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Prime Mover Magazine

Truck and trailer launches set scene for growth at Brisbane Truck Show

With an array of new product launches and a strong focus on innovation, the 50th anniversary edition of the Brisbane Truck Show marked the turning point for an industry that has been suffering from tentativeness and lacklustre growth.

According to Heavy Vehicle Industry Australia (HVIA), some 33,800 visitors came through the door of the Brisbane Convention Centre last week – topping 2015 attendance figures and indicating a newfound optimism about the future of Australian trucking.

Key suppliers to the industry seemingly shared the Association’s verdict, with many of them using the event to unveil new models to the public and reinforcing a bullish market outlook.

PACCAR's Kenworth brand, for example, showcased the award-winning new T610 model in Brisbane, while Mercedes-Benz finally took the wraps of the long-awaited rigid version of the Actros heavy-duty model.

Both OEMs used the long-standing Brisbane event to promote the fact that sales are so strong that supply bottlenecks may be unavoidable in the short term, with both vowing to step up production to meet demand and shorten lead times in the new Financial Year.

Kenworth also pointed our that the K200 cab-over model remains the backbone of the local line-up, accounting for 30 per cent of Kenworth’s production at its Bayswater factory in Victoria. On display was the 2.8m cab complete with a king single bunk and factory-fitted super single tyres.

Truck enthusiasts were also impressed by the Legend T900, a special edition commemorating the brand’s heavy-duty legacy. The limited edition truck will be on sale for one day only on 26 June.

Also on the Paccar stand, DAF presented an upgraded CF85 with 510hp, and previewed the soon-to-be available LF 6x2 rigid with a lift up pusher axle. The truck’s 280hp engine and ZF nine-speed transmission remain, as does the LF’s reputation for manoeuvrability and stability.

In an Australian-first, Scania Australia gave visitors an up-close look of the new generation S-series range, which premiered in Europe last year and won’t go on sale locally for a while.

As a result, the rush to get a glimpse of the UK spec demo unit was especially high, with parting CEO, Roger McCarthy, taking the opportunity to look back at his eight-year tenure at the helm of the Swedish OEM and giving industry a sneak peek and what to expect from the company going forward.

Japan’s UD Trucks also revealed a soon-to-be-launched model at the Brisbane Truck Show, albeit in a series production spec: Homologation of the new Quon – officially presented in Japan less than a month ago – was reportedly fast-tracked to ensure local Australian visitors would be able to experience the brand’s new heavy-duty model in a ‘real life’ Australian guise, even though it won’t go on sale locally until November.

With two all-new trucks on show, Iveco Trucks Australia stood equally proud in Brisbane: The company not only celebrated the arrival of the revived International brand in Australia, but also welcomed the stylish new Iveco Eurocargo to the fold.

Hino also celebrated a world premiere with the launch of the new 300 Series 4x4 model. While Hino dealers have had a chance to examine the new model earlier this year, the official unveiling at the Brisbane Truck Show marked the first time that the 300 4x4 has been publicly displayed anywhere in the world.

In designing it, Hino has reportedly drawn upon the success of the FT and GT 4x4 models in its larger 500 Series as well as competition versions that have had success in off-road events such as the gruelling Dakar Rally.

Meanwhile, Swedish OEM, Volvo Trucks, made headlines with the launch of an ambitious ‘uptime promise’ that will see the company pay transport businesses $500 per day should it be unable to get a truck back on the road within an eight-hour time window.

Peter Voorhoeve, President and CEO of Volvo Group Australia, also took the opportunity to launch a group-wide Driver Academy as a follow-up to Volvo Group Australia’s in-depth research into driver development and recruitment, which it conducted in early 2016.

Long-standing market leader, Isuzu, also launched a new service initiative by expanding its Service Pack range of ‘tool sheds on wheels’ to six models – including a 4x4 crew cab that will enable service teams to access even difficult work sites. Another highlight of the Isuzu stand was the NLR 55/45-150 tri-tipper, which comes equipped with a factory-fitted steel tipper body that can unload to the rear or either side.

Joining in the firework of new product launches, engine expert, Cummins, also used the show the reveal the Euro VI version of the successful X15 15-litre engine. According to Cummins, the move not only reinforced the brand’s commitment to innovation, but may also help “dispel any industry concerns over the engine architecture needed for Euro VI emissions compliance”.

The X15 reportedly continues to use SCR/AdBlue technology for Euro VI, albeit alongside a new ‘Single Module’ after-treatment system.

“We are giving our customers confidence that the X15 they have now will be very similar to the X15 they will have for Euro VI,” commented Mike Fowler, Cummins South Pacific’s Director of Engine Business.

“Our EGR-free Euro VI platform is the right technology in that it builds on the attributes of our Euro 5 X15 engine while continuing to emphasise simplicity – the critical ingredient in the recipe for reliability and durability, the foremost requirement of our customers.”

The trailer manufacturing industry presented itself equally upbeat in Brisbane, with a number of OEMs announcing new products and collaborations – especially on a global scale.

Western Australian company, Bruce Rock Engineering (BRE), used the Show to promote its partnership with US brand, Wabash National, for example – revealing a  'Arcticlite' refrigerated A-trailer rollback body from the US mounted to a BRE-built chassis.

The international trailer presence was reinforced with a product display from Schmitz Cargobull Australia, which flew in global Chairman, Andreas Schmitz, from Germany to show off its expertise in refrigerated van design and finalise a landmark deal with a leading New Zealand transport company.

Directly opposite Schmitz Cargobull in the Main Hall, South African tanker and trailer specialist, GRW, showcased a B-double follower tanker developed in collaboration with Max Industries' Adam Stanfield.

Also in the tanker space, a newly announced local collaboration between Holmwood Highgate and Byford Engineering emerged as a major talking point at the Show. The two long-standing companies used the even as a platform to launch a jointly developed 26m A-double fuel haulage tanker, with Byford tapping into its vast Performance-Based Standards (PBS) knowledge and Holmwood Highgate contributing decades of experience in aluminium tanker manufacturing.

Local OEMs had numerous new product innovations and developments on show, too – with easy-operation curtain advancements standing out as a recurring theme: Vawdrey's LatchLiner, Krueger Transport Equipment's High Productivity Curtain System, Barker Trailers' new Easy Operation curtain and the Freighter T-Liner Mark II Curtain system were all on show for visitors to experience first-hand.

The company's innovative curtain system wasn't the only headliner from Freighter parent, MaxiTRANS, though. The company's refrigerated offerings from Maxi-CUBE boasted a host of new features that MaxiTRANS said marked "the most significant update to the model in over a decade", which included improved thermal efficiency while offering larger internal dimensions, a lower tare weight, improved double loader system and docking impact protection.

Peki, MaxiTRANS' truck body brand, was also overhauled, with a new range of Urban and Distribution models for both dry and refrigerated use.

What's more, MaxiTRANS' all-new Hamelex White tipper model on show boasted a 13 per cent reduction in tare weight, and was fitted with its new 'Landslide' tipper liner that aims to discharge cargo faster while protecting the body, and the Lusty EMS drop deck chassis tipper range saw a new curved body design.

More in-depth information on the product launches above and additional key developments unveiled at the Brisbane Truck Show to come.

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