A review of the trucks making the news by Ed Higginson and Chris Mullett.

After a two-year wait, Australia’s trucking industry came together in Brisbane for the Southern Hemisphere’s largest truck show at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.

With some major advances in trucks showcased less than six months ago in Europe at the IAA Hanover, and in March for the Mid-America Truck Show, visitors were eager to see what would be coming down under. No-one left disappointed.

Whether your interest lay in seeing the latest trucks and trailers, understanding the newest technologies and accessories, or simply networking, this year’s show had it all, with more than 250 stands.

As expected of the leading heavy truck brand, PACCAR Australia had one of the largest stands, showcasing the latest offerings from Kenworth and DAF.

Visitors to this year’s PACCAR World stand found a selection of 12 world-class Kenworth and DAF trucks, along with an extensive range of support solutions.

PACCAR Australia’s Director of Sales and Marketing, Brad May, said: “Truck buyers are looking for a total ownership solution from their commercial vehicle supplier.

“The PACCAR World stand at this year’s Brisbane Truck Show again reflects this holistic approach and patrons will see truck and engine displays, as well as having access to PACCAR Financial and PacLease experts, parts and service personnel, and the much-loved PACCAR merchandise range.”

From the American side of the family, KENWORTH launched its new T410 and T360 models in a range of configurations. Taking the impressive 2.1-metre cab launched in the T610 in December 2016, Kenworth has applied its features to the smaller models to bring them right up to date.

The new models feature a range of important improvements in visibility and a reduction in the bumper-to-back-of-cab length (BBC), new exterior and interior styling, improved safety features and a range of mechanical improvements.

Available with the Cummins ISLe5 engine rated from 280 to 400 hp (209 to 298 kW) and either an Allison transmission, an Eaton Manual or Eaton UltraShift PLUS transmission, the T360 is well suited to a range of applications.

Next up in the Kenworth range was the all-new T410 with a set-back front axle and optimal BBC dimensions. It can be rated up to 70 tonnes GCM and is available in three sleeper options − the 600 mm Aero, 760 mm Mid Roof and 860 mm Aero.

Powered by the PACCAR MX-13, the T410 is available in either 460 or 510 hp (343 or 380 kW) outputs and gets the new PACCAR transmission for operations up to 50 tonnes GCM. For applications up to 70 tonnes GCM, an Eaton manual or UltraShift PLUS automated transmission is available.

Alongside the new T360 and T410 were Kenworth’s bigger models, the T610 and T610SAR, both of which have been very successful since their release in late 2016. They now come with the new 600 mm sleeper and 1400 mm sleeper respectively.

Rounding out the Kenworth display was the K200 with an impressive 2.8-metre sleeper cab including a king single mattress and the Euro 6 Cummins X15 engine, plus the iconic T909 with a 1270 mm sleeper.

From PACCAR’s European arm, DAF’s locally assembled FTT CF85.510 took pride of place, wrapped in distinctive Australian flag branding, alongside the FTT XF105.510. Unfortunately, neither model came with the updated Euro 6 cab or the electric power alternative that is now available in Europe, but we are assured these will be coming soon.

DAF also showed its smaller models, the Euro 6 FA LF260 12 t and FA LF290 18 t 4×2 cab/chassis models, introduced to the Australian market late in 2018.

VOLVO officially launched its long-awaited XXL Globetrotter FH Cab, offering a 130 mm-longer and 250 mm-wider mattress (at 1065mm) than a standard FH cab. The new XXL is 40 percent larger than the XL, and 13 percent longer than the previous FH XXL cab.

The previous FH XXL Globetrotter cab had great success in Australia before the launch of the new shape FH in 2012. At the time, Volvo couldn’t justify developing a special cab just for the Australian market; but times change, and the XXL has hit the market.

To achieve the extra dimensions, Volvo re-engineered the XL Globetrotter cab by moving the rear wall back 250 mm to create a better space for living away from home; adding a new, larger inner-sprung mattress and more lockers for personal equipment and clothing storage. It’s imported completely assembled from Volvo’s cab plant in Umea, in Western Sweden.

Tony O’Connell, Vice President of Volvo Trucks Australia, said: “Australia is one of a very few selected markets that will see the all-new XXL cab, and it has been designed with Australia’s vast distances in mind.”

