Australia’s number one heavy-duty truck manufacturer,Kenworth, has delivered its 60,000th Australian-designed and built truck at its Bayswater plant in Melbourne.
Andrew Hadjikakou, Managing Director of PACCAR Australia, handed the keys of the T610SAR prime mover to long-standing Kenworth customer Peter Wickham, co-founder of Wickham Freight Lines – one of Australia’s largest privately-owned transport companies, at an event at Kenworth’s head office and factory in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.
Andrew said Kenworth’s achievement in manufacturing 60,000 trucks was a major milestone, not only for the company and its dealer group, but for its suppliers, the vast majority of whom are local.
“Celebrating key production milestones is a Kenworth tradition, one that began in April 1974 when we handed over the keys to truck number 1,000. Since then we’ve celebrated each major milestone, leading to today, when we hand over the keys to the 60,000th truck that’s rolled off the Kenworth production line since we began designing and manufacturing uniquely Australian trucks in 1971,” Mr Hadjikakou said.
Andrew said Australia had 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.
“The heavy-duty truck market in Australia is one of the most competitive in the world,” Andrew stated. “In an industry with no tariff protection, no government financial assistance and often volatile exchange rate movements, Kenworth successfully maintains its status as the market leader against 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,” he said.
Mr Hadjikakou said Kenworth’s more than 45 years of local manufacturing have a significant ripple effect that has benefited many Australian industries and Australians.
Wickham Freight Lines takes possession of 60,000th Kenworth
Mr Hadjikakou said it was fitting Kenworth’s milestone truck was built for Wickham Freight Lines as they are one of their long term customers.
“It’s gratifying to receive this milestone vehicle,” Darren Eather, Chief Executive of Wickham Freight Lines, said at the official hand-over. “We have been working with PACCAR for many years; it’s being part of a team. They satisfy all of our trucking needs – not just sales, but also finance, servicing and parts. PACCAR take the stress out of maintaining a large and diverse fleet, enabling us to focus on improving our service to customers,” Mr Eather said.
Wickhams is one of the largest privately-owned transport companies in Australia. With its unique head office in the shape of a Kenworth K108 cabover in Warwick, Queensland, the company now operates a Kenworth fleet of 160 prime movers with its distinctive red and white livery. Wickhams employs various Kenworth models to handle different applications, but the fleet is predominantly the cabover K200.
Mr Eather says the T610, like all Kenworth models, offers significant advantages compared with other American-style and European brands he has tried over the years.
“We have bought almost 250 Kenworths, and we continue to buy them every year because it’s good for business. With Just In Time (JIT) deliveries now the norm, our customers need our trucks there on time every time. Kenworths are designed and manufactured in Australia for Australia’s harsh environments and applications. And Kenworth builds trucks to our exact specifications and requirements – and that makes all the difference,” he said.
“Kenworth trucks are more reliable, durable and cost effective to run. They can handle hard work, long hours and many years of service. It’s no wonder our drivers love them. The trucks are also safe and comfortable to operate, and they perform well under any conditions,” he explained.
Mr Eather says Kenworth’s nationwide dealer network, also plays an integral role in its transport efficiency. “Our trucks cover a lot of territory, so it’s comforting to know that if they ever have a problem, there’s a Kenworth dealer nearby,” he added.
Kenworth trucks are designed and manufactured in Australia to meet the world’s toughest applications. Kenworth, a division of PACCAR Australia, is market leader in heavy duty trucks in Australia. Its trucks are also exported to Papua New Guinea and New Zealand. PACCAR Inc, a Six Sigma company, is a global technology leader in the design, manufacture and customer support of high-quality light, medium, and heavy-duty trucks under the Peterbilt and DAF brands. PACCAR also designs and manufactures advanced diesel engines, provides financial services and truck rental and leasing services and distributes truck parts related to its principal business.