Kenworth Unveils New Services, Products at ATA

by Evan Lockridge

PHILADELPHIA, PA – Kenworth Truck Co. made a number of announcements in Philadelphia on Saturday, just before the start of the American Trucking Associations annual Management Conference and Exhibition while also saying its pulling out of a major trucking event next year.

The Washington state-based company said it would begin selling the Paccar MX-11 engine to its vocational and regional haul customers in Canada and the U.S. in January 2016. It also introduced a new sleeper, talked about aerodynamic advances coming for 2016, and unveiled a new program to certify dealers that offer an expanded level of service.

Just introduced by Paccar, the 11-liter engine is designed to produce up to 430 hp and 1,550 lb-ft of torque. It is positioned between the Paccar PX-9 and MX-13 engines to give Kenworth an expanded range of proprietary engines for its Class 8 product line, according to the company.

The Paccar MX-11 engine will be available for the Kenworth T880, T680, T800 with FEPTO, and W900S and will be built at Paccar’s engine plant in Columbus, MS.

“The Paccar MX-11 fits a sweet spot for many of our customers, who need a lighter engine that provides ample horsepower and torque,” said Jason Skoog, Kenworth assistant general manager. “It is 400 pounds lighter than 13-liter engines, and due to the weight savings, provides our customers a boost in payload capacity and fuel economy.”

The MX-11 is a six-cylinder, 24-valve design and has double overhead camshafts along with high-pressure common rail fuel injection. Like the MX-13, the engine block is constructed from compact graphite iron with vertical ribs to maximize strength while reducing noise levels, according to the company.

Kenworth also introduced a new 40-inch sleeper for the Kenworth T880. It’s designed for vocational applications that use straight trucks, such as petroleum haulers or the tow industry, and for tractors hauling flatbeds, lowboys or other trailers where length and weight may come into play. 

This new model saves 260 pounds over Kenworth’s 52-inch sleeper and features a 24-inch liftable bunk that tilts 90 degrees for easy access to under bunk storage, according to Kenworth. There is more than 22 cubic feet of storage space to handle gear for occasional stays in the sleeper, plus storage shelves.

To help cover body builder equipment for all vocational applications, Kenworth says the T880 40-inch sleeper was designed with a height – from the bottom of the frame rails to the sleeper rooftop – that is nearly 17 inches shorter than the T880’s 52-inch and 76-inch mid-roof sleepers.

The T880 now offers vocational customers three sleepers to best meet their needs and applications. In 2016, the T880 will be available with the Paccar MX-11 engine rated from 355 to 430-hp and from 1,250 to 1,550 lb-ft of torque.

Looking ahead to next year, Kenworth said aerodynamic advances are coming for customers purchasing the T680 Advantage with 76-inch sleeper, T680 52-inch sleeper and T680 day cab.

On the 76-inch sleeper, Kenworth said it has further refined fairings on the T680 Advantage Package. To better direct airflow around the trailer, Kenworth has developed a “kick-out” partial fairing.

“The contour of the lower fairing improves airflow around the trailer for enhanced fuel economy,” said Kevin Baney, Kenworth chief engineer. “The new design also provides for an optional under-sleeper fuel fill. This allows fuel tanks to be moved forward and reduces trailer gap and wheelbase. Plus, with that added room, customers wanting to install their own auxiliary power units can do so behind the sleeper and kick-out fairing.”

For the T680 52-inch sleeper and day cab, the company has brought the T680 Advantage aerodynamics package to those configurations.

“That includes refined aerodynamic components on the front of the tractor to further enhance airflow. Our new Advantage air dam directs air out and around the vehicle, instead of under the bumper, to improve airflow,” Baney said. “An extension to the lower fairing shortens the gap to the ground to minimize air turbulence.”

The T680 52-inch sleeper also will use new sleeper corner caps to extend the side extenders all the way through the corners of the sleeper, minimizing drag, Baney said.

The Kenworth T680 Day Cab also receives the same T680 Advantage aerodynamics package with refined aerodynamics components. Kenworth also engineered a new roof cap “bulb” seal for the day cab.

