It was a great opportunity, driving the new Kenworth T410 and T360, this is the next step for Kenworth in the process of integrating their new cabin concept across the whole range. Diesel News look the trucks for a short test drive.
The two new models from Kenworth are the T410 and the T360, effectively replacing the current T409 and the T359. These are the latest updates to the Kenworth range, as the 2.1 metre wide standard cabin design works its way across the offering from the Bayswater-based company.
The first in the sequence was the introduction of the T610, which came out two years ago and has been accepted as a viable model. In fact, the T610 and the T610 SAR has comprised over 30 per cent of the recent production at Paccar’s assembly plant in Bayswater.
This is not just a new cabin introduction; it is radical progression of the Paccar product in Australia, designed to keep up-to-date with developments in the US and in Europe. Along with the 2.1 metre cab shell there is also the latest electronic architecture. Gone is the tightly packed spaghetti of wiring behind the dash.This has been replaced with a state-of-the-art CANbus – electronic control and sensors all communicating and powered through the same channels.
While the rest of the Kenworth range, now becoming known as the ‘legacy’ models, were conceived in the pre-electronic age, the new truck models are capable of handling the future demands of ever-increasing sophistication in systems. The new trucks are able to offer, as options, all of the latest and greatest safety equipment, like active cruise control, lane keeping, reversing camera, dash cams and more.
This increased computing power also puts more data at the disposal of both the driver and the operator. All of the parameters a driver needs are available from scrolling through the screens and there is also a suite of driving tips that mark a driver’s performance and congratulates them when they do a good job.
It is important to understand that Kenworth are thinking very differently about how they build trucks than they were 20 years ago. The customised Kenworth trucks are highly prized and the brand’s reputation was built on the truck maker’s ability to build a truck to suit the task in a tailormade way. This led to the development of a diverse offering of trucks with many interchangeable components.
Truck manufacturing and technology have changed swiftly in recent years and many customers are looking for vehicles with sophisticated electronics to control, monitor and keep the truck safe. At the same time the number of components available to the Kenworth buyer has diminished with the growth of the proprietary driveline by global truck manufacturing groups.
Paccar as a group has the capacity to build these highly sophisticated systems in both Europe and North America. There has also been a move towards a more proprietary driveline with the introduction of the Paccar engines and, now, even a Paccar-branded transmission.
At the same time, Kenworth sales in Australia continue to boom – they dominate the heavy duty market. The relatively small plant at Bayswater has been undergoing a series of improvements and reconfigurations to make it more efficient and increase build capacity. Now, an new extension is being built to increase capacity even more to cope with increased demand.
One of the premier efficiencies being developed is the use of a single design for a standard 2.1 metre wide cabin across much of the top selling range. This simplifies the building process, speeds it up and reduces the costs of research and development across the range. The new design also includes an electronic architecture capable of taking the Kenworth product into the foreseeable technological future.