KIRKLAND Wash.- The Kenworth Road Tour featuring the Kenworth T680 has energized staff and customers. The quality engineering, advanced manufacturing and aerodynamic improvements offered by Kenworth's latest model have impressed customers and offer tremendous opportunities, say Kenworth dealers.
"The best thing about the Road Tour is that it's given customers the opportunity to see and experience the Kenworth T680 in person, without having to go to a truck show," said Bill Burns, new truck sales manager for Kenworth of Pennsylvania in Carlisle. "It really energized our sales staff and our customers."
Burns said about 175 customers attended the dealership's June event, which included a catered lunch and dinner. "Customers were impressed with the aesthetics and lines of the Kenworth T680 and the quality and thought that went into its engineering, design and manufacturing," Burns said. "But most importantly, they were very impressed with the improvements in aerodynamics that the Kenworth T680 provides."
The T680 is Kenworth's most aerodynamic truck ever and has received Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) SmartWay(SM) Designation, joining the Kenworth T660 and T700 in that category.
"Aerodynamics is becoming more and more important as fuel costs are eating into the operating margins of truck fleets and operators," Burns added. "Fleets and truck operators realize that these improvements in aerodynamics mean more savings over the operational lifetime of the truck and more money in their pocket."
Burns said it was also good for regional haulers and vocational operators to see the Kenworth T680 in a day cab configuration.
"Our vocational customers could try it out and see how the T680 not only provides greater visibility and more room, but also the ability for drivers to quickly adapt the cab into a place to rest while waiting for loading times," he said. "Some of our vocational customers have drivers who often have to wait two or three hours at depots for loading times. The ability for their drivers to stretch out in the cab is a real plus."
The T680 Road Tour and comprehensive trailer exhibit began touring in May, and continues on its two-nation tour with 25 upcoming stops at Kenworth dealerships through October. (See the schedule below.) Kenworth is on track to meet its goal of reaching 14,000 people - during its visits to Kenworth dealerships in 36 states and 6 provinces - by the Road Tour's completion.
The T680 tour includes a Kenworth T680 tractor with a day cab, a Kenworth T680 with a 76-inch sleeper, and a show trailer complete with video displays, an engine display and a mockup of the T680 cab with driver seat and instrumentation panel. In the 53-foot, double-expanding tour trailer, visitors can see and touch several of the T680's components and test the robust effortless-closing doors and the ease of the new air-assisted hydraulic clutch. They can also view videos that show the manufacturing and design processes for the new truck.
Mark Zucker, vice president with Inland Kenworth, said he saw the trailer exhibit as a key feature of the Kenworth T680 Road Tour.
"It allows a large number of people to see the features of the T680 and how they really set the T680 apart," Zucker said. At Inland Kenworth's July event in Fontana, Calif., about 300 customers experienced the tour trailer and received a close look at the T680s.
"Our event was a huge success because it gave our customers the opportunity to experience the ergonomics and the additional space in the cab that the Kenworth T680 offers," he added. "I think customers who generally go for a more traditional B Cab were impressed at how the T680 still maintains a traditional look of a Kenworth, like the T660, and yet provides the additional room they may need for a team or an individual driver."
Zucker said as a result of the T680 Road Tour visit, his dealership has quoted 100 Kenworth T680 units to more than a dozen customers and has sold some of those units as of mid-August.
More than 120 customers attended a Kenworth of Indianapolis tour stop event in June and were impressed with the innovation and attention to detail that has gone into the T680, according to Jacob Nichols, a manager at the dealership.
"The T680 tour allowed customers to get a close look at the truck and to ask questions about how and why Kenworth design and manufacturing engineers chose certain designs and components to make the T680 the new industry standard for aerodynamics, quietness, comfort, visibility, reliability, durability and serviceability," Nichols said. "The trailer gave them the opportunity to see the manufacturing process and to experience and test the T680's individual components."
Jerry Guy, a driver who attended the Indianapolis event, made a point of saying how much he prefers driving trucks with manual transmissions. He was then introduced to the T680's air-assisted, hydraulic clutch. When he tried out the new clutch in the tour trailer, he turned to Erik Johnson, Kenworth's on-highway marketing manager and said with a huge grin, "That was so easy. Wow. Holy cow!"
Danny Shannon, customer development director for GreatWest Kenworth in Calgary, Alberta, noted that the T680 Road Tour stop in July at the Calgary dealership, which attracted nearly 100 people, made quite an impression on customers and staff members.
