Western Star X-Series wins Truck of the Year Australasia 2024

In News, Western Star8 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 13, 2024

The new Western Star X-Series is the 2024 Truck of the Year Australasia! The winner of this sought-after accolade was announced at a pre-conference event ahead of the opening of the inaugural Teletrac-Navman Technology Maintenance and Safety Conference on 13 March 2024 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The coveted trophy was presented to Penske Australia and New Zealand managing director Hamish Christie-Johnston.

The Western Star fended off serious competition in the form of the Volvo F-Series Electric and Scania’s Super Series. The main criterion for the nomination and election of any Truck of the Year Australasia candidate should be its contribution to the standards of safety and efficiency of transport of goods by road in Australasia.

Truck of the Year Australasia is judged by by PowerTorque editor Tim Giles, New Zealand TruckingMedia editorial director Dave McCoid, FOCUS on Transport & Logistics editorial director Charleen Clarke, long-time Australian trucking industry stalwart, Bob Woodward (who recently retired as the Australian Trucking Association’s- chief engineer), and Randolph Covich, publisher of Deals on Wheels (New Zealand).

“I am thrilled to receive the 2024 Truck of the Year Australasia award on behalf of our Australia and New Zealand Western Star teams,” said Christie-Johnston.

“Since we launched the all-new X-Series in late 2022, we’ve received outstanding feedback from everyone who has driven the trucks. From customers to media personnel, the response has been unanimous that the X-Series is a seriously premium package.”

Tim Giles and Dave McCoid presenting the award to representatives of Penske Australia and New Zealand. 

Judge and PowerTorque editor Tim Giles said all three contenders brought major strengths to the competition. “When it comes to pure engineering, the way Scania took what was an excellent and a frugal driveline and redesigned all of the components, taking them to another level, is very impressive, and Volvo needed an electric alternative in the prime mover department and came up with a solution which turned a good to drive, well-designed truck into a good to drive, well-designed truck that also achieves zero emissions.

“In the new X-Series from Western Star, we see a completely different truck from its predecessor; the design brings the Western Star brand bang up to date. The X-Series includes all of the latest goodies like the Detroit DT12 AMT, which has performed well from the word go. For the traditionalist, there is still a Roadranger available, just to reassure us that the dying art of the truck driver is still with us.”

Clarke says that this year’s competition was particularly challenging to judge. “All three contenders are superb trucks! On the one hand, there was the Scania Super, a brilliant truck that proves the potential for the internal combustion engine. It does everything exceptionally well – but the potential for fuel savings is hugely appealing. This would definitely resonate with each and every transport operator.

“Then there was the Volvo. The company has done an astounding job of bringing e-mobility to truckers around the world. The FH is sublime in that a driver can just hop into it, drive the truck, and save the planet at the same time (yes, I know that’s a slight exaggeration).

“Finally, there was the Western Star X-Series. With its powerful driveline, better-than-ever safety features, comfortable and ergonomic cab, we all knew that the X-Series had to be in with a shot. The X-Series got the nod from me because it’s a huge leap forward for the brand. It’s also probably the ultimate truck for Australasian transport operators – and it can be rolled out right now,” she said.

McCoid says the competition was really interesting this year. “After a couple of difficult rounds of discussion all five of us involved in the selection process were unanimous the Western Star X-Series was this year’s winner. The X-Series circumvents several steps in what would normally be the evolutionary path for a truck at the stage the previous model was at, but being able to tap into the Daimler Truck North America platform has catapulted the X-Series to the pointy end of the market.

“The result not only increases choice in the marketplace for those whose customers have stringent safety requirements, but also raises the industry sector bar for the average level of capability. It also extends the challenge to competitors whose premium bonneted products might not match the X-Series in some core capabilities.

“In terms of the New Zealand market, offering an 8×4 in the 450kW hits the nail on the head.

“And lastly, there’s also that component in it that I love, the acknowledgement of lineage – who they are, being proud and honouring it, and knowing there’s still an active market. Yes, I’m talking gauges, gear levers, and grain on the dash. The sun is most definitely setting on that era in the industry, but not just yet if that’s what you want in your big, new, shiny Star.

“This is a well thought through market-wide offering,” McCoid concludes.

Background to Truck of the Year Australasia (ToYA)

The International Truck of the Year (IToY) was launched in Europe in 1977, the brainchild of Pat Kennett, editor of the British magazine TRUCK and a legendary commercial vehicle journalist of the era. Today, the European jury comprises 24 members from publications throughout Europe who award the IToY annually, alongside an additional innovation award. Today that organisation has been joined by associate members in the growing truck markets of Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, China, India, Israel, Malaysia, and South Africa. Altogether, the combined truck operator readership of the 24 IToY full jury members’ magazines and those of its associate members exceeds 1.1 million.

The expansion of the IToY membership through its associates has seen the initial IToY concept expanded, with the awarding of the Truck of the Year Latin America, and Chinese Truck of the Year. Last year, the concept made its way Down Under with the first Truck of the Year Australasia presented in May 2023 at the Brisbane Truck Show. The presentation venue of the Australasia award alternates between Australia and New Zealand on a yearly basis.