Volvo’s stand wasn’t just about the size of its cab. Being a leader in vehicle safety solutions, Volvo Trucks has introduced “Distance Alert”, which makes it easier for truck drivers to keep a safer distance from the vehicle ahead and avoid critical situations. The Collision Warning with Emergency Brake system is available in the Volvo FH, Volvo FH16, Volvo FM, Volvo FMX, Volvo FE and Volvo FL models.

Also newly released is the Volvo FE low entry cab version. Originating from a programme to improve the safety of refuse vehicles working in inner city applications, the FE low entry cab brings the driver into the sightline of other road users and pedestrians, adding low-step access into the design that is further improved by a kneeling function built into the airbag suspension that drops the entry height by a further 90 mm.

Truck shows provide the ideal opportunity to showcase special promotions, and 2019 was no exception. In pride of place on the Volvo display was a tribute to the FH model celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

As one might expect, the FH 25 Year Special Edition featured all the latest developments from the Swedish manufacturer. These included the I-Shift Dual Clutch – the first and only dual-clutch transmission in a commercial heavy-vehicle; iSee – smart technology that predicts the topography ahead in order to save fuel and reduce emissions; plus Autonomous Emergency Brake, Lane Change Support and Driver Alert and Volvo Dynamic Steering with Lane Keeping Assist.

Not to be outshone by the Volvo brand, MACK impressed with its new Mack Anthem, which was launched in America last year and will hit Australia in mid-2020.

With its modern North American styling both inside and out, and now with a fully integrated sleeper, we expect the Anthem will win many fans when it goes on sale.  The first models available will be based on a 6×4 and 8×4 chassis and, according to Dean Bestwick, vice president of Mack Trucks Australia, the appeal of the new styling with its advanced safety features − such as Bendix Wingman, plus its superior ergonomics − will include a full stand-up sleeper cab.

Celebrating 100 years in Australia, MACK was proud to show the Australian-made logo and showcased its local engineering by developing a prototype short-nosed Superliner. By lifting the cab, MACK can move the engine rearward to shorten the chassis and BBC measurement, thereby suiting a wider range of linehaul operations, particularly for 34-pallet applications. The driveline utilises the MP10 engine, 13- or 14-speed heavy-duty mDrive transmission, and Mack rear-end.

Alongside its American and European stablemates, UD had its heavy-duty truck, the Quon, which expands from the existing 11-litre to include an 8-litre alternative.  The CD 6×2 and CW 8×4 offers the 8-litre with its 360 hp (263 kW) output at 2200 rpm and 1428 Nm of torque available from 1200 to 1600 rpm. The new engine boasts a tare weight improvement of 300 kg, when compared with that of the 11-litre. It comes with ABS, EBS, lane departure warning systems and disc brakes.

Next up the UD ranks comes the all new Croner for the medium-duty market, with a 4×2 and 6×2 due for release in January 2020. The Croner replaces the previous Condor and comes to market after a test-and-development programme that covered 1.5 million kilometres.

As Mark Strambi, vice president of UD Trucks Australia, told PowerTorque: “With UD, the task is to go the extra mile and deliver ‘smart’ solutions. Our journey moves us from the medium market to the lower entry end of the heavy-duty market. It’s the best product line-up we have ever had – but it will continue to move further.”

With a GVM of 17.5 tonnes and a EURO 5 SCR engine rated at 280 hp (209 kW), the new Croner will give UD a strong model to target the medium-duty Japanese truck sector. The order book will open in Q4 for the PK 18 280 and the PD 25 280, with delivery commencing in early February. Early adopters will also benefit from a two-year free servicing offer, which is a change of marketing strategy for a brand that possesses such a strong identity; especially with operations in local councils and municipal fleets that date back 40 years to the UD CWA 45 models that helped to forge the brand’s reputation.

In an exclusive interview with PowerTorque, Volvo Group Australia President and CEO Martin Merrick confirmed that the group’s Volvo, Mack and UD brands will, for the time being, remain at Euro 5 levels, with no current plans to introduce Euro 6 emissions standards prior to legislative requirements.