"It was a great opportunity for vocational customers and others who may not have seen themselves as T680 users, to see the truck and discover why it could make sense for their operations," Shannon said. "They could see the quality engineering, the fit and finish and the improvements in aerodynamics the T680 offers and you could see how their brains started clicking and realizing, ‘hey, the T680 could save me money on fuel costs and lower my operating costs.'"
One customer has ordered the truck as a result of the visit and since then we've had a lot of customers who weren't able to attend, but have heard about it, start to ask questions about the T680," he added.
Jim Clark, branch manager of Custom Truck Sales - Winnipeg, said the Kenworth Road Tour's July stop in Winnipeg was like a mini-truck show, drawing about 200 customers. The event included a barbeque and ice cream social, plus several other Kenworth truck models were on display.
"Everyone on our dealer staff, who dressed in gold-colored polo shirts to match the tour trucks, participated in the event and were excited about the reaction of customers to the new T680," Clark said. "Customers were impressed by the display and the opportunity to see the truck in person. In fact, one customer waited until he could have the opportunity to see the truck himself, then ordered five of them."
The Kenworth Road Tour is part of the outstanding heavy duty truck support offered by the Kenworth dealer network. This constant commitment to superior satisfaction is demonstrated by Kenworth and its dealer network achieving "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with Heavy Duty Truck Dealer Service, Two Years in a Row", according to J.D. Power and Associates 2011-2012 Heavy Duty Truck Customer Satisfaction Studies(SM).*
A Kenworth T680 76-inch sleeper equipped with the PACCAR MX engine is featured in Kenworth's booth (No. 12137) at the Great American Trucking Show Aug. 23-25 at the Dallas Convention Center.
The T680 Road Tour will visit these locations through the end of October:
KENWORTH T680 ROAD TOUR
Current Scheduled Events
Aug. 27: MHC Kenworth - Little Rock / Little Rock, Ark.
Aug. 30: MHC Kenworth - Springfield / Springfield, Mo.
Aug. 31: Kenworth of Saint Louis / Fenton, Mo.
Sept. 4: MHC Kenworth - Tulsa / Tulsa, Okla.
Sept. 6: Worldwide Equipment - Lexington / Lexington, Ky.
Sept. 8: Truck Enterprises - Harrisonburg / Harrisonburg, Va.
Sept. 10: Kenworth of Southern New Jersey / Swedesboro, N.J.
Sept. 12: Tri-State Kenworth - Enfield / Enfield, Conn.
Sept. 15: U.S. Diesel Truckin' Nationals / Englishtown, N.J.
Sept. 17: C-B Kenworth - Bangor / Portland, Maine
Sept. 19: Kenworth of Buffalo - Syracuse / Syracuse, N.Y.
Sept. 21: Truck Enterprises - Richmond / Richmond, Va.
Sept. 24-25: Cooper Kenworth - Greensboro / Greensboro, N.C.
Sept. 26: Worldwide Kenworth of South Carolina / Columbia, S.C.
Sept. 28: Kenworth of Jacksonville / Jacksonville, Fla.
Oct. 1: Kenworth of South Florida / Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Oct. 3: Kenworth of Central Florida - Tampa / Tampa, Fla.
Oct. 5: TransPower - Albany / Albany, Ga.
Oct. 8: Truckworx Kenworth - Mississippi / Richland, Miss.
Oct. 9: Kenworth of South Louisiana - Harahan / Harahan, La.
Oct. 11: MHC Kenworth - Memphis / Memphis, Tenn.
Oct. 16: Kenworth Sales Company - Salt Lake City / West Valley City, Utah
Oct. 18: Kenworth Sales - Boise / Boise, Idaho
Oct. 22 : Motor Power Equipment - Billings / Billings, Mont.
Oct. 24 : Kenworth Sales - Spokane / Spokane, Wash.
About Kenworth Truck Company
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World's Best(R) heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth is an industry leader in providing fuel-saving technology solutions that help increase fuel efficiency and reduce emissions. The company's dedication to the green fleet includes aerodynamic trucks, compressed and liquefied natural gas trucks, and medium duty diesel-electric hybrids. Kenworth is the only truck manufacturer to receive the Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Air Excellence award in recognition of its environmentally friendly products. In addition, the fuel-efficient Kenworth T700 equipped with the low-emission PACCAR MX engine was named the 2011 Heavy Duty Commercial Truck of the Year by the American Truck Dealers. Kenworth's Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth. A PACCAR Company.