Hitting the big time

| October 01, 2006

Using state-of-the art manufacturing technology, the plant transformed used sleeper cabs into the industry’s first OEM Reconfigured Day Cabs, and the product was marketed by Freightliner Market Development Corp., the division responsible for used truck remarketing and the SelecTrucks brand.

Now, Freightliner is discontinuing day cab reconfiguration because of improved resale values of used trucks, an increased demand for used sleeper cabs and a more balanced availability of as-built day cabs.

“The used truck industry has changed since we started the Reconfigured Day Cab manufacturing operation, and our customers now indicate a stronger need for long-haul trucks,” said Rich Ferguson, president of FMDC. “We intend to channel our supply of used sleeper cabs directly to the market, as opposed to reconfiguring them. In addition, we will continue to support our loyal Reconfigured Day Cab customers by maintaining diverse inventory of quality used as-built day cabs.”

Freightliner said it would work with local organizations, the Utah Department of Workforce Services and temp agencies to help employees find other jobs.
- Brittani Tingle

First Kenworth T660 Rolls Off the Line at Chillicothe Plant
The first Kenworth T660 rolled off the assembly line in Chillicothe, Ohio, on Aug. 16. Kenworth unveiled the T660 in March at the Mid-America Trucking Show as the replacement for its T600, effective with the January 2007 switch to new engine techology. The initial units are for validation of the T660 for both on-highway operations and factory production.
The T660 includes a number of features and options:

  • Aerodynamic improvements have been made in bumpers, hoods, grilles, windshields, fenders and headlights.

    Mike Dozier, Kenworth chief engineer, said these measures are partially in response to the heavier 2007 engines, which will add at least 100 pounds of weight, and to the drop in fuel economy expected from ultra low sulfur diesel fuel. He declined to quantify any aerodynamic improvements but said the T660 definitely is more aerodynamic than the current T600.

  • New halogen-projector headlights produce 40 percent more light than conventional sealed-beam lamps. Optional xenon high-intensity-discharge headlights provide 70 percent more light than sealed-beam lamps. The headlights also can be replaced without tools, Dozier said.
  • New seats include armrests that fold away to provide 4 more inches of sleeper access.
  • The Kenworth GPS has a new in-dash color display, with touch-screen control, that provides diagnostics including real-time fuel economy. The GPS provides turn-by-turn guidance throughout the continental United States and Canada, with a memory that stores up to 1,000 destinations. A built-in MP3 player stores up to 5,000 songs for playback through the cab stereo system.

GPS is standard on the Diamond cab interior and optional on the Splendor cab interior. “That’s a growing demand item,” said Bob Christensen, Kenworth general manager. “There’s a lot of interest in navigation.”

Another new factory option for the T660 is the premium Pendleton Limited Edition cab and sleeper, which features leather in the seats, door pads, steering wheel and sofa bed and wood grain throughout the interior. It comes with a plaque of authenticity from Pendleton Woolen Mills and a custom Pendleton travel bag and wool jacquard blanket that share the design touches found in the sleeper.

Available on the 72-inch sleeper beginning in the second quarter of 2007 is the new Kenworth Clean Power system, a proprietary design years in the making, which provides up to 10 hours of 110-volt hotel power with the engine off, thanks to four dedicated batteries that store the power generated simply by driving. Five hours of operation fully recharges the system.

Simply driving also freezes the liquid inside the under-the-bunk Thermal Storage Cooler. About the size of a microwave oven, it can cool the parked sleeper for up to 10 hours even in 95-degree temperatures. It’s a closed system, so the water doesn’t evaporate, Dozier said.

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