New low entry model from Volvo

In Europe, Volvo has released a new model to its range. The Volvo FE LEC is a modified version of the FE model, released in Australia at the recent ITTES in Melbourne. The LEC stands for low entry cab and sees the cabin redesigned forward in front of the steer axle and lowered closer to the ground for easier ingress and egress for the driver.


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The new model design uses all of the components of the current FE but rearranges them to suit applications like garbage and other tasks where the driver gets in and out of the cab many times a day. The floor of the low entry cab is only 530 mm off the ground and this can be lowered a further 90 mm by using the ‘kneeling’ function of the front suspension.


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Seeing these new Volvo FE LEC trucks on Australian roads any time soon is extremely unlikely. Historically, the Volvo design and layout has been found to be too heavy for the requirements of the Australian garbage industry and the FE models are assembled in Europe, giving little chance for the kind of customisation our very particular garbage industry specifies.


The garbage truck market has become more interesting in recent years with the entry of other new brands into the market. The long-time dominance of the Iveco Acco has been challenged by the introduction of the Dennis Eagle brand and the Mercedes Benz Econic, both introduced from Europe and adapted, in different ways to suit Australia. Volvo does not look set to join the fight in this market segment.

Penske plans for Australia

In a earnings call for the Penske Automotive Group at the end of the first quarter, the management group of the multinational automotive company took questions from analysts on the results so far and plans for the future. Read more

Paccar stabilises in the Territory

After the announcement about the decision by Western Diesel to go into receivership in early April, the situation surrounding the two Paccar brands in the Northern Territory has been in question. The situation has been resolved, this week, with an announcement by Paccar of a deal to bring in CJD Equipment as the company’s representatives in the state.


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CJD have considerable experience with both Kenworth and DAF as they already own dealer groups selling the two brands in Western Australia and Tasmania. The company will take over the Paccar related business formerly run by Western Diesel, after coming to an arrangement with the receiver who is handling the former dealer’s affairs.


Handing the business over to CJD should mean Kenworth and DAF customers will see a continuing support for the Paccar product. CJD has been dealing with trucks in remote areas like the Pilbara and around mining areas like Kalgoorlie for some time , so will be able to bring its considerable experience to bear in remote situations.

Management changes at Hino

A restructure of the management at Hino has taken place, after the departure of Alex Stewart to take over as General Manager at Foton Trucks. Responsibilities have been reallocated within departments and two new roles are to be filled by Bill Gillespie and Daniel Petrovski.


Gillespie has been made the Divisional Manager Brand and Franchise Development. He comes to the company from a management career in the car sector, working for Nissan, Toyota, Kia and Peugeot, and running his own business Obeya Consulting.




His new role is will see him responsible for a number of areas within the Hino organisation, in dealer development, after-sales management, corporate brand development, marketing and customer care duties. Gillespie has worked with Hino Chairman and CEO, Steve Lotter, at Toyota in the past.


“After a lifetime of work in the passenger vehicle market, I’m looking forward to the challenges in the truck industry,” said Gillespie. “I’ve timed it well, we’ve got very competitive products in the light, medium and heavy duty segments, plus the advantage of Hino’s hybrid trucks and the new high horsepower models in the 300 Series range. I’ve worked successfully with Steve Lotter in the past, I can see nothing but a bright future for Hino in Australia and I’m glad to be a part of it.”




Petrovski is being promoted to the role of Manager Product Strategy after seven years with Hino. The product strategy role oversees product planning and strategies, engineering, development and homologation for Hino Australia, as well as working with both Hino Japan and local third-party suppliers.


“The new position consists of a number of business critical functions,” said Petrovski. “My team and I work closely with our sales and marketing divisions, our dealers and our customers, identifying the most suitable product line-up and model mix for our customers’ unique needs. This area of the business is basically the funnel between the Hino’s factory engineers and the Australian market.


