Australia’s number one heavy-duty truck supplier, Kenworth, has delivered its 50,000th Australian-designed and manufactured truck at its Bayswater plant in Melbourne.

Mike Dozier (left), Managing Director, PACCAR Australia, presents the keys of the 50,000th Australian Built Kenworth to Peter Rodney (centre), Managing Director of Rodney’s Transport Service (RTS), and his wife – Shanelle (right), at the Kenworth Australia factory in Bayswater.

Mike Dozier, Managing Director of PACCAR Australia, handed the keys of a K200 prime mover to long-standing Kenworth customer Peter Rodney, Managing Director of Rodney’s Transport Service, the largest privately-owned trucking company in the Riverina.

Mr Dozier said Kenworth’s achievement in manufacturing 50,000 trucks was a major milestone, not only for the company but for Australian manufacturing. Kenworth has designed and manufactured uniquely Australian trucks since 1971, and it has been the number one heavy-duty truck supplier since 2001. Kenworth trucks are the mainstay of Australian transport businesses of all sizes, from large fleets to single owner-operators. Its trucks are also exported to New Zealand, Japan, Thailand and Papua New Guinea.

“The heavy-duty truck market in Australia is one of the most competitive in the world,” Mr Dozier stated. “In an industry with no tariff protection, no government financial assistance and a high Australian dollar, Kenworth successfully maintains its status as the market leader against dozens of 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.

Mr Dozier 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.

“It’s crucial that this country has a local manufacturer which understands these challenges. Kenworth is the only manufacturer offering full design capability, technical expertise and resources to application-engineered trucks for the most extreme on and off-road operations,” Mr Dozier explained.

“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 ensures cost-effective maintenance and reliability. And, before model’s are introduced, test vehicles undergo millions of kilometres of road testing in Australia’s harshest conditions to ensure they meet Kenworth’s standards,” he added.

Mr Dozier said Kenworth’s 42 years of local manufacturing has a significant ripple effect that has benefited many Australian industries.

The company employs more than 800 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 3000 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, Kenworth has made a substantial investment in design engineering. This enables it to purpose-build trucks with extremely short lead times – a feat imported trucks cannot match.

The company has also made a long-term investment in training. As a Registered Training Organisation, PACCAR Australia delivers qualifications and numerous other certifications in partnership with external firms. It has been recognised for its training efforts, being named Victorian Employer of the Year for 2012 and 2007, and winning the Federal Government’s 2007 Industry Training Award for Manufacturing.

“We are committed to maintaining a highly-skilled workforce – our people play a crucial role in our continued success,” Mr Dozier said. “Local 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.”

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