“The mantra of service success is to understand the customer and deliver the level of service they expect and demand,” he said. “VGA global sales in Q1 increased by 20 percent, with an associated increase to profit margins leading to the group being able to offer more competitive finance options.

“We made 14 percent more truck deliveries in a global market, and in Australia we increased market share for both Volvo and Mack. Last year we set a new production record for our Wacol plant in Queensland, and recorded the second-best year ever for Mack Trucks Australia.

“The factory is operating at over maximum capacity and we will be making a $25 million additional investment over the next three years, following on from the $50 million invested in the past five years.”    

SCANIA brought a modern-looking stand to Brisbane to show the full range of its New Truck Generation. Its flagship R-series cab fitted with the new 650 hp (485 kW) V8 Euro 6 engine took pride of place.

Alongside were two G-series cabs both fitted with the 500 hp (373 kW) six-cylinder Euro 6 engine; one in G 500 road freight guise ideal for high cubic capacity B-double work, and a G 500 XT ideal for construction, complete with a tipper body.

In line with Scania’s global commitment to alternative fuel solutions, a P 340 Euro 6, 6×2 gas-fuelled rigid truck was launched for the first time in Australia. Fitted with twin large-capacity compressed natural gas tanks, it’s an ideal truck for operating around the cities.

Currently, Scania’s Euro 6 sales account for 90 percent of its deliveries in Australia; so, unsurprisingly, its entire range on display was Euro 6 compliant.

Dean Dal Santo, Director of Sales for Scania Trucks in Australia , commented: “The Brisbane Truck Show gives Scania the first opportunity to display to the market a comprehensive array of NTG trucks, from the innovative P 340 CNG-fuelled 6×2 rigid, to the P 280 lightweight six-cylinder 7.0-litre, and the Euro 6, 650 hp V8-powered R 650.

“We have seen a marked increase in interest and orders since we debuted the NTG range in Australia just one year ago. This show gives the industry and general public the opportunity to see exactly how the latest technology in truck transport can benefit their lives and businesses. Our sales volume is up almost 55 percent YTD, and we took 9.1 percent of the heavy-duty market in April, with 7.7 percent YTD market share, a rise of three percent.”

Mikael Jansson, Managing Director of Scania Australia, told PowerTorque that 2018 produced a record market overall, but pointed out that Australian roads remain home to some of the oldest and dirtiest trucks globally.

“It’s time for Australian operators to make a statement that they no longer feel it is OK to drive Euro Zero-to-Euro 3 trucks around our densely-populated centres. We can no longer turn a blind eye to their continual emission of dirty fumes and excessive CO2 where our children walk and play,” he said.

To support the move to cleaner energy and a reduction in exhaust emissions, Scania displayed a P 340 6×2 rigid truck fueled by CNG, plus a P 280 rigid using the new Scania 7.0-litre diesel engine.

“A gas truck that reduces CO2 emissions by up to 90 percent is ideal for urban distribution,” Mikael Jansson said. “The new 7.0-litre, six-cylinder diesel engine is 360 kg lighter over the front axle. Fitted to our low-entry P-series cab, the 7.0-litre gives us access to a sector of the market we have not tackled before.

“The NTG V8s have been delivering operators significant fuel savings − in excess of 20 percent in some cases when coupled with driver training, and this is additional to the already competitive performance of the V8s used in the PGR range.”

IVECO Australia focused on its latest Euro 6 engines supported by its light, medium and heavy-duty range, demonstrating the company’s commitment to offering the highest level of emissions standards.

Iveco showed off the all-new, next generation Euro 6 ACCO as a 6×4 model with Bucher compactor body, and an 8×4 featuring a Hiab hooklift body. Using the Iveco cab, it has lost its distinctive ACCO look, but now gets new levels of comfort and safety to bring it right up to date.

Also, on show and representing IVECO’s medium-duty range was a Euro 6 Eurocargo equipped with an INNOV8 attenuator body. For the LCV market it was joined by the impressive Daily 70C van with seven-tonne GVM, 19.6-cubic-metre volume and Euro 6 engine.