“It actually goes a long way to improving aerodynamics. We’ve quieted the airflow in the gap between the top of the day cab and roof fairing,” Baney said.

There was also an announcement from Kenworth when it comes to enhancing customer service at dealerships in Canada and the U.S. with the launch of the PremierCare Gold Certified program.

“Taking care of customers is something that is in our DNA at Kenworth, as demonstrated by our Kenworth PremierCare program, which has offered customers superior service for more than 20 years. Building on this customer service heritage, the new Kenworth PremierCare Gold Certified program takes service to another level,” said Skoog. “Uptime has never been more important and it’s why we did extensive research with customers and the Kenworth Dealer Council to develop a new gold standard of customer service excellence at Kenworth dealerships.”

The Kenworth PremierCare ExpressLane is one of the key elements to become a Gold Certified dealer. Each Gold Certified Kenworth dealer will have dedicated ExpressLane technicians to support quick diagnosis and estimated repair time and cost.

“When a customer brings in his or her truck, the dealer will do a full diagnostic analysis and prepare an estimate for the time and cost of that repair – all within 2 hours,” said Skoog. “The goal is to do away with trucks sitting in the queue and drivers waiting for an estimate. And that’s critical to our customers, especially when the repair may be very simple and can be completed within hours. Knowing what’s happening, quickly, will help customers make the decisions needed to keep their deliveries on schedule.”

The Kenworth PremierCare Roadside Assistance program is another element of the program.

“Kenworth’s 24/7 program has been a constant with our customers for a number of years,” said Skoog. “If there is ever an emergency on the road, our call center helps the driver or fleet manager work through the issue to get the truck back on the road as soon as possible.”

Extended evening hours on weekdays and extended hours on the weekends are also a requirement for certification.

“It’s important for Kenworth dealers to be open and ready to serve drivers whenever they need our assistance,” said Skoog. “Diesel technicians at Kenworth Gold locations will have achieved the highest levels of certification under new and more rigorous factory certification standards for Paccar MX series engines. Plus, these dealerships will be well-stocked with high-quality Paccar MX engine parts.”

In addition, all new Kenworth Class 8 trucks with the Paccar MX-13 engine are now standard with Kenworth TruckTech+. The system enhances vehicle diagnostics by providing information on Paccar MX-13 engine health to the customer and dealer.

“Since Kenworth TruckTech+ describes the issue, based on fault codes, we feel it’s a game changer when it comes to keeping trucks on the road. Minor issues can be addressed on the road or back at the home terminal, while larger issues can be diagnosed and fixed at the nearest Kenworth dealership. Every Kenworth PremierCare Gold Certified dealership offers dedicated TruckTech+ professionals on site,” said Skoog.

Kenworth PremierCare Gold Certified dealers also will provide a comfortable driver’s lounge with amenities that make it easy for the driver to relax or remain productive while the truck is in the shop.

These developments come as Kenworth said dealers have invested nearly US$500 million in new and relocated facilities in the past five years, according to Skoog. “And that is reflected in a 20 percent growth rate for dealership locations. We now offer over 360 locations in the United States and Canada, and nearly 75 percent of those locations are full-service stores.”

For instance, In Edmonton, AB, Kenworth made a major investment on a 16-acre parcel in Leduc near the Edmonton International Airport. Just opened, it features an 111,500-square-foot main building with an indoor showroom large enough for customers to view up to four Kenworth trucks out of the elements. The main building also offers several specialty bays to provide service for fabrication, component rebuild and liquefied natural gas-powered commercial vehicles, plus four triage bays to provide customers rapid diagnostic reports.

Lastly, and on an unrelated note, Kenworth said it would not be exhibiting at the 2016 Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, KY. The moves leaves only its sister company, Peterbilt, as the only remaining truck maker that has not made an announcement regarding the show. Truck manufacturers Daimler (maker of Freightliner and Western Star trucks), Volvo, Mack and Navistar International earlier announced they will pass on the annual event this year, but plan to return in 2017.

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