Kenworth & Peterbilt are two of the most famous names in trucking. Anyone who is looking to buy a heavy-duty diesel truck will be looking for something well-built and dependable. For truckers across North America, Kenworth and Peterbilt are a byword for these qualities.
Let's look at what makes them the best trucks available on the market.
Built by PACCAR
While Kenworth & Peterbilt trucks have different models and specifications, they are both made by PACCAR Inc. This Fortune-500 business is over 100 years old and is one of the biggest global manufacturers of medium and heavy-duty trucks worldwide.
PACCAR makes engines at its world-class facility in Columbus, Mississippi. Since it opened in 2010, it's made over 130,000 engines.
PACCAR-built engines are celebrated for their power, fuel efficiency, and longevity — all qualities that any owner-operator is looking for in a new truck.
Help retaining drivers
One of the big post-pandemic news stories has centred around supply-chain problems. While these issues are global, one interesting contributing factor is the shortage of truck drivers.
Professional truck drivers are in demand. If they have a choice, they'll choose a business that provides them with a reliable truck that won't need to be in the shop too often. Fleet managers recognize this and chose to provide Kenworth or Peterbilt trucks to improve driver retention.
Great dealership networks
One of the biggest pluses for Kenworth and Peterbilt owners is PACCAR's great dealership network across North America. It's not uncommon for both brands to have truck dealerships in one town, making appointments and repairs far more accessible
PACCAR still has less market share than Freightliner — although that's quickly changing. Couple this with the fact that Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks are more reliable, and the fact remains that getting an appointment at a dealership is much easier.
Fast turnarounds are crucial for owner-operators. No one can afford to turn work down while their truck sits inactive. A lot of dealerships for other manufacturers promise the world but underdeliver. Kenworth and Peterbilt dealerships are there to help you get back on the road as quickly as possible.
Kenworth and Peterbilt trucks have a reputation for excellent build quality. A big part of this is using quality materials. Many other truck manufacturers skimp on materials to bring a truck in at a lower cost for the consumer, but quality craftsmanship pays for itself over the long run.
Driving a heavy-duty truck means your vehicle will encounter a lot of stress and strain. Flimsy materials lead to downtime and repairs that keep drivers off the road.
Downtime is something no one can afford. But with inflation, dwindling rates, and considerable rises in the cost of diesel, every cent counts. It's become even more critical that truck owners aren't forced off the road for repairs.
Repairs and maintenance are something you can't escape. Any vehicle with mechanical components is going to be subject to some downtime.
Sure, Freightliner has a lower initial cost. However, they just aren't as dependable as Kenworth & Peterbilt trucks. When you add in the cost of repairs and downtime, you're looking at something of a false economy.
With regular preventive maintenance, Kenworth & Peterbilt engines can go for a decade without major repairs or rebuilds. Many of them reach a million miles before requiring serious work.
In the past, Freightliner accounted for 50% of the Class 8 truck market share. In recent years, that number has dropped to around 35%. While some manufacturers, like Volvo and International, have been responsible for eating into that market share, PACCAR-made trucks account for 28% of Class 8 vehicles.
A big part of this recent market swing is because Freightliner trucks have a reputation for being poorly-built vehicles requiring frequent repair.
Earning an excellent reputation takes a lot of time. Additionally, maintaining that reputation is pretty tough. PACCAR doesn't take shortcuts when building its engines and trucks.
While the trucking community is spread far and wide, everyone talks. Truckers know which vehicles and models are reliable and which ones require constant repairs. They've experienced it themselves firsthand, or they know someone who has gone through the problems themselves.
Kenworth & Peterbilt have solid reputations because they stay on the road longer, allowing operators to turn a profit. As Freightliner shows, any problems or a lack of reliability get around and quickly damage your reputation.
Value for money
PACCAR has an excellent reputation for customer service. One big part of that is that they listen to their customers and understand their needs.
Yes, Kenworth & Peterbilt trucks have a higher initial cost outlay. However, that's only one component of evaluating value for money. Owner-operators need to consider two other factors: operating costs and resale value.
Fewer repairs and excellent fuel efficiency help lower costs throughout the year. Add this to the fact that Kenworth & Peterbilt's reputation as trucks that can last a long time and take a lot of wear and tear means they hold their value far better than competitors, and it becomes obvious why they provide better value, even at a higher cost.
Long-haul drivers spend a lot of time in their cabs. Kenworth & Peterbilt cabs are built to a high specification. In short, they're well constructed, well-insulated, and ergonomic.
The build quality allows truckers to have a far more livable environment when driving around the country. Many truckers drive in the dead of night, often at freezing cold temperatures. A well-insulated cab makes for a quieter and more comfortable ride.
Kenworth & Peterbilt trucks have gained an excellent reputation because their trucks are high-quality machines that are built to last.
An excellent dealership network that treats customers with care and respect is another reason why they are the best name in North American trucking.
While Kenworth & Peterbilt trucks might cost a little more than their competitors, their lack of downtime, high resale values, and overall fuel efficiency are just some of the reasons why buying one of these machines is actually great value for money.