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Kenworth, Peterbilt introduce new Class 8 tractors

The Peterbilt 579 emerges in a cloud of fog during a news conference Wednesday at Louisville, Ky. Paccar cousins Peterbilt and Kenworth both introduced new Class 8 trators. (The Trucker: Kevin Jones)

By Lyndon Finney
The Trucker Staff

3/21/2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Paccar cousins Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co. introduced new Class 8 tractors during separate news conferences at the Mid-America Trucking Show here Wednesday.

The tractor themselves could easily be called fraternal twins.

With great fanfare, rising curtains and artificial fog, Kenworth revealed its Model T680 shortly after 10 a.m.

With equally great fanfare, rising curtains artificial fog, Peterbilt revealed its Model 579 less than two hours later.

Both OEMs touted new innovations, superior fuel efficiency and an interior maximize for driver convenience and comfort.

“It’s a great honor to proudly introduce the Kenworth T680, which establishes a new standard of excellence in the industry with exceptional styling, superior fuel efficiency, outstanding performance and extraordinary comfort,” Gary Moore, Kenworth general manager and PACCAR vice president, told reporters. “Our goal for the T680 is to be best-in-class in key areas, including aerodynamics, quietness, comfort, reliability, durability, and serviceability.  The Kenworth T680 is the new leader of The World’s Best product line.”

“The all-new 579 goes beyond meeting a market demand for an exceptional vehicle that satisfies both the bottom-line and operator expectations,” said Bill Kozek, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president. “The 579 integrates legendary Peterbilt quality and innovation with a product platform that delivers in every aspect of vehicle performance, productivity and safety. From optimized cab dimensions to an enhanced chassis design, and from driver amenities to a revamped electrical system – every design element of the 579 was analyzed and engineered to provide real-world benefits and business solutions that exceed industry trends.”

Moore said the T680’s extremely stylish and aerodynamic body shape also benefits from sculpted full-height roof, optimized bumper and hood, full-height side extenders, cab/sleeper-to-fairings closeout panels, chassis fairings extenders and flush-mounted lighting.

“It all adds up to a significant 10 percent enhancement in aerodynamics,” he said. “The T680 was engineered with 65 percent more storage capacity, a 50 percent larger windshield, 40 percent less interior noise, 30 percent larger door openings, and best-in-class forward lighting.”

While the look is unmistakably Peterbilt, the 579 features distinctive new styling that goes far deeper than just exterior beauty, Peterbilt officials said.

 According to Landon Sproull, Peterbilt chief engineer, performance and productivity drove the design process.

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_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ “Maximizing fuel economy was a priority and we achieved best-in-class aerodynamic efficiency through Computational Fluid Dynamics and subsequent wind tunnel testing,” he said.“The 579’s interior design process was no less exacting than the aerodynamic exterior and the results are a lineup of trim packages and driver amenities that are unmatched in the industry.”

Kenworth has designed an outstanding truck that takes the company’s long tradition of superior aerodynamics to a new level of achievement, according to chief engineer preston Feight.

“Simply put, the Kenworth T680 is Kenworth’s most aerodynamic truck … ever,” Feight said. TThe T680 is designed to smoothly slice through the air, setting an industry standard for aerodynamics and fuel efficiency.”

Both trucks will go into production later this spring.

The Trucker staff can be reached for comment at editor@thetrucker.com.

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