Let’s revisit Kenworth and the two new medium-duty cabover models it rolled out in late 2011, the K270 Class 6 and K370 Class 7, both of which are targeted at urban-delivery applications, according to Gary Moore, the company’s general manager. “They offer excellent maneuverability, durability, styling and ease of service for customers operating in urban operations,” he notes, pointing in particular to pickup and delivery service, along with the lease/rental, towing/recovery, landscaping, furniture delivery, plus food processing and distribution markets.

Peterbilt enhanced its medium-duty Models 210 and 220 cabovers for the Class 6 and 7 markets late last year as well, offering several wheelbase options in order to accommodate a variety of application requirements including pickup and delivery, wrecker and sweeper.

“To expand versatility in Peterbilt’s medium-duty line, and to capitalize on market growth, our team of engineers has developed new designs for the Model 210 and 220 to enhance driver productivity,” says Landon Sproull, Peterbilt’s chief engineer. Sproull adds that offering a cabover model allows the OEM to provide what he terms a “complete truck lineup” from Class 5 through Class 8 models.

“That’s the reason Kenworth and Peterbilt offer cabover models; they fill a gap in their product line,” says Brent Gruber, director of commercial vehicle practice at research firm J.D. Power and Associates.

Gruber notes that Paccar also owns DAF Trucks in Europe, which only builds cabover models. That knowledge has allowed for an easy transitioning for a cabover model to meet U.S. market needs. It also gives the OEM an opportunity to pick up incremental medium-duty sales while forging ties with fleets that operate a mix of conventional and cabover trucks—positioning the OEM to gain more aftermarket parts and service business as well.

“They already have the economies of scale in terms of building cabovers from DAF, so while they know cabovers in the U.S. don’t amount to a huge quantity of sales, it gives them the opportunity to address the truck market more broadly,” he says.

Peterbilt says the design enhancements for its cabover models pair a lightweight chassis and frame rail with a strategically positioned electrical system to optimize body installation and increase payload capacity.

The Model 210, for example, is available as a Class 6 straight truck with a GVW rated at 26,000 lbs. It features a tight turning radius for improved maneuverability in difficult, confined spaces, plus a wraparound windshield, extra-large side windows, and heated mirrors for better visibility. The Model 210 comes standard with an automatic transmission and air suspension, is recommended for bodies between 18 to 26 ft. in length, and can be configured for a non-commercial driver’s license operation.