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How Was the K220 Designed and Developed?

how was the K220 designed and developed?

Awarded the 2023 Truck of the Year Australasia award, but how was the K220 designed and developed? PowerTorque spoke to some of the team behind its design, about how it was done.

Designing a new truck model is a large, long and complicated task, over a period of years. After the Kenworth K220 was presented with the ToYA award earlier this year, Tim Giles sat down with two of the Paccar design and engineering team, Brad May, Paccar Australia Chief Engineer and Ross Cureton, Director of Product Planning – PACCAR Australia to drill down into just what went into the creation of the final truck.

how was the K220 designed and developed
Brad May, Chief Engineer, Paccar, speaking at the K220 launch

“The initiation of a project comes from a number of factors. In the K220’s case it started with the fact there was new technology available to include in the design, and an update was needed to keep our models aligned – in terms of technology, comfort and powertrain,”  says Brad. 

“The K200 was very successful, but you can’t keep selling the same thing forever,” says Ross. “Customers’ requirements also change. You can’t wait until the customers say ‘no, I’m not buying that anymore.’ Now that didn’t happen with K200s because they’re so versatile and productive that people keep buying them, and making a living with them.

“You have to look at what do people value now as opposed to what they valued back in 2008, when we developed the last one, and has that moved? And of course it has.”

how was the K220 designed and developed?

The planning process started in early 2019. Paccar did its most extensive tour of customers around the country, gathering their input. A lot of time and energy was spent finding out and getting an understanding of what the customers wanted, working out where their preferences had changed. 

The design team went on a tour of sorts that year, meeting with a wide range of customers at their sites to get their initial thoughts on what they would like to have seen in a new model. In May 2021, the team brought the customers to the Kenworth development centre and showed them the product and asked whether the designers hit the mark., The customers whose input had been requested got to physically interact with something and tell the design team what they thought of it. 


“We understand that there’s a lot of equity in the current product and you have to change it carefully” says Ross. “What do you want to keep? What do you not want us to alter? That’s a big part of the conversation we have with customers, because we think we know, but sometimes, it’s surprising the daily things that they feel strongly about.

“When we started the project, we had just finished releasing the T610, then the T410 and the T360. Nothing is entirely in a bubble, what did we learn from that product, that process? The dash is a different method and construction than what we’ve done previously, and there was of a lot of concern and interest about how we did that. 

“I remember Brad coming to me and saying, ‘I’ve had a customer say to me, when can I have that dash in a cab over?’. You watch people’s perceptions change and then I heard the same thing. 

“You have to get to the heart of what they mean with a request like that. Perhaps it turns out they mean the air conditioner is fantastic in that one, and that’s what they’re really asking for. So you start to tease out what the customer does value, and it’s great when you hear the customers essentially saying ‘you hit the nail on the head, when can I have more of what you just did?’” 


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