Plenty of shine at the show
The biennial Melbourne event brought in the big names, the big rigs and a foretaste of technology
EQUAL attention was paid to showing off and saving money at last weekend’s International Truck, Trailer and Equipment show, a huge event that runs every two years.
Some brands such as Scania and CAT stayed away but plenty of makers went above and beyond to draw attention to their latest gear.
Kenworth used the show to promote its new in-house engine, the MX-13, as well as a new-look cabin for its conventional trucks.
The 13-litre MX engine is an alternative to Cummins powerplants and has already proven efficient and reliable in DAF models. It will be available for T409 and T409 SAR models from July.
The bonneted Kenworth trucks also get a new-look interior, which made its debut in Melbourne and will be introduced in May.
It still looks like a Kenworth cabin, but all the controls that were located above the windscreen, as well as the radio and CB radio switches, are repositioned on the dashboard.
New items include the overhead console and fresh curved dash design, privacy curtain and steering wheel with built-in controls.
Showgoers also spent a lot of time in front of hulking T909 road train, admiring the sheer bulk of its gleaming stainless steel bullbar.
Western Star had several mean chromed trucks at its stand. The American brand featured a big and bold 4800 series conventional (bonneted) rig with the new Cummins E5 AdBlue SCR engine it is rolling out in Australia.
It might not look as good as the big Western Star, but a Dennis Eagle rubbish truck nearby earned points for its environmental approach thanks to its innovative cleanburning CNG engine.
Mitsubishi Fuso also played the green card and said it would lower the price of its innovative diesel-electric Canter hybrid to allow operators to recoup the purchase premium sooner.
Mercedes-Benz rolled out some blinged versions of its ageing Actros. Prototypes of the next-generation rig are due to start testing in Australia later this year but won’t go on sale here until 2016.
The company presented a world first, a dual-steer version of its low riding Econic, aimed at the rubbish truck market.
It is the first time Mercedes has installed steering wheels on both sides of this truck. At this stage it is just a concept but if there is enough demand for the ability to drive from either side (especially in built-up areas), it will go into production.
Japanese brand Hino drew a lot of attention to its stand with a Dakar rally race truck as well as a potent new small hauler.
The GT Dakar special is a genuine race rig, used in the 2011 version of the gruelling desert rally, and has the scratches to prove it.
Hino also revealed a new high-end engine for its light duty 300 Series truck. The new 5.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel makes up to 151kW/ 600Nm, giving it the best performance in its class.
Volvo Trucks was also busy, presenting its new mediumduty players, the all-new FM and the dirt and construction focused FM-X trucks, which are due here in the middle of this year.
Trailers played a huge part of this year’s show, with more than 40 manufacturers on site.
Some trailers are naturally impressive and others are simple and practical and need a little help.
Some companies employed women in eye-catching outfits to gain attention, some put exotic cars such as Porsche 911s on their trailers and one tilt tray showed off its strength by hoisting up a MAN primemover and leaving it in position for all four days of the show.