Kenworth Truck Company recently produced the 750,000th truck at its Chillicothe, Ohio, plant. The Kenworth T680 Signature Edition with a 76-in., high roof sleeper was delivered to Heartland Express during a special ceremony at the plant this week.
On hand for the ceremony was Heartland Express’ CEO Mike Gerdin, who received the keys to the historic truck from Kevin Baney, Kenworth general manager and Paccar vice president. Also participating were Jim Walenczak, Kenworth assistant general manager for sales and marketing, Doug VanZuiden, Kenworth Chillicothe plant manager, and Preston Hinkle, MHC Kenworth regional vice president and general manager.
“This is a special year for Kenworth. We’re celebrating our 100th anniversary, and our Chillicothe plant met yet another milestone with the production of its 750,000th truck,” says Baney. “It’s a tribute to all that have worked at this plant over the years since it opened nearly 50 years ago. We couldn’t be happier this historic truck is going to a long-time customer like Heartland Express. It’s a fleet that began operation just after the Chillicothe plant opened, and it’s in its second generation as a family-run business – growing to more than 6,000 trucks.”
“We’re so excited to receive this Signature Edition Kenworth T680 anniversary truck. The Century Platinum paint job will really stand out from our traditional white Heartland fleet trucks,” says Gerdin. “This truck is going to be presented to a special driver shortly and will mean as much to that driver as it does to us. We are so very proud and honored to drive the 750,000th truck out of the Chillicothe plant.”
Gerdin adds after a plant tour several years ago, it reinforced his decision to purchase Kenworths. “The first thing I noticed was the people,” he says. “I talked with many of those working on the line and you could tell they cared deeply for what they were doing and had pride in the quality of trucks they were producing. When trucks are delivered to us by MHC, drivers are almost fighting to get in them. We love the fuel economy and reliability we get from these trucks, and the drivers love the look and the ride.”
“It’s great that Mike understands and appreciates what happens behind the scenes building trucks at our Kenworth plant,” says VanZuiden, Kenworth’s Chillicothe plant manager. “We delivered our 500,000th truck back in 2016, which doesn’t seem that long ago. We take our World’s Best slogan to heart.”
The Chillicothe plant opened in 1974.