And for those interested in bonneted North American-style trucks, an INTERNATIONAL ProStar prime mover was also on the stand. Fitted with a 40-inch integrated sleeper, it’s ideal for 34-pallet B-Double applications with a Cummins X15 engine rated at 550 hp (410 kW).

As a first for International, the ProStar is now available with Bendix Next Generation active safety systems which many fleets now expect, including the Wingman Fusion system.

A spokesperson for IVECO Australia said this year’s stand held true to the brand’s global positioning to be ‘Your Partner for Sustainable Transport’.

TATRA made its debut at the Brisbane Show in 2017, when it displayed an 8×8 tipper that looked ready to go where no other truck had been before.

Tatra returned this year with a smaller Phoenix 6×6 tipper featuring a PACCAR 13-litre MX engine and 16-speed ZF AS-Tronic AMT transmission, topped off by a comfortable DAF-supplied CF cab.

Tatra’s distribution in Australasia is handled exclusively by Off Road Trucks Australia. This Perth-based company, with sales and service outlets in Mackay (QLD), Rutherford (NSW) and Pooraka (SA), boasts the unmatched claim that it is able to provide 100 percent parts availability from stock, a factor that underpins the success and acceptance of its products.  The company’s marketing manager, Amber Gadan, announced it would soon be launching a hire fleet of Tatra trucks, primarily based out of WA, offering the Phoenix 8x8s with Fassi cranes and platforms, 4×4 with platforms, 8×8 service truck and Phoenix 6×6 prime movers.

PowerTorque was one of the first media to drive the new MERCEDES-BENZ Actros around Hanover last year. The new Actros has many impressive new connected innovations including MirrorCam, Predictive Powertrain Control, Active Brake Assist 5, and the all-new interactive Multimedia Cockpit. For a full review of the new Actros, see it in the Oct/Nov 2018 issue of PowerTorque.

FREIGHTLINER revealed its range of Cascadia trucks as part of its $100 million dollar investment in US-based conventional truck design.

The introduction date for Cascadia is expected to be well into 2020, which will also bring the availability of the 16-litre DD16 diesel engine rated at 600 hp (447 kW). This engine has been waiting in the wings for introduction into the Australian market for what seems like a decade, held in reserve due to it having been developed with AdBlue and to Euro 6 emissions standards, amid the reticence of some American brands to move into Euro 6 before legislation demands its introduction.

Cascadia replaces the Coronado, which has established a strong reputation with its followers. But such is the unrelenting march of technological development, that the new suite of safety features and driver awareness and telematics systems slips easily into the Cascadia architecture, superseding the Coronado.

Although still very much available on the Australian market, there was no sign of the Argosy on the Freightliner display, suggesting that life for Freightliner fans in the future will be confined to looking at the road ahead over a conventional bonnet.

The timing of the Brisbane show fortuitously coincided with a visit by Kary Schaefer, who is the General Manager of Freightliner’s Product Strategy and also one of the company’s foremost experts on autonomous trucks, vehicle connectivity and electric vehicle development.

While other truck makers are still experimenting with platooning, Ms Schaefer confirmed that Daimler has ceased its development work, accepting that although the theoretical advantages of close vehicle connectivity reduces wind resistance and aids fuel economy of following vehicles, the reality shows that the weakest link determines the progress of the group. As each vehicle will undoubtedly carry a different payload, with varying engine and driveline configurations, gradients will impact on each vehicle in different ways, slowing down the faster vehicles to compensate for those running at lower speed.

It’s difficult to comprehend that technical experts around the globe took so long, and invested so much financially, to discover what any professional driver could have told them − that faster vehicles usually leave slower ones in their wake. The official explanation is that the cost of equipment on platooning vehicles overrides the cost savings. Incidentally, the same conclusion for platooning in Australia was confirmed to PowerTorque by Sasko Cuklev, Director of Autonomous Solutions for Volvo Trucks globally, during a separate interview.

What will eventuate, though, as a result of all the telematics and connectivity programmes, is that safety systems will increase in their availability, with stronger interventions to prevent vehicle impacts. As Ms Schaefer pointed out, since the introduction of active brake assist  systems in the US back in 2006, the cost of repairing the average rear-end shunt by a following vehicle has reduced from $7000 per incident to just $350 − an example of technology working with the operator to promote safety, reduce injuries and lower TCO.

