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Kenworth touts strength of vocational truck market


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Neil Abt, Fleet Owner  /  July 23, 2017

Orders for new T880S are strong, company says

KIRKLAND, WA. The vocational truck market was a bright spot during the first half of 2017, and is expected to remain strong, according to executives of Kenworth Truck Co.

Mike Dozer, Kenworth’s general manager, said positive economic reports on gross domestic product, consumer confidence, housing starts, and construction spending are in “good alignment with what we are seeing … within the industry, and certainly in the vocational segment.”

Dozier spoke at a July 21 event showcasing Kenworth’s dump trucks and mixers.

The truck maker, a unit of Paccar Inc., expects overall U.S. and Canadian Class 8 retail sales to finish the year in the upper range of its earlier estimate of 190,000 to 220,000 units.

“A key part of that is the vocational segment,” said Dozier.

As for Kenworth’s vocational lineup, Dozier and Kevin D. Baney, assistant general manger of marketing and sales, noted continued strong orders for the T880S, the truck maker’s latest configuration that features a set-forward front axle.

The vehicle is aimed at ready-mix, dump and mobile crane applications. It provides more flexibility, better payload, maneuverability, and driver visibility.

The T880 line was designed to eventually replace the T800, but Kenworth officials said there is no precise timetable as to when it will cease production.

“We let the market decide,” Dozier said, adding that the company expands on the newer model “so it happens naturally, as soon as it can.”

The T880S comes standard with the Paccar MX-13 engine, which along with the MX-11 is another area of strength. The two proprietary engines are included in more than 45 percent of Kenworth’s total orders.

“We are happy with the growth we’ve seen,” Dozier said.

Meanwhile, Baney outlined a series of other updates and enhancements:

Kenworth is increasing its rebate offer to $2,000 for members of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. The offer includes the T880, W900, T440 and T470 models though the end of the 2017.

Production begins at the end of this month on trucks with new 20,000 lb.- and 22,800-lb. front steer axles from Marmon-Herrington. The option is especially suited for water trucks and oilfield services, Baney said.

Variable speed fan drives are soon to be available on the MX-13 engine, which not only boost fuel economy, but reduces noise, vibration and dust generation.

Also soon to be offered on the T880 and T880s models are bright-trimmed air intakes. Baney said this is a popular option, and will be available in the aftermarket as well.

The company begins production July 31 on the T680, T880, and T880s models with the Cummins Westport ISL G near zero NOx emissions natural gas engine.

The engine offers a 90 percent reduction over current emissions regulations. This is a critical option for many fleets in California and those whose shippers demand “green” fleets as part of their sustainability efforts, Baney said.

A ride-and-drive event included one of these vehicles, built in partnership with CalPortland and McNeilus.

Also announced during the meeting was the initial launch of a new van lease program in the United States with Paccar Financial for the T270 model. The lease offer is $875 a month with no money required at signing. It features a 26-foot Morgan Corp. van body. 

Photo gallery - http://fleetowner.com/equipment/kicking-dust-kenworth

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Kenworth forges ahead in vocational market with the T880 and T880S

Truck News  / July 21, 2017

KIRKLAND, Wash. – Kenworth Trucks is hyping its vocational T880 series, believing the U.S. and Canadian economies are poised to continue an upward trajectory.

“Whether you’re talking vocational or just the market in general in North America,” said Mike Dozier, general manager of Kenworth Trucks and vice-president of Paccar, “the underlying fundamentals all remain very positive and I think we’re certainly seeing that in vocational segments.”

Inviting members of the media to its head office just outside Seattle, Kenworth offered up three dump models and two mixers for a test drive on the track at DirtFish rally school.

Two dump models were the T880 day cab with Eaton Ultrashift transmissions; one fitted with the 2017 MX-11 engine with 430 hp, the other the MX-13 with 485 hp.

The third dump truck was the beefier T880S model, flaunting the MX-13 engine, 510 hp, 1,850 lb.-ft. of torque and an 18-speed Eaton AMT transmission.

The two mixers were quite diverse, one a traditional diesel engine (the T880S bridge mixer), while the other ran on compressed natural gas (T880S nat gas mixer). Each ran on an Allison transmission; the bridge mixer on the 4700RDS-7-speed and the nat gas variety on the 4500 six-speed automatic.

