over on the Iveco stand, it was some­what of a relaunch for its range in New Zealand, with the brand en­joy­ing a 62 per cent rise in sales in 2016 plus an in­crease in mar­ket share.

New Zealand coun­try man­ager Ian Walker was buoy­ant about the new prod­ucts on show, namely the Trakker 6x4, the 7-tonne Euro 6 Daily van, and the 2016 In­ter­na­tional Truck of the Year: the Euro 6 Euro­cargo.

England-born Walker, a for­mer long-term Freight­liner re­gional sales man­ager across three con­ti­nents, says the Euro­cargo ar­rived only days be­fore The Expo’s open­ing day. “It was close to the wire,” he says. Walker says the Euro­cargo comes equipped with the lat­est safety pack­ages, in­clud­ing the anti-skid brak­ing sys­tem (ABS) and lane de­par­ture warn­ing, plus new in­te­rior and ex­te­rior de­signs, in­creased fuel ef­fi­ciency and in­creased ser­vice in­ter­vals. It also fea­tures anti-slip reg­u­la­tor (ASR), elec­tronic sta­bil­ity pro­gram (ESP), and ad­vanced emerg­ing brak­ing sys­tem (AEBS).

Ac­cord­ing to Walker, the new Daily is the only 7-tonne-rated in­te­gral van on the mar­ket.

“It’s avail­able from 7.6 cu­bic me­tres right up to the max­i­mum of 20 cu­bic me­tres.”

The new Daily and Euro­cargo mod­els will be on show at the Bris­bane Truck Show in May, al­though the 6x4 Trakker is un­likely to make an ap­pear­ance, be­ing con­fined to the New Zealand mar­ket.

Iveco had two stands at The Expo, one in­side the pavil­ion and the other bathed in bright sun­shine out­side. Whether by ac­ci­dent or not, its ex­ter­nal stand had New Zealand com­pany In­tertruck pro­mot­ing its range of In­ter­na­tional Trucks as a near neigh­bour.

De­spite the pres­ence of the new Prostar and Lon­es­tar mod­els, pride of place on the In­ter­na­tional dis­play went to its New Zealand-as­sem­bled range of cab-over mod­els.

More cu­ri­ous from Aus­tralia’s point of view was the Sinotruk stand with its range of Chi­ne­se­built Euro 5 trucks from the China Na­tional Heavy Duty Truck Group Com­pany (CNHTC).

Whether CNHTC has a go at crack­ing the Australian truck mar­ket re­mains to be seen, but it cer­tainly added a slice of in­trigue to The Expo.

Penske Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles were not ‘show shy’ in New Zealand

A cus­tomer-bound Western Star

Volvo had an un­of­fi­cial pres­ence at The Expo with this FH600 tanker

It was ‘all black’ on the Freight­liner stand

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