Little Ts Join Kenworth Big Bro
The family planning for Kenworth Australia’s new “babies” started all of 11 years ago – when PACCAR in the United States launched its $400million (!) new-generation product (NGP) project.
That eyewatering investment was mainly about designing and developing a better-quality, wider cab as the cornerstone of a new Kenworth T680 and Peterbilt 579 for North America….but soon also became the basis for a new and improved, wide-cab Kenworth for Australia.
Another $20million worth of Aussie development work later, the T610 was born – a conventional that, as Kenworth said at the time, was “all about the cab.” Modern…high-tech even. And roomier, taller, stronger, better quality, better-fitting than anything of the same name that had gone before it.
And, best of all, an extra 300 millimetres wider than its predecessors. Yep, a spacious 2.1 metres across.
It was, the Kenworth team said at its launch, simply the “best-ever Kenworth built in Australia.”
And in the two years since, it’s certainly won an impressive slice of the market – popular enough to now account for “just under a third of what we do in the factory….so it’s certainly been very, very successful,” Kenworth Australia marketing manager Brad May reports.
Apparently, in Aussie, sales of the T610 and its more traditional T610SAR brother have now almost caught up to Kenworth’s No. 1, the K200 cabover. In NZ, not so much: Although popular (and increasingly so), it’s easily beaten by the K200 (with around 55%) and the T659 (approximately 25%), but still already commands around 15% of all KW sales.
From the outset, Kenworth Australia has always planned a whole family of new T models based on the 2.1m cab – “taking that cab platform if you like, and rolling it into the rest of our product lineup,” says May.
And now it’s happening – the birth of a couple of little Ts. Smaller brothers to the T610s – replacements, in fact, for the readymix concrete agitator specialist T359 and the local tipper/metro or regional freight-suited T409.
So here we are at the Anglesea truck proving ground in Victoria for the unveiling of the new Kenworth T360 and T410. They’re presented as not only wider in the cabs, but also better, safer, nicer (and easier) to drive versions of the models they’re replacing.
Hang on a minute! Are they really all of that? Didn’t Kenworth say at the launch of the T610 that “it’s all about the cab?” Yeah, it did. But now, with the new Ts, the message is that it’s that best-ever cab…AND much more besides.
Clearly, you can’t just plonk the T610 cab, as-is, directly onto T359 and T409 frames. And, in engineering the 2.1m cab for the little Ts, the designers came up with a bunch of other improvements...
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