Kevin Baney, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing, highlighted the Cummins-Westport ISL G-near Zero engine in the nat-gas mixer, which emits 90% lower NOx than current U.S. requirements. The engine will target certain markets that have green energy requirements from customers in locations such as California.

Since 2010, Class 8 truck sales peaked in 2015, with sales reaching approximately 275,000 units. In 2016 they were just over 200,000, and 2017 is projected to be somewhere around 200,000.

“There’s pretty good alignment with what we’re seeing with sentiment within the industry and certainly in the vocational segment,” said Dozier, “so we expect our expectations to continue.”

Kenworth unveiled its new flagship T880 model four years ago, with the T880S being the latest addition to the lineup.

The T880S is available with a set-forward front axle, which Baney said helps increase the trucks maneuverability.

“The T880S is well suited for truck operators in ready-mix, dump and mobile crane applications where every incremental pound of payload delivered contributes directly to the bottom line,” Baney said. “The T880S enters into the market in the midst of an excellent vocational market, and we’re receiving strong T880S orders from customers.”

The T880S set-forward front axle ranges from 14,600 lbs to 22,800 lbs and comes standard with the Paccar MX-13 engine. The MX-11 engine provides a more light-weight offering at 400 lbs less compared to the MX-13.

Stepping into the spotlight for its former flagship truck – the T800 – the T880 model now makes up approximately 75% of sales compared to the former model. But as Baney pointed out, there is no plan to phase out the T800, but the company will rather let the market decide on the level of its continued production.

Baney also touted Kenworth’s upcoming bright-trimmed air intake, which he said customers have been requesting for some time. The chrome spec’ will be available this month and in the aftermarket.

Already available on the T680, variable speed fan drives will soon be offered on the MX-13 engine and will provide a bump in horsepower, better fuel economy, decreased noise and vibration, and a reduction in dust.

In addition, Baney underscored the fact that more than 50,000 Kenworth trucks are now connected through the company’s mobile diagnostics technology TruckTech+.

“These numbers just continue to amaze us since the launch of this program with the Paccar engines in 2015 and now last year with Cummins,” Baney said. “This is really the basis for our connected truck platform that we continue to expand. This provides not only ourselves, but our dealers as well as our customers a lot of information we use to make the products better.”

Kenworth has 382 dealer locations in North America, 4,700 service bays and has invested $600 million into its facilities over the past five years.

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10 years ago here in Chicago 90% of new concrete trucks were mack.  With Recent ownership change of our local major concrete company's I think mack has around 50% now. The Refuse market is also going slowly away from mack as well.  slumping mack market share is very noticeable these days

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Kenworth: Vocational Truck Market to Stay Strong Through End of 2017

Jim Park, Heavy Duty Trucking  /  July 24, 2017

The first half of 2017 has been good to the trucking industry, and to the vocational market in particular, and the going into the second half of the year, the underlying economic fundamentals look equally promising. That's the view from Renton, Wash., where Paccar vice president and Kenworth general manager Mike Dozier addressed reporters at a press event on July 21.

"Whether you're talking vocational or just the market in general in North America, the underlying fundamentals all remain very positive," Dozier said. "There's a very strong alignment between what we're seeing in terms of sentiment within the industry and factors like growth in GDP and the associated rise in consumer confidence. We expect that to continue throughout the year." 

Dozier noted that certain key indicators, namely total construction spending and housing starts, trend closely to actual growth in retail orders for the company's T880 vocational chassis.

Earlier this year, Kenworth had forecast retail sales of 190,000 to 220,000 units. At the time, Dozier among others was a bit worried that the situation might change as the post-election hangover wore off, but it hasn't. In fact, Dozier said consumer confidence remains strong-- and the market remains buoyant.

"Earlier in the year, I would have said we were in the lower range of the estimate band," he said. "But today, with half the year still ahead of us, we are in the upper range of that band. That bodes well for the remainder of the year."

Internally, Dozier said the Paccar MX engine now accounts for just over 45% of engine orders across all Class 8 lines — on-highway and vocational. "We are happy with the growth we've seen so far, and we expect to end 2017 with 160,000 MX engines in service," he said.

The Kenworth dealer network continues to grow. There were 382 North American dealers at the end of 2016 with more than 4,700 service bays. Plans call for over 400 dealers by the end of 2017.

