PACCAR Australia has delivered its 50,000th Australian-designed and manufactured Kenworth truck at its Bayswater plant in Melbourne.
Mike Dozier, Managing Director of PACCAR Australia, handed the keys of a K200 prime mover to long-standing Kenworth customer Peter Rodney, managing director of Rodney’s Transport Service (RTS), a privately owned trucking company in the Riverina.
Dozier said Kenworth’s achievement in manufacturing 50,000 trucks was a major milestone, not only for the company but for Australian manufacturing. Kenworth has designed and manufactured uniquely Australian trucks since 1971, and it has been the number one heavy-duty truck supplier since 2001, according to the company. Kenworth trucks are the mainstay of Australian transport businesses of all sizes, from large fleets to single owner-operators. Its trucks are also exported to New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Papua New Guinea.
“The heavy-duty truck market in Australia is one of the most competitive in the world,” Dozier stated. “In an industry with no tariff protection, no government financial assistance, and a high Australian dollar, Kenworth successfully maintains its status as the market leader against dozens of imported brands from the US, Europe and Asia. We continue to successfully deliver high value-added manufacturing – that is, world-class trucks which provide distinct business advantages.”
Dozier said Australia has a diverse range of operating environments unlike anywhere else in the world. Trucks must deal with extreme heat in remote, dusty mines and across deserts. Others must haul loads that are two or three times heavier than overseas, and on rough and unmade roads. Often trucks are required to perform an inordinate amount of hours, some as much as 24 hours a day.
“Our trucks are designed to satisfy these unique needs. They feature higher cooling capacities to handle heavier weights and hotter conditions, more robust construction to manage the roughest roads, and embody a design philosophy that ensures cost-effective maintenance and reliability. And, before model’s are introduced, test vehicles undergo millions of kilometres of road testing in Australia’s harshest conditions to ensure they meet Kenworth’s standards,” he added.
Dozier said Kenworth’s 42 years of local manufacturing has a significant ripple effect that has benefited many Australian industries.
The company employs more than 800 staff in Melbourne, the majority of whom are directly or indirectly involved in the manufacturing operations. It also supports the industry’s best nationwide network of PACCAR dealers who employ about 3000 people throughout Australia. In addition, the company supports a variety of local suppliers who provide the majority of the parts and materials which make a Kenworth.
As part of its manufacturing commitment, Kenworth has made a substantial investment in design engineering. This enables it to purpose-build trucks with extremely short lead times, according to the company.
Established in 1992 near Wagga Wagga, RTS has grown from a small business running three trucks to a major regional transport operation with two depots boasting large storage facilities for up to 100,000 pallets of stock and 20,000 tons of grain harvested from the Riverina.
The company operates a Kenworth fleet of 104 prime movers configured with tanker, tautliner and tipper trailers for handling a diverse range of duties. The trucks haul everything from general and container freight to industrial products, scrap metals and waste throughout the eastern states and SA. In addition, the Kenworths transport livestock and a variety of agricultural products, including fertilizers, lime, gypsum, and grain.