New for ’06 A look at your options in the medium-duty truck market
October 1, 2005
CALGARY, Alta. - Are you in the market for a medium-duty truck? There are a host of new options being offered by manufacturers this year, including some offerings that are new from the ground up. Truc...
CALGARY, Alta. – Are you in the market for a medium-duty truck? There are a host of new options being offered by manufacturers this year, including some offerings that are new from the ground up. Truck News has compiled a two-part feature on what’s new for 2006 from each of the medium-duty manufacturers. This month’s issue runs down the latest product news from Hino, International and Kenworth with Sterling, GMC, Freightliner and Peterbilt featured in the next issue.
Hino’s 2006 lineup includes a new Model 258 low profile, 25,500 GVW truck. It’s well-suited for applications such as furniture delivery, landscaping, towing, hauling cars and delivering building materials, the company says.
The payload exceeds 12,000 lbs and it’s available in 187- to 253-inch wheelbases. The new low profile offering is powered by the Hino 220-horsepower J-series OHC four-valve turbocharged, intercooled, six-cylinder engine and comes standard with the Allison 2200 RDS automatic transmission.
Greg Stub, manager of dealer and product development with Hino Canada, says the company’s Class 6 and 7 trucks now include self-adjusting clutches at no extra charge. Other complimentary upgrades on the ’06 models include front axle wheel bearings which are oil-lubricated (previous model years were grease-lubricated).
Hino’s now offering an exhaust brake on its Class 5, 6 and 7 models. And all of its 2006 model year trucks now feature a standard chrome grille, Stub points out.
The 308 and 338 models are now available in a 271-inch wheelbase allowing for the easy installation of 27.5-ft. boxes.
New Hinos have a more robust Allison transmission than their predecessors and they also come with dash-mounted cupholders. So far, Hino’s upgrades have gone over well with customers, Stub reports.
He said Hino is hoping to sell 1,400 units in Canada this year.
“There’s a greater awareness and acceptance (since switching to a conventional design last year), but it all takes time,” said Stub. “We’ve only had it out for a year and a half now.”
He added “We were concerned our cabover customers would not embrace the new trucks, but we have at least a 90 per cent conversion from our customers who really liked cabovers,” Stub says. “We’re also attracting customers now who would never have bought a cabover.”
Stub said Hino is in an aggressive growth pattern and is working to expand its dealer network in 2006.
The newest addition to the International medium-duty family is the 4100 Class 5 conventional truck, introduced this summer. The company says it’s intended for applications such as construction, landscaping, flatbed operations, service body, dry van and utility service needs.
International officials say the 4100 includes all the features found on its popular 4000-series trucks.
“The new International 4100 is a great choice and provides unmatched value for customers who want all the advantages of owning an International in a Class 5 product offering,” said Mike Elwell, director of marketing, Medium Vehicle Center.
The 4100 is available in 17,800 and 19,500 GVWs and includes features such as: a spacious cab with air ride suspension; a durable frame ladder system; commercial grade four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes; and International’s DiamondLogic electric system.
It can also be spec’d with Aware Vehicle Intelligence, a comprehensive telematics offering for improved fleet productivity, officials say.
The 4100 is powered by International’s own VT-365 engine with a 230-horsepower, 540 lb.-ft. torque rating. The transmission is an Allison 1000-series automatic.
International representatives say the new truck offers superior maneuverability and visibility as well as extended service intervals.
The 2005 and 2006 Kenworth T300s boast a number of enhancements over previous models.
On the outside, customers will notice a wire mesh grille with polished stainless steel center trim. Another new addition is the standard complex reflector headlamps which the company says provide a 50 per cent increase in illumination.
There’s also an optional one-piece stainless steel-clad aluminum bumper with fog lights available.
Popular options on the inside of the T300 include corner windows that assist when backing up and negotiating tight spots, a center console containing a practical workstation and an Australian burl wood-accented dash.
The T300 can be spec’d in Class 6 and 7 configurations as either a straight truck or tractor. There are a variety of wheelbases available with single or tandem axles. The GVWs available range from 25,000- to 54,000-lbs.
“Kenworth’s T300 medium duty conventional model has become a popular customer choice because of its quality, durability and reliability, and low operating cost,” said Steve Gilligan, Kenworth general marketing manager. “Kenworth’s reception of the 2004 J.D. Power and Associates award for ‘Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Medium-Duty Dealer Truck Service’ also shows that customers appreciate the World’s Best support that they receive from the Kenworth dealer network.”
The T300 is particularly popular in construction and food and beverage applications, the company says. It has also found a home among fire departments, propane and fuel fleets and dry, refrigerated and side-curtain van operations.
– Next month’s Truck News will feature what’s new from Freightliner, Sterling, Peterbilt and GMC.