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Kenworth’s new W990 combines modern features, driver amenities with retro design

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LAS VEGAS — It was just a coincidence that fighter jets out of Nellis Air Force Base were occasionally buzzing the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the early evening hours of September 27.

But the incidental military flyovers fit right into the sense of fanfare down on the track’s infield, where Kenworth had booked the speedway to hold a grand unveiling event for its latest model, the W990, before an invited crowd of customers, dealers and trucking media.

Before eight of the new W990s made a choreographed, group entrance accompanied by theatrical lighting and rock music and were then parked for the crowd to inspect and admire, Kenworth officials talked about the new tractor and why this debut was special to them.

“The new Kenworth W990 is a reflection of the Kenworth brand, which represents the quality, engineering excellence and both customer and driver focus that goes into every Kenworth we build,” said Mike Dozier, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president. “The Kenworth W990 represents the pride, image and freedom of trucking, and captures the spirit of what trucking is all about.”

It also represents the next evolutionary step in the long-hood conventional W900 series, “The Driver’s Truck” as Kenworth likes to refer to it, which has been a high-profile part of the Kenworth line since 1961.

“We’re celebrating the legacy of the W900 and the introduction of the next generation of the 900, the W990,” Dozier said, but he was quick to clarify that the 990 isn’t so much the successor to the 900 as it is a branching off of the 900’s lineage.

“W900Ls aren’t going anywhere,” Dozier said, “but we’re planning for the future,” the thought being that the market will determine the direction of the 900 series.

The challenge in designing the W990 was to create something that represented a step forward aesthetically and technologically while honoring its predecessors. That challenge fell largely on Kenworth Design Director Jonathan Duncan as his team.

Duncan called the task of combining past and present, form and function a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

“For this truck, it was all about the ‘wow factor,’” Duncan said. It was about making a statement that was original but unmistakably Kenworth.

The most prominent visual features on the W990 are the hood and the grille. With a bumper-to-back-of cab measurement of 131.5-inches, the W990 is only 1.5 inches longer than the W900L, but it appears longer. There’s less downward slope on the 990’s hood, and the wind split – the center crease that runs down the length of the hood – not only accentuates the familiar Kenworth “cathedral” shape but combined with a lower windshield also improves driver visibility.

“Behind the wheel, the driver’s view over the hood is a huge part of the appeal of the W990,” Duncan said. “It’s really one of the keys to the success of this design.”

The side air intakes wrap over the top of the hood so that they are visible from the driver’s seat, which has a strong visual impact from behind the wheel, Duncan said. They made it a point, he added, that all the “shiny metal parts” were stainless steel.

That also goes for the grille, the “face of the new W990,” Duncan said

“Incorporating stainless steel was important. The grill is a real statement. It had to be pure Kenworth and it needed to be instantly recognizable as the top-of-the-line. We maintained the traditional cathedral shape to the grille and the inset surfaces at the top to give it a refined, tailored look. That powerful center spear signifies this is part of the new generation of Kenworth trucks and the tapered grille spears are there for a classic touch.”

Despite the “monumental” appearance of the W990’s front end, it is actually 67 percent more aerodynamic than the W900, Duncan said. It wasn’t a consideration as they were designing it, he said, but they’ll take it.

While much attention was paid to the 990’s looks, it’s what’s inside that counts. Components under the hood have been reconfigured for easier serviceability, Duncan said, and the fenders are bolted on for easier replacement.

The W990 comes with the Paccar Powertrain consisting of the Paccar MX-13 engine rated up to 510-hp and 1,850 lb.-feet of torque, a 12-speed Paccar automated transmission and Paccar 40K tandem rear axles.

Kenworth TruckTech+ remote diagnostics system comes standard. Kenworth NAV+HD seven-inch, color in-dash display provides access to valuable features such as truck-specific navigation, roadside assistance, vehicle data, hands-free calling, audio controls, blind-spot camera inputs and the internet. Bendix’ Wingman Fusion system is optional.

The W990 is available in day cab, 40-inch flat top, and 52-inch and 76-inch mid-roof sleeper configurations, and is built on a 2.1-meter cab platform. In keeping with the theme of being ‘the driver’s truck,’ the W990’s cab and sleeper areas have also been designed to be a show of appreciation to those who drive it. In particular, there is a Limited Edition cab option and a W990 Driver’s Studio package of premium options that give the truck a sense of luxury.

The Limited Edition interior comes in midnight black with glossy Ravenwood door and dash trim accents. The interior features rich black leather seats, door pads and steering wheel with royal blue double-stitching. The Driver’s Studio offers a 180-degree swivel passenger seat and rotating table for two people, a swivel TV mount, drawer-style refrigerator and premium audio system.

There’s a full-size wardrobe space for hanging clothes, and ample storage space. The 1800-watt inverter includes a shore power connection and four standard 120-volt sleeper outlets to power a range of electrical devices. LED lighting provides ample interior light throughout the sleeper.

“Finding truckers nowadays is harder than ever,” Dozier said, but he added that being able to offer a truck like this would give fleets an advantage over the competition. Or a carrier could use it as an incentive to their top drivers.

“The Kenworth W990’s excellent performance, classical styling, premium finishes and lifestyle amenities underscore a sense of driver achievement and pride,” Dozier said. “We are passionate about our products, our customers that depend on them, and the drivers that operate them.”

Just before the trucks made their appearance, Kenworth presented a promotional video for the W990. That video is now available for viewing at www.youtube.com/KenworthTruckCo.