“I appreciate that Hino Australia has helped and encouraged me to develop my career within the organisation to the point where I can now provide Australian market expertise and local knowledge direct to the Hino engineers in Japan, for the development of Australian market specific vehicles.”

Cummins Foton joint venture in China

A new truck has been launched in China by Foton fitted with the new Cummins ISG 11 and 12 engines, designed specifically for the truck and built by the Cummins/Foton joint venture in Beijing, China.




The truck released by Foton to utilise the new engine is the GTL model, itself developed as part of Foton’s business relationship with Daimler Trucks. The new truck has a similar look of the Mercedes Benz Actros, probably as a result of the relationship with Daimler.


In its initial launch the truck is aimed at the Chinese truck market but it can be assumed as the truck matures it will be offered to other countries. With Cummins involved there should be little problem engineering the technology to meet different emission rules around the world.


The ISG is a completely new engine series from Cummins with 10.5 and 11.8 litre engine capacities available. Power ratings are set all of the way from 310 hp up to 490 hp (231 to 365 kW), with torque ratings from 1490 Nm to 2305 Nm (1100 to 1700 ft lb).


According to Cummins the new ISG design uses 50 per cent less components and weighs 30 per cent less than the equivalent Cummins ISX 11, as sold in the US market. This engine follows the earlier ISF 2.8 and 3.8 litre engines now being used in Foton trucks and utes sold in Australia.


Here is a video about the Foton Cummins engine plant in China:

Ambitious expansion of CNG

AGL Energy have announced plans to open a series of compressed natural gas (CNG) refuelling facilities across the East Coast of Australia. The new sites will be both public and on-site refuelling stations and aimed specifically at commercial vehicles.


The process is planned to start this year with the first sites opening in the Melbourne area. The roll-out is slated to be situated in key locations to suit freight routes and enable transport companies to utilise the fuel.


“The sixth largest country by landmass, Australia’s road transport sector is central to our economy, getting food from farms to homes and connecting businesses to markets,” said AGL Managing Director ,Michael Fraser revealed at the ITTES during the launch. “The transport sector is also the second most energy intensive industry in Australia. A rising proportion of our road transport sector is also fuelled by foreign crude and fuel imports, increasing from 60 percent in 2000 to over 90 percent today. Diversifying our fuel mix and building an alternative fuels industry locally, is part of the solution to developing a more resilient economy.”


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The launch saw a number of examples of the kind of vehicles available now, powered by CNG. There were two Isuzu trucks, an FSR and NLR alongside an Iveco Daily with CNG engine. Elsewhere on the Melbourne Showground site Dennis Eagle had unveiled a CNG powered truck with an innovative high density gas storage from Intelligas.


AGL Smart CNG is following in the footsteps of a number of similar projects launched in the past. They have had limited success but been hampered by a lack of government financial support for alternative fuels, an increase in the price of natural gas and only a small number of trucks capable of using CNG on the local market.


One of the problems is the limited number of tasks for which CNG is appropriate. Fleets of garbage trucks and buses with set routes are ideal but freight vehicle with varying routes need flexibility of fuel supply, something a limited number of CNG filling stations cannot offer.


Natural gas is getting traction in the US with subsidies available and many trucks on set local routes. There are 120,000 natural gas powered truck on their roads, probably enough to justify an increase in refuelling infrastructure. Those sot of numbers are unthinkable in Australia for a long time.


Until then, we are in a chicken and egg situation. If there were more filling stations, the industry would buy more trucks. If they bought more trucks, the truck manufacturers would bring a wider range in. If there are more CNG trucks on the road, more CNG service stations would spring up. If…if…if…AGL will probably need deep pockets and nerves of steel to get this one up. Good luck to them!

Mixed messages from TIC truck market data

With the release of the latest truck sales numbers from the Truck Industry Council, there is no clear indication about how the trucking industry is approaching investing in new trucks. Although more trucks were sold in March 2014, when compared to 2013, the overall number so far this year is down on last year. Read more

The ascent of MAN

Some quality video footage of MAN trucks in Australia started to appear some time last year and impressed with the quality of imagery it used and positive realism about truck tasks. The videos have made their way to YouTube but have not been seen more broadly.

