Plenty of shine at the show

The bi­en­nial Mel­bourne event brought in the big names, the big rigs and a fore­taste of tech­nol­ogy

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Big Wheels - JAMES STAN­FORD

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.

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