As technology improves, what will eventuate is the use of automated trucks controlled from a central point to perform a designated task on a closed road network. Be it earthmoving equipment or tippers shifting gravel, where a task is repetitious and outside influences can be controlled, vehicles will increasingly be able to be operated remotely, with total safety and higher efficiency.

From the PENSKE family, WESTERN STAR showcased its 5800FE with its set-back front axle and aerodynamic design, next to the more traditional 6900FXC which can be rated to a GCM of 250 tonnes as a tri-drive.

In the same way as Freightliner is awaiting its Cascadia, Western Star is also awaiting its next-generation product range, for which the brand will leverage off the Cascadia platform developed by Daimler Trucks North America. Current information out of the US suggests the introduction of the new Western Star will follow Cascadia by a further six months; but in the world of truck marketing, falling sales or reduced interest in a product can lead to fast-tracking of new models, something Western Star dealers in Australia would welcome warmly.

Penske Commercial Vehicles took advantage of the Brisbane Truck Show to officially hand over the Western Star 6900FXC on display to the Neil Mansell Group. Powered by a Cummins 600 hp (447 kW) X15 engine with 2050 lb-ft of torque (2780 Nm) at 1200 rpm, the unit boasts a 54-inch Stratosphere sleeper and a GCM of 155 tonnes.

On the same stand, MAN had a TGS 540 hp (403 kW) in a lightweight tipper spec, next to the impressive TGX D38 640 hp (477 kW) PerformanceLine. With the highest cab available and updated dash, MAN is now offering a great truck for linehaul work.

Sales of the MAN brand are now the mainstay for Penske Commercial Vehicles, running off the back of a substantial fleet order from the Australian Defence Force. The introduction of the D38, together with the larger cab and Euro 6 compliance, is another factor in its favour for operators looking at the German brand.  

With a broad product spread across the market, the volume leader is ISUZU. This year the company received accolades for accomplishing 30 years of consecutive market leadership. Always able to respond quickly to customer demand and with an enviable customer service support network, the company display this year featured its ready-to-work range asking the question, “would you like fries with that?”. 

The Isuzu Trucks Ready-to-Work range hit the Australian market back in 2005, aiming to make life easier for customers looking for reliable purpose-built trucks that were pre-assembled and ready to get to work.

Fast-forward 14 years, and Isuzu Trucks continues to build on its industry-leading Ready-to-Work range with two new models set for launch in mid-2019.

“We’re extremely proud of the range and the effect it’s had on Australian business, and we’ll continue to develop the concept well into the future.” said Andrew Harbison, Isuzu Australia Limited Director and Chief Operating Officer.

The end of 2018 marked a significant milestone for Isuzu Trucks, with record-breaking sales volume results of more than 10,000 trucks for the year.

For the truck buyer there is a well-developed Isuzu platform for just about every Australian application imaginable. Every weight category is catered for, from car drivers’ licence light-duty N-Series through to the 26-tonne GVM Giga EXY prime mover.

Isuzu also caters for those travelling away from the bitumen, including the NPS 75/45-155 4×4, Australia’s first ever two-pedal 4×4 light duty truck with an automated manual transmission option. It’s popular with the emergency services or bodied as a factory-backed dual control truck, a pre-bodied field service unit or built to agitator specification.

Isuzu is also partnered with leading original equipment manufacturer brands such as Meritor, Eaton, ISRI and Allison Transmission. 

HINO Australia’s all-new 500 Series Standard Cab medium-duty truck range has class-leading features including a Pre-Collision System, Vehicle Stability Control, and cleaner emissions.

Hino Australia’s Manager of Product Strategy, Daniel Petrovski, explained: “Hino is the only Japanese manufacturer to offer Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) as standard equipment on every on-road model in its range, from the 300 Series light duty car license through to the heavy duty 500 Series 6×4 350 horsepower FM models.”

Hino is a brand to be watched closely in the coming months, with a model range that offers excellent cab comfort and ergonomics, a driveline that − especially in the 500 Series − is certainly impressive, and a range of options that add considerable appeal.

“Our customers can choose from 54 different vehicle specifications across the 500 Series Standard Cab range of FC, FD and FE models,” Mr Petrovski said.

