Kenworth sweeps 2007 J.D. Power Heavy Duty awards

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Kenworth Truck Co. announced Wednesday, Aug. 22, that it achieved the highest ranking in customer satisfaction among Class 8 truck owners in the Over The Road, Pickup and Delivery, and Vocational Segments, according to the new J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Heavy Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study.

Kenworth also announced at the Great American Trucking Show in Dallas that its new medium-duty conventional models — the T270 Class 6 and T370 Class 7 — will enter production in the fourth quarter. In addition, the truck maker is displaying a Paccar heavy-duty engine in a Kenworth Class 8 model for the first time at GATS.

The 2007 J.D. Power and Associates study is based on interviews with 2,677 primary maintainers of Class 8 trucks. Kenworth says it is the first truck manufacturer to sweep all three major product segment awards since the J.D. Power and Associates Heavy Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Study was introduced in 2003. This year’s study marks the third consecutive year that Kenworth received both the Over The Road and Pickup and Delivery awards and at least three of the four Heavy Duty awards bestowed annually. Kenworth’s latest honors increased its total to 11 Heavy Duty awards, which it says is more than any other truck manufacturer.

“Kenworth has an outstanding track record of delivering the highest levels of customer satisfaction in the industry in terms of performance, quality and cost of ownership,” says Bob Christensen, general manager of Kirkland, Wash.-based Kenworth and Paccar vice president. “On behalf of our customers and dealers, Kenworth is very honored to earn all three 2007 Class 8 product segment awards presented by J.D. Power and Associates. Kenworth employees take great pride in designing and building the World’s Best products.”

“Kenworth’s engineering investments have focused on providing outstanding new innovative products that exceed customer expectations and contribute to their efficient operating results,” says Mike Dozier, Kenworth chief engineer. “The new Kenworth T660, Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system and medium-duty hybrid trucks have set the industry standard for enhanced performance and improved customer profitability.”

Medium-duty production

Kenworth T270 and T370 applications include food and beverage distributors, propane and fuel fleets, towing and recovery operators, general construction and landscape firms, and dry, refrigerated and side-curtain van operations. Kenworth’s medium-duty product line also will continue to include the K260 Class 6 and K360 Class 7 cabover models.

“The Kenworth T270 Class 6 and T370 Class 7 models will provide outstanding quality, performance and durability, and are great additions to Kenworth’s medium-duty product line,” says Gary Moore, Kenworth assistant general manager for marketing and sales. “Customers will appreciate the world-class lighting system, stylish hood and grille, and excellent value for a wide range of medium-duty applications.”

Both models are available with the Paccar PX-6 engine rated to 325 hp and 750 lb-ft of torque, and with the Paccar PX-8 engine rated to 330 hp and 1,000 lb-ft of torque. Customers can choose manual or automatic transmissions and air or hydraulic brakes. Both models offer many exhaust options for the various wheelbases, especially important to body builders that work with medium-duty customers.

Kenworth says the T270 and T370 feature new halogen projector low-beam headlamps with 30 percent more light down the road and three times longer life than sealed beam headlamps. The hood is made of sheet-molded composite for enhanced fit and finish, while a new hood assist device and 90-degree hood tilt opening are intended to offer superior access to the engine compartment for ease of service. A one-piece chrome or painted bumper and new Metton quarter fenders are designed to provide additional durability and impact resistance.

Inside is an ergonomically-friendly, wrap-around instrument panel with large, easy-to-read glare-free gauges, the company says. The fully trimmed cab is designed to be quiet with no doghouse, which helps to greatly reduce interior noise. Standard features include power door locks, passenger-side electric windows (optional on the driver’s side) and Kenworth DayLite doors with peeper window. Drivers also will appreciate the 50-degree wheel cut for excellent maneuverability.

