The EXPO - A show of two halves

Tired, clichéd that analogy may seem…but it does apply to the two business days at the Transport & Heavy Equipment (THE) Expo at Mystery Creek – the New Zealand trucking industry’s four-yearly showpiece....

Like a Day 1 with a thin crowd and a lot of negativity about. Mate, with almost a third of the regular players missing from the team (ie no official Hino, Volvo, UD, Mack, Cat, Foton or JAC representation) it’s not a good look.

While there are plenty of transport operators about the place, it still doesn’t make for much of a crowd – so there’s also a bit of unhappiness: “Nah, there’d only 60% of what was here last time,” I hear one guy reporting on his cellphone. 

International distributor Comer Board, surveying his big stand (with eight trucks), but not a single would-be customer, is grimly weighing the cost against the returns. Let’s just say that, at this stage, he ain’t happy.

Then, Friday’s a game-changer: There’s a dramatic mood upswing – with a decent crowd, plenty of action/points being scored (as in “genuine” customers on the stands, good sales leads going into the books…..even deals being done).

It’s like one of those games where a depleted lineup starts out looking like offering little hope of a good spectacle….and then one player after another brings something new to the game. 

Get over the gaps and look at the positives: There is, for instance, a superstar player here – looking sharp, a standout in any crowd…complete with lots of tasty bling. This time it comes in the form of a Kenworth T909 with EVERYTHING – including stuff that money just can’t buy…

There’s a handful of new players making their New Zealand debuts – like the latest (and they say The Greatest) Kenworth conventional; new, sophisticated and stylish Actros and Arocs cabovers from the respected Mercedes-Benz stable; a good-looking heavy-duty Hyundai whose agents are intent on finding it a place here…..

And, while Cat trucks are absent on the ground (even amidst a big Gough Group Cat presence), there’s a newcomer that looks so much like a CT630 it could be its twin: Ummm, that’s because the International ProStar is pretty much just that – and Inter sees it as a breakthrough player in its model lineup....

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