A display version of the new heavy-duty Hino A05 turbocharged, five-litre, four-cylinder diesel engine that powers the 500 Series Standard Cab models proved to be quite a customer drawcard.

“Not only does it deliver superior torque, increased power and improved fuel efficiency, but it also has the cleanest exhaust emissions ever for a Hino truck in Australia.

“This is the equivalent to Euro 6 and is set to comply with the ADR80/04 emissions standards, which are not expected to be mandated here in Australia for a number of years.”

Technology and innovation were also key themes of the stand, with an interactive display of Hino’s new smart multimedia system, which will be rolled out across the entire range of Hino light, medium and heavy duty trucks by the end of the year.

“Our new innovative smart multimedia system introduces an unprecedented level of vehicle connectivity and entertainment functionality, together with the safety-enhancing reversing camera, and can also include vehicle operational information and driver information,” Mr Petrovski said..

It features a curated Hino application store, which allows the creation of bespoke apps to suit an individual customer’s needs.

Completing the 500 Series line-up on the stand was a 500 Series Wide Cab FM2632 with a six-speed Allison automatic transmission and Electronically Controlled Air Suspension (ECAS), both of which have proven extremely popular with customers in the two years since the 500 Series Wide Cab was launched.

Australia’s best-selling hybrid diesel-electric light duty commercial vehicle, the Hino 300 Series Hybrid, also attracted a lot of interest on the Hino stand.
FUSO launched its new-generation heavy-duty truck at the Brisbane Truck Show, the Shogun. The new model comes in 4×2, 6×4 and 8×4 configurations, using a new 11-litre, six-cylinder Euro 6 engine rated at 400 and 460 hp (298 and 343 kW).

Fuso is so confident of the new product and development in the Shogun that it will now offer an industry-leading, five-year, 500,000 km warranty.

Fuso Truck and Bus Australia Director, Justin Whitford, said the arrival of the new-generation heavy-duty truck marked a new chapter for the brand. “We have listened to our Australian customers and we have delivered the heavy-duty truck they have been waiting for,” he said.

Fuso also displayed models from its existing model line-up, including the medium-duty Fighter and small Canter truck, including the E-Canter. Producing 390 Nm of torque with a GVM of 7500 kg, the E-Canter is a real alternative for many city deliveries. 

CUMMINS celebrated its 100th year, so featured a range of legacy and future engines at the Brisbane Truck Show.

“This will be one of the most impressive collections of Cummins engines ever displayed in Australia, ranging from a 3 hp [2.2 kW], single-cylinder 1922 unit to our 600 hp [447 kW] X15 coupled to the all-new 12-speed Endurant automated transmission,” said Mike Fowler, Cummins South Pacific’s Director of Engine Business.

Two X15 engines and one X12 displayed at the Brisbane show were Euro 6 versions, both of which are expected to become available in Australia and New Zealand in 2020. Both the 12-litre, rated at 500 hp (373 kW) and 15-litre Cummins platforms are EGR-free for Euro 6, using SCR/AdBlue technology along with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) for compliance.

“They are two separate platforms that will allow customers to optimise their engines to best meet their needs without compromise,” Mr Fowler said. 

The star of the ZF SERVICES Australia stand this year was its world-first modular TraXon transmission.

TraXon is equipped with ZF’s innovative electronics, including software which combines a predictive shifting strategy, PreVision GPS, connecting the transmission with GPS data and digital maps. This means TraXon knows the exact route in advance and takes that information into account when selecting gears, ensuring reduced fuel consumption and stress on the transmission.

As part of ZF’s commitment to advancing vehicle electrification, it also revealed the TraXon Hybrid, combining the TraXon with a powerful hybrid module for use in trucks and coaches up to 40-tonne, making them seven percent more efficient.

After two full days of walking around the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, it has been great to see that the advances in technology seen at recent international truck shows will be heading to Australia sooner rather than later.

With electric trucks and transmissions on display from SEA Electric, Isuzu, Fuso, DANA, ZF and Eaton, plus everyone pushing for the very latest in safety packages well before legislative requirements, it is a great testament to the professionalism and efficiency of the Australian trucking industry.

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