Engines on display

At GATS — set for today, Aug. 23-Saturday, Aug. 25 at the Dallas Convention Complex — a Kenworth T800 test truck with a 12.9-liter Paccar engine produced for the North American market is being displayed in Kenworth’s booth (No. 11117) during the show. The Kenworth test truck is part of a fleet of vehicles with Paccar engines undergoing extensive testing in North America.

“Kenworth is testing Paccar heavy-duty engines in a wide variety of applications, terrains and climate conditions,” Dozier says. “The engine test program includes test cell work, testing on the Paccar Technical Center track in Mount Vernon, Wash., and road tests. These tests are serving to validate designs and manufacturing processes and will ensure that these heavy-duty engines will be ready for eventual introduction into Kenworth Class 8 trucks.”

Paccar says its DAF division in Europe has 50 years of experience in heavy-duty diesel engine design and manufacturing. Paccar says it is leveraging this experience and quality as it works toward supplying engines for Kenworth Class 8 trucks in North America. Paccar held a groundbreaking ceremony for its new engine plant in Columbus, Miss., in July; the $400 million facility, due to be completed in 2009, will include a 420,000-square-foot engine plant and technology center on a 400-acre site.

Some of the new engines will be installed at the Kenworth plant in Chillicothe, Ohio, which recently completed a 105,000-square-foot expansion. Kenworth says the expansion increases its overall plant capacity by 20 percent to position the company for market expansion and enhance the quality of its vehicles.

Other engines on display in Kenworth’s GATS booth include the Paccar PX-6 and PX-8 medium-duty engines currently available for Kenworth’s medium-duty conventional products, and the Paccar European 12.9-liter and 9.2-liter heavy-duty engines. In addition to the T800, the Kenworth booth has a Kenworth T660 with the Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system, W900 86-inch Studio AeroCab and a Class 5 T300 equipped for roll-on and roll-off applications.

Going green

The Kenworth Clean Power Technology Tour truck is visiting Dallas in conjunction with GATS. A few years ago, the term “going green” may have been a foreign concept to many of those operating trucks. Today, Kenworth says it is leading the way in providing heavy- and medium-duty “green” solutions.

“There is a groundswell of customer interest from an economic and environmental standpoint,” Christensen says. “We expect that interest to multiply as federal and state agencies become more aggressive in protecting the environment and reducing dependence on foreign oil. Alternative fuels and hybrid technology are here to stay. Kenworth is committed to design and build fuel-efficient trucks that help reduce emissions and decrease customer operating costs.”

Kenworth’s leadership in fuel conservation dates back to 1985 when the company introduced the industry’s first truly aerodynamic truck, the T600A. Today, Kenworth’s dedication to the “green fleet” extends to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s SmartWay program, Kenworth Clean Power no-idle system, Kenworth T800 liquefied natural gas trucks, medium-duty hybrid-electric vehicles and Paccar medium-duty engines.

Kenworth’s commitment was recognized recently when its aerodynamic T660 and T2000 models were acknowledged as SmartWay program eligible trucks by the EPA. In addition, the Kenworth T660 with 72-inch AeroCab sleeper is available with Kenworth Clean Power, which may enhance fuel economy by as much as 8 percent for customers with current high idling times, the company says. In response to positive customer reaction to its U.S. road show that began last spring, the Kenworth Clean Power Technology Tour recently added 25 more stops to further promote fuel savings, productivity and environmental responsibility.

Kenworth also received the Alternative Fuel Vehicle Institute’s 2007 Industry Innovation Award for alternative fuel trucks for the Kenworth T800 LNG truck. The award — which was shared with its Southern California dealer Inland Kenworth, Clean Energy and Westport Innovations — involves Kenworth T800s being placed into the port markets of Los Angeles and Long Beach, two of the nation’s busiest ports. The Kenworth T800s are equipped with the Westport Innovations LNG fuel system that runs primarily on liquefied natural gas and is installed on the Cummins 15-liter engine. The result is reduced emissions and less reliance on diesel fuel by running the cleaner LNG fuel, according to the company.

For more information on GATS, go to www.gatsonline.com.