Kenworth  has announced it has delivered the 60,000th Australian- built truck from its plant in Melbourne while at the same time revealing that it will commence assembly of trucks from PACCAR’s European subsidiary, DAF, at the Bayswater factory.

MD of PACCAR Australia, Andrew Hadjikakou, handed the keys of the T610SAR prime mover to Kenworth customer Peter Wickham, co-founder of Wickham Freight Lines at an event at Kenworth’s head office and factory in the outer eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

It has been reported in another media  outlet  that PACCAR will start production of DAF models at Bayswater in the second half of next year  but did not elaborate on which models would be involved.

Hadjikakou believes that the move will allow the company to include more local customisation of DAF models to make them more suitable for Australian conditions. Truck and Bus News hopes to get more details  when we can speak with the PACCAR MD.

Hadjikakou said  manufacturing 60,000 trucks was a major milestone for Kenwort, not only for the company and its dealers  but for its suppliers, the vast majority of whom are local.

“Celebrating key production milestones is a Kenworth tradition, one that began in April 1974 when we handed over the keys to truck number 1,000. Since then we’ve celebrated each major milestone, leading to today, when we hand over the keys to the 60,000th truck that’s rolled off the Kenworth production line since we began designing and manufacturing uniquely Australian trucks in 1971,” Mr Hadjikakou said.

“The heavy-duty truck market in Australia is one of the most competitive in the world,” he stated. “In an industry with no tariff protection, no government financial assistance and often volatile exchange rate movements, Kenworth successfully maintains its status as the market leader against imported brands from the US, Europe and Asia. We continue to successfully deliver high value-added manufacturing – that is, world-class trucks, which provide distinct business advantages,” he said.

He said Australia had a diverse range of operating environments unlike anywhere else in the world. Trucks must deal with extreme heat in remote, dusty mines and across deserts. Others must haul loads that are two or three times heavier than overseas, and on rough and unmade roads. Often trucks are required to perform an inordinate amount of hours, some as much as 24 hours a day.

Hadjikakou said It’s critical for this country  that it has a local manufacturer that understands the challenges facing transport businesses. PACCAR claims it  is the only local truck manufacturer offering full design capability, technical expertise and resources to application-engineer trucks for the most extreme on and off-road operations,.

“Our trucks are designed to satisfy these unique needs. They feature higher cooling capacities to handle heavier weights and hotter conditions, more robust construction to manage the roughest roads, and embody a design philosophy that means cost-effective maintenance and reliability,” he added.

Mr Hadjikakou said Kenworth’s more than 45 years of local manufacturing have a significant ripple effect that has benefited many Australian industries and Australians.

The company currently employs more than 1,000 staff in Melbourne, the majority of whom are directly or indirectly involved in the manufacturing operations. It also supports the industry’s best nationwide network of PACCAR dealers who employ about 3,000 people throughout Australia. In addition, the company supports a variety of local suppliers who provide the majority of the parts and materials which make a Kenworth.

As part of its manufacturing commitment, PACCAR has made a substantial investment in design engineering. This enables it to purpose-build trucks with short lead times – a feat imported trucks cannot match. This will clearly help the plans to build DAFs here as well

“Local design and manufacturing remains the driving force behind our business, and we’re in it for the long haul. We are continually reinvesting in expanding our operations, continually refining our techniques and introducing new technologies. Most importantly, we listen to our customers and we meet their needs,” he added