February numbers pick up

The latest truck sales figures do not reinforce the pessimism of those earlier in the year. The Truck Industry Council has released the latest truck sales figures for February and appear to show confidence recovering in the trucking industry. The numbers of trucks sold in February are not going to break any records, but they do show a return to average sales in all market segments. Read more

Penske buys major stake in truck dealer group

Amid speculation the Penske Automotive Group is planning to extend its reach in the commercial vehicle sector in Australia, by acquiring a number of truck dealers here, the company has made a major acquisition in the US.

The announcement was made this week Penske increased its stake in the Around the Clock Freightliner Group (ATC) to 91 per cent, taking over control of the operation. ATC is a heavy and medium duty truck dealership group located in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico. Read more

Big week for Penske

It’s been just over nine months since Penske Commercial Vehicles took over the business of importing Western Star, MAN and Dennis Eagle trucks and buses into Australia. At the time, it was clear, Roger Penske was not going to stop there. If the one of the world’s largest automotive dealership groups, Penske Automotive Group, was going to engage with the Australian market it was bound to be on a much larger scale. Read more

Finding out about the new Western Star

Here is the video Western Star released to coincide with the launch of the new 5700 XE model onto the North American market. It’s a great video, dynamic, exciting with loud music.

 

Unfortunately, it tells us virtually nothing about the new model. Don’t despair, the next issue of Diesel Magazine will have a run down on the details and specifications plus, perhaps, a picture of Western Star’s plans for the truck in Australia.

Aerodynamic Western Star?

A new model has been introduced to the Western Star range in the US. The new 5700 XE has a new swept back aerodynamic design to improve fuel consumption. As yet, the Penske organisation in Australia, which imports the Western Star, has made no comment about whether this model could eventually make it onto Australian roads.

 

The truck market in North America has shown a great appetite, in recent years, for a truck designed to minimise fuel consumption. Lighter mass, improved drag coefficients and low friction drive lines have become the order of the day. Heavy duty market leader the Freightliner Cascadia and its nearest rival, the International Prostar, have achieved high sales numbers on their aerodynamic performance, low cruising rpm and, resulting low fuel use.

 

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Now, Western Star has entered the game. Admittedly, the 5700 XE still has the large distinctive front grille, but the rest of the bonnet and cabin design show how much time the designers spent working in the wind tunnel in Portland, Oregon.

 

For US operators looking to save on fuel the most economical spec of the new model features an integrated Detroit power train. This uses a DD15 engine rated at just 400 hp and 1750 ft lb of torque. This links up to the Detroit DT12 transmission, which is the US adaptation of the Mercedes Benz 12 speed AMT sold in Europe. This is all controlled by Detroit’s Intelligent Powertrain Management and drives through Detroit rear axles with tall diffs to ensure lower rpm levels at cruising speed.

 

For those who are looking for more performance, at the expense of some of the fuel saving gains, the truck will be offered with both DD 15 and DD 16 engines, up to 600 hp for the North American market. The DT 12 transmission is standard, but other more conventional options will be available.

 

Speculation as to whether this model will make it to our shores will revolve around the preferences of the Australian truck buyer and the image the Western Star has in this country. The Star’s uncompromising, upright and rugged style is one of its main strengths. Perhaps a swept back modern styling will appeal to a different segment of the market.

 

Penske starts truck rental

Penske Truck Leasing, from the US, is to enter a joint venture with Penske Commercial Vehicles in Australia to start a truck rental business here. To be named Penske Commercial Leasing Australia, the operation will operate under the brand name, Penske Truck Rental.

 

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This development has been widely expected since the Penske operation took over the business importing Western Star, MAN and Dennis Eagle into Australia. The Penske automotive retail empire in the US has been built on strong systems to offer a complete solution to truck operators. Renting trucks has been a major plank in the Penske model.

 

“We have an ambitious growth plan for our truck leasing and rental businesses,” said Brian Hard, President and CEO Penske Truck Leasing. “This new location will serve as a foundation for us to begin expanding and serving commercial truck fleet customers throughout Australia.”

 

The Penske Truck Rental operation has set up its first office at the Brisbane Truck Centre in Rocklea, Queensland. Initially consisting of 20 trucks, the fleet of MAN and Western Star prime movers will be offered for rental as of this week.

 

“We’re excited to bring a new level of customer service as well as quality, well-maintained rental vehicles to Australia’s trucking and logistics industry,” said Adrian Beach, General Manager of Penske Commercial Leasing Australia. “We plan to expand rental services into other areas in coming months.”

 

“To help ensure convenience and productivity all Penske rental trucks are equipped with toll transponders, GPS units, and have full fuel tanks on pick up.”

On the road with the V8s

Well made video talking to the guys who move the V8 Supercars of the Ford Performance Racing team around Australia.

Truck sales still soft

After a period in which truck sales figures have been depressed, the latest sales numbers for May, published by the Truck Industry Council, are not giving us signs of recovery, and are still down on last year’s figures. After a period where heavy duty showed signs of recovery while medium and light duty remained in the doldrums, the situation now sees all segments staying around the same levels and slightly below where they were 12 months ago. Read more

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

Penske very interested in Australia

Talking to an audience of analysts and journos at the earnings call for the Penske Automotive Group in the USA, this week, the company’s Chairman of the Board and CEO, Roger Penske talked about the company’s move into Australia after the purchase of the of Transpacific’s Commercial Vehicle Group, which imports and sells the Western Star, MAN and Dennis Eagle brands in Australia. The organisation is now known as Penske Commercial Vehicles. Read more