At a recent ride and drive event held near its headquarters in Kirkland, WA, Kenworth Truck Co. highlighted the continuing strength in the vocational segment of the Class 8 market as positive economic reports on gross domestic product, consumer confidence, housing starts, and construction spending are in “good alignment” with demand for its T880 model, especially in its latest configuration with a set-forward front axle.

Kenworth, a unit of Paccar Inc., also expects overall U.S. and Canadian Class 8 retail sales to finish the year in the upper range of its earlier estimate of 190,000 to 220,000 units.

At the event, Mike Dozer, Kenworth’s general manager, Kevin D. Baney, assistant general manager of marketing and sales, noted that though the OEM’s T880 line was designed to eventually replace the T800, there is no precise timetable as to when it will cease production.

They both pointed to “continued strong orders” for the T880S as well; a vehicle aimed at ready-mix, dump and mobile crane applications. It provides more flexibility, better payload, maneuverability, and driver visibility.

The T880S comes standard with the Paccar MX-13 engine, along with the lighter displacement MX-11 as an option. The two proprietary engines are included in more than 45% of Kenworth’s total orders, the two executives noted.

Baney also touched on a series of other efforts being undertaken by the OEM:

  • Kenworth is increasing its rebate offer to $2,000 for members of the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association. The offer includes the T880, W900, T440 and T470 models though the end of the 2017.
  • Production begins at the end of this month on trucks with new 20,000 lb.- and 22,800-lb. front steer axles from Marmon-Herrington. The option is especially suited for water trucks and oilfield services, Baney noted.
  • Variable speed fan drives are soon to be available on the MX-13 engine, which not only boost fuel economy, but reduces noise, vibration and dust generation.
  • Also soon to be offered on the T880 and T880s models are bright-trimmed air intakes. Baney added that this is a “popular option” that will be available in the aftermarket as well.
  • The company begins production July 31 on the T680, T880, and T880s models with the Cummins Westport ISL G near zero NOx emissions natural gas engine.
  • That Cummins Westport engine offers a 90% reduction over current emissions regulations. This is a critical option for many fleets in California and those whose shippers demand “green” fleets as part of their sustainability efforts, Baney pointed out.
  • Also announced during the meeting was the initial launch of a new dry van lease program in the United States with Paccar Financial for the T270 model. The lease offer is $875 a month with no money required at signing. It features a 26-ft. Morgan Corp. van body.