Kenworth's cabovers gaining momentum

KIRKLAND, WA. Kenworth Truck Co.’s new cabover models, the K270 and K370, are “slowly gaining momentum and popularity,” said Doug Powell, the company’s medium-duty marketing manager, at a media event here yesterday.

Introduced last year, these cab-over-engine (COE) models are based on a full North American chassis, according to Powell, and their suitability to certain applications, especially in urban areas, is gaining them a following.

The market for COEs in North America is not huge right now Powell acknowledged, perhaps 2,000 vehicles per year, but changes in the truck market are creating a place for the right cabovers.

Overall length, for instance, is becoming an issue in big cities. That makes the 63.4-inch BBC, which enable a 55-degree wheel cut a big plus, so does the ability to fit more cargo space behind the cab.

Kenworth has also worked hard to help dealers and their customers set aside old notions about COEs and instead ask key questions about their specific equipment needs. 

The company has a dedicated sales trainer in the marketing group and some dealerships have dedicated medium-duty salespeople on staff who are experts at lending customers a hand with their equipment needs analysis.

The addition of more options, such as 22.5-inch tires, rear air suspension, more wheelbase choices and the ability to add an additional fuel tank have also broadened the new cabovers’ appeal. So has the traditional cabover image-busting fit and finish and the fully trimmed interior of these new-style COEs.

 The result is climbing sales, especially in areas like the eastern seaboard, noted Powell, where the COEs' features really deliver benefits.

“Once people are converted, we’ve done a good job retaining them as COE customers," Powell said. “It has been a nice thing to see more people embrace the COE.”


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