"The vocational market has been a terrific positive throughout the course of the year," Dozier said in summary, "and we're looking for that to continue for the rest of the year. We're hearing and we're seeing it in orders. Customers are telling us they are very pleased with how their years are progressing so far."


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Kenworth Adds Options for Vocational Trucks Amid Rising Market

Transport Topics  /  July 25, 2017

KIRKLAND, Wash.— Kenworth Truck Co. says a new axle, compressed natural gas engine and air intake will be available by the end of July, as its dealership network expands and the number of trucks connected through its TruckTech+ diagnostic tool climbs — all of which underscores what it sees as strong industry fundamentals.

As it adds to the vertical integration of its powertrain, Kenworth will offer a Paccar front steer axle with a weight rating of 20,000 or 22,800 pounds for its vocational trucks. “It is our proprietary design. We start production at the end of July,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth assistant manager, sales and marketing.

The axle comes with a five-year, 750,000 mile warranty, aligning it with most of the others it offers, he said.

Kenworth executives spoke with reporters here July 21 prior to a ride and drive of its vocational trucks, including dump trucks and mixers. Kenworth is a unit of Paccar Inc.

The new axle was installed on the T880S dump truck used in the ride and drive held at Dirtfish, a sprawling professional rally school on the 100-year-old former site in Snoqualmie, Wash., of Weyerhaeuser Co., a timber producer. The trucks went out onto bumpy, dusty tracks in Dirtfish, and also took public roads nearby lined with towering fir trees.

Available in Kenworth’s vocational trucks this month will be the 8.9-liter Cummins-Westport ISL G engine fueled by either compressed or liquefied natural gas.

The engine’s nitrogen oxide emissions are 0.02 gram per brake horsepower-hour, 90% lower than the current federal and California standard of 0.2 gram.

The engine’s significant target markets will be in California and among customers who ‘spec’ trucks because their freight-providing customers need to support their own ‘green’ requirements with like-minded fleets, he said.

“We don’t see California changing or relaxing; we see California moving full-speed ahead with their mission [to improve some of the nation’s worst air quality],” said Baney.

A T880S mixer with the engine was available at the ride and drive and had a fuel capacity of 76 DGE (diesel gallon equivalent).

Kenworth’s vocational customers fall into four areas, Baney said, which in order of sales are: body-builders, vocational fleets, mixed-use fleets and owner-operators.

A variable speed fan drive for the T880 models is also headed to the vocational trucks. It provides a slight increase in fuel economy, but the main advantages are a decrease in vibration and “it reduces the dust you get out in vocational applications when the fan kicks on,” Baney said.

Also, Kenworth will offer a bright chrome air intake trim on its T880 and T880S models.

A lot of customers who have the chrome bumper, grill and mirror shells have been asking for it, Baney said. “It will be available this month, too [including the aftermarket]. This has been a very high request [item]. We see it to be a fairly high volume [item] for Paccar Parts.”

The anticipated take rate on the brightwork is maybe 50%, he said. “The other thing we do is use it in incentive programs to stimulate some sales,” he added.

Kenworth has 382 dealer locations and that is expected to increase to 400 by the end of this year. Its dealers have invested $600 million in the last five years to open new locations or upgrade existing ones, including service bays — which currently total 4,700.

Its dealerships, however, are not experiencing a technician shortage, said Kenworth General Manager Mike Dozier.

“It’s like drivers, there are always opportunities with technicians. [The dealers] are being very aggressive in finding them and retaining them,” he said.

Also, “It’s broadening your ability to develop technicians when the pool of really good seasoned technicians fluctuates,” he added.

In related news, Kenworth’s TruckTech+ telematics service is now in 50,000 trucks that have traveled 2.7 billion miles since the service launched in March 2015.

Its diagnostic capability provides a recommended repair to the driver and fleet manager, and the service can locate the closest dealerships if repairs are needed.

The diagnostic feature uses machine-learning algorithms to increase its detailed knowledge of the proper maintenance steps to take based on its previous findings, and that continues to be refined over time, Baney said.

The Kenworth executives said the industry fundamentals remain positive, and Paccar forecasts Class 8 retail sales in Canada and the United States to be about 220,000, or the high end of Paccar’s previous guidance of 190,000 to 220,000.

“A key part of that is the vocational segment,” Baney said.




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