The trucks – 144 in total – are all Elite 6 6x4 wide chassis with air suspension. One hundred of them have dual controls, the other 44 have right-hand steering. And for Penske, the orders are both a vote of confidence in the vehicles and a slight change in strategy to meet developments in the marketplace.
Penske Australia’s Head of Fleet Shannon Mair explained: “We are aiming to double our revenue and the volume we sell by 2025.
“Right now, there are a couple of big contracts coming up. There’s also the usual steady flow of smaller batch orders and some of our efforts to retain as well as conquest certain corporates and municipalities have also paid off.
“But one significant factor that has changed is what leads customers to place orders.
“We used to say ‘cash is king’ but since Covid, being able to fulfil an order has taken on a really important weighting. When customers assess our quote, it is vital to meet contract startup time-frames, especially where one of our corporate clients is replacing an incumbent contractor.
“So we really need to be ahead of the game with a steady pipeline and vehicles on the ground, ready to go.” Penske has been working with Dennis Eagle since 2009 – initially under the guise of its previous owner Transpacific Industries. The first Dennis Eagle trucks were sold in 2011, since then sales have steadily grown and the brand has become well-known in the waste management industry.
And Shannon is confident that Penske won’t have any difficulty selling the Elite 6 trucks: “The waste and refuse landscape is changing slowly and we are seeing increased demand for improved ‘Direct Vision’.
“The Elite 6 provides that, with a full panoramic and unincumbered vision from both RHS and LHS positions in our Dual Control variants. Of course, this is reinforced by the 5-star Direct Vision Standard rating from Transport
“In the domestic refuse industry, we always see a demand for safer and more environmentally friendly vehicles. And while Euro 6 only becomes mandatory in Australia in November 2024, Penske Australia and Dennis Eagle elected to be early adopters of the Cummins B6.7 Euro 6 engine technology.
“When we made the transition to Elite 6, it also added a raft of safety features to the vehicles that have been welcomed by our clients. The low-entry design allows for easy ingress and egress with one-step entry and exit to the nearside kerb and not to the traffic side. And the Advanced Driver Assist Systems, including emergency braking and electronic stability control, were welcomed features over here.
“There is also the low total cost of ownership. Oil draining used to be every 500 hours. Now, with the Euro 6 engine, it’s twice as long for engine service intervals, halving these costs. That, coupled with excellent fuel efficiency from the Cummins B6.7 engine and its environmental credentials, make it a winner.”
Of course, the selling of the trucks is just one part of the jigsaw puzzle. Supporting the operators is vital and Penske Australia is very well-placed to do that.
“We have 14 locations across Australia and New Zealand and an even larger network of independent dealers in addition to that”, added Shannon.
“There are 66 in all, and between them, they cover sales, parts, service and breakdown and we can provide in-house contact maintenance too.
“And there’s one other important aspect that goes down well with customers: that is the clear commitment from Dennis Eagle to continuously invest in improvements to the product, including driver comfort, safety and efficiency. Everyone appreciates that.”