New engine for Kenworth, Peterbilt

DALLAS, TX – A proprietary 12.9-liter big block engine is on the way for sister companies Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co., courtesy of a new plant

DALLAS, TX – A proprietary 12.9-liter big block engine is on the way for sister companies Kenworth Truck Co. and Peterbilt Motors Co., courtesy of a new plant now being built by their parent company, Paccar, in Columbus, MS.

Bob Christensen, Kenworth’s GM, said the company is already testing a pre-production model of the new Paccar MX 12.9 engine in T-800 tractors in its own rapid evaluation fleet, as well as in customer fleets, and expects to accumulate 20-million test miles by the end of the year.

“We’re testing the MX heavy-duty engine in a wide variety of applications, terrains and climate conditions,” he said. “The engine test program includes test cell work, testing on the Paccar Technical Center track in Mount Vernon, WA, and road tests.”

The $400-million, 420,000-sq.-ft. Columbus plant that will manufacture the engine is based on a European facility built by Paccar’s DAF subsidiary and is scheduled to begin production in 2009.

“Proprietary engines play a significant role in the sale of new trucks and in the aftermarket,” added Peterbilt’s GM Bill Jackson, noting that Peterbilt is testing the MX 12.9-liter in its Model 388.

“Having our own proprietary engine will allow us to be in markets where we’re currently not,” Kenworth’s Christensen told Fleet Owner. “It allows us to better compete in segments where the other brands have their own engines.”

Christensen expects that the 12.9-liter would find acceptance in both OTR and vocational fleets, where better fuel economy and lighter weight are desired. He also pointed out that the European version of the MX is currently SCR-capable in order to meet more stringent Euro V emission rules, meaning that it could be more easily adapted to meet the last round of U.S. emission changes in 2010.

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