The latest release tells the story of an elevated platform on a large 8×8 MAN, sit back and enjoy.

Last year the story of a truck in the Cameron Group fleet appeared:

New engine from Kenworth

Kenworth officially launch the new Paccar MX engine this week, with a series of events at the Anglesea test track in Victoria and an official unveiling at the International Truck Trailer and Equipment Show in Melbourne. This will be the first proprietary engine to be available in a Kenworth truck in Australia.

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A Kenworth T409 fitted with the new Paccar MX 13 engine at the Anglesea test track

The 13 litre MX has been a long time coming, but finally made to our shores. The engine has been available here for several years fitted in the DAF range and sold in the US in some Kenworth and Peterbilt product.


Surprisingly, the version of the MX chosen for the Australian truck market is the European model. As a result, the T409 and T409SAR models fitted with the new engine will be using a 24 volt electrical system, another first for the Kenworth brand anywhere in the world.


“The MX-13 engine is set to be a game-changer in Australia’s mid-range heavy-duty market,” said Brad May, Paccar Australia’s Product Development Manager. “It utilises next-generation technologies to deliver higher levels of fuel efficiency, reliability, and performance from a quiet power plant.”


The Paccar MX13 is a six cylinder in-line turbo charged diesel engine and is going to be available rated at 460 hp (343 kW) and 510 hp (380 kW), offering 2305 Nm (1700 ft lb) of torque at 460 and at 510, it puts out 2508 Nm (1850 ft lb), in the rpm range from 1000 to 1410 rpm.

Diesel Magazine took the opportunity to test drive the new engine in the Kenworth models on the test track and a full report will be in the May issue of the magazine

Previews to ITTES popping up

It’s the week before a major trucks show and the exhibitors at the International Truck, Trailer and Equipment Show are starting to get press releases out there to give us sneak previews of what new things we will be seeing at the Melbourne Showground from April 3 to 6. Of course, there will be some surprises actually at the show but feeding a few titbits in the week before the ITTES gets the public in a ‘show’ mood.


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The big stories of the show are already in the public domain. Kenworth will be showing the new Paccar MX 13 engine fitted in their trucks. The new Volvo FM, FMX and FE will be unveiled at the show for the first time in Australia.


This week, it has been announced, Iveco will be displaying a new compressed natural gas (CNG) engined Daily van at the ITTES in a display jointly organised with AGL, the natural gas and electricity supply company. The 3 litre CNG engine puts out 134 hp and 350 Nm of torque while offering a lower carbon power alternative.


Another van display, this time from Renault, is intended to demonstrate the ‘diverse universe’ of the Master van from the French manufacturer. Renault’s first visit to the show comes as the range continues to grow alongside sales of the Renault van range. There will be rear and front wheel drive models, both cab chassis and van on the stand, with various engine and gearbox options demonstrated.


Show visitors will be able to ride a Harley Davidson at the Freightliner stand, which also includes the Revolution Innovation concept truck. Isuzu will be emphasising the accessories available including, bull bars, reversing cameras,tyre pressure monitoring and daytime running lights alongside the new, high horsepower, Limited Edition F Series models released to celebrate 25 years as number one in the truck market.




The trailer display pavilion will include an innovation in side tipping technology. Air Tip’s name gives the game away, they are introducing an air powered side tipper system to the market. The inventor, Clarke Petrick, came up with idea when working as a geophysicist on mine sites. It uses the existing air circuits on the truck to activate and power the tipping mechanism.


Kreuger will be displaying the Steelbro range on their stand for the first time since they announced their partnership in the Australian market.


Word has it, there is a major new initiative to be announced by TransHelp, the driver’s health and well-being support organisation. It is also pretty certain the Iveco Daily won’t be the only alternative fuel engine debuting at the ITTES.