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Equipment

Michigan CAT first to receive WABCO Service Partner certification

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Officials and employees at Michigan CAT celebrate becoming WABCO Holdings’ first WABCO Service Partner. (Courtesy: WABCO HOLDINGS)

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — WABCO Holdings, a global supplier of braking control systems and other advanced technologies designed to improve the safety, efficiency and connectivity of commercial vehicles, Thursday said it has launched the WABCO Service Partner (WSP) program in North America.

Through this initiative, the company will certify vehicle service facilities that meet WABCO’s stringent technical and safety standards in the maintenance and repair of commercial vehicles. This launch represents an enhancement to the company’s aftermarket support offering, which was introduced at Heavy Duty Aftermarket Week (HDAW) earlier this year.

The WSP program creates a network of certified service facilities that have undergone specialized training by WABCO technical experts to attain extensive knowledge of the company’s products and services. Certified WSPs provide service, repair or replacement of WABCO’s suite of products for trucks, trailers, off-road equipment and other vehicles including buses and RVs.

“To become a WABCO Service Partner, a facility must excel in all areas of training and safety standards and be a proven industry leader in the work they do,” said Abe Aon, business leader, North America aftersales, service, support. “Customers can rest assured that if service is done by a WSP, it is done by a highly trained, WABCO-endorsed provider.”

Aon said the WSP program’s goal is to increase uptime for its customers, getting them back on the road as quickly as possible, and providing peace of mind that the service was done by a certified facility. All WSPs have access to WABCO Customer Care Center and expedited warranty claims handling to provide customers with quick and reliable service.

Michigan CAT, based in Novi, Michigan, is the first U.S.-based WSP in North America under this new program.

Michigan CAT is a unit of the MacAllister Machinery Co. of Indianapolis. Both companies are Caterpillar Inc. dealers. Michigan CAT has operations in eight Michigan cities and specializes in selling and servicing construction, off-highway and agricultural equipment, used trucks and trailers and fleet management solutions.

“We are pleased to welcome Michigan CAT as our first WABCO Service Partner,” said Aon. “By combining their commitment to service with their in-depth knowledge of WABCO products and services, Michigan CAT ensures a first-rate customer experience and the relationship will be excellent for us for the long term.”

WABCO expects to soon finalize the certification of two additional service providers and has begun accepting applications for additional shops that meet WABCO’s requirements to join the growing network. The goal is to expand the program to include more than 100 new WSPs by the end of 2020. WABCO currently has over 3,100 WSPs globally, with the highest concentration in Europe.

 

 

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Jacobs Vehicle Systems delivers 8 millionth engine brake

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İn the late 1980s trucking industry interest in the product began to increase significantly and a shift was made to OEM factory installations. (Courtesy: JACOBS BRAKE SYSTEMS)

BLOOMFIELD, Conn. — Jacobs Vehicle Systems, a worldwide manufacturer of heavy-duty diesel engine retarding systems and valve actuation systems, recently celebrated the delivery of its 8 millionth engine brake.

This milestone delivery comes less than two years after Jacobs shipped its seven millionth brake, and nearly 60 years after the company’s first engine brake, invented by Clessie Cummins, was introduced to the trucking industry by Jacobs.

Since the first engine brake was produced, it took Jacobs 31 years to sell its first million engine brakes, which was initially an aftermarket product and sold exclusively in North America.

İn the late 1980s trucking industry interest in the product began to increase significantly and a shift was made to OEM factory installations, according to Steve Ernest, vice president, engineering and business development, who said geographic expansion soon followed and today Jacobs is selling and delivering engine brakes from its locations in North America, China, and Europe to more than 30 customers with locations in Europe, Asia, Africa, North America, and South America.

“This delivery is a fantastic achievement and is a testament to the success our customers have enjoyed around the world with Jacobs’ components,” Ernest said. “The next millionth brake shouldn’t be far off as we continue to find new solutions and technologies that will not only continue to enhance braking performance but also help our customers find new and effective ways to improve fuel consumption and reduce harmful emissions.”

Jacobs Vehicle Systems is headquartered in Bloomfield, Connecticut where is has a design, testing, and manufacturing facility, with support sites in Europe, Japan, and India as well as manufacturing facilities in Suzhou, China, and Brno, Czech Republic.

For more information, visit www.jakebrake.com

 

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FTR reports prelim September trailer orders highest since February

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Trailer production should remain sturdy in September but somewhat off recent months with backlogs expected to drop for the ninth consecutive month, FTR said. (Courtesy: GREAT DANE)

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — FTR is reporting preliminary trailer orders for September at 19,000 units, the highest since February.

Trailer order activity rebounded from the recent doldrums as some fleets began placing orders for 2020.  Orders were up 81% month-over-month but minus 66% year-over-year. September’s net orders could have been even higher but were negatively affected by fleet cancellations of excess 2019 orders.

Trailer production should remain sturdy in September but somewhat off recent months with backlogs expected to drop for the ninth consecutive month, FTR said, noting that trailer orders for the past 12 months now total 264,000 units.

“This is a decent order amount for September. It indicates fleets are somewhat optimistic about 2020,” said Don Ake, FTR vice president of commercial vehicles. Orders should rise to healthy levels in October, as more large fleets place their 2020 orders. The increase in September orders signals the trailer market is becoming much more stable and should be settling into historic order patterns, after a turbulent couple of years.

“Trailer sales are expected to dip in 2020 after hitting record volumes in 2019. However, the forecast is still for a solid year based on moderate economic and freight growth, which should provide fleets with enough profits to buy new equipment.”

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