Many trips down memory lane were taken when Rihm Kenworth recently celebrated its 65th year as a Kenworth dealer. The St. Paul, Minn.-based dealership held an event that featured the Kenworth T680 Advantage 'Efficiency in Motion Road' Tour, local products and services. The anniversary event coincided with the opening the day before of the Minnesota State Fair, one of the country's top five fairs.
Rihm Kenworth employees gather for a special moment in front of the Kenworth T680 Advantage 'Efficiency in Motion' tour trailer during the dealer's 65th anniversary celebration.
"Our 65th anniversary event was attended by more than 400 people and our customers received a good look at the most aerodynamic truck in Kenworth's history. The presence of the Kenworth T680 Advantage and tour trailer at our celebration just made it all the more special for us," said Kari Rihm, who serves as president and dealer principal of one of Kenworth's oldest family-owned dealerships. Rihm took over the reins of Rihm Kenworth following the death of her husband, John, in 2010.
"The T680 has generated a lot of excitement among our customers for its look, appeal to drivers and its remarkable fuel efficiency. In every sales meeting with customers that I've attended, fuel efficiency has been at least one of the top two, if not the top motivating factor, for fleets buying new trucks," she said. "That's why our customers are so intrigued by the Kenworth T680 Advantage. The truck can offer them a competitive advantage in holding down operating costs and attracting new drivers."
Having several old Kenworth trucks belonging to current and former long-time customers present for the celebration also made the day special, Rihm added.
This classic 1928 Kenworth Model VS107 is owned by Al Koenig.
"We had a 1928 Kenworth (Model VS107) that belongs to a former long-time customer - Al Koenig*, at our event," she said. "And we had a 1974 Kenworth K100 cabover with only 539 original miles that a customer bought from us years ago as a collector's item. In fact, it's very likely that my husband put most of those miles on the truck. He probably drove it from the old Kenworth manufacturing plant in Kansas City, Mo., to Rihm Kenworth. About that time, he drove trucks from the plant back to St. Paul for customers while attending school."
Norm Salto owns this very high mileage Kenworth W900A with 4.5 million miles.
This very low mileage Kenworth K100 cabover is owned by Stagecoach Diesel / Gary Ries.
Rihm said having customers visit and reminisce about the history of her family's company and the place her family has had in their lives makes her immensely proud of being a part of the company's history. She said she believes the event not only celebrated the place Rihm Kenworth has had in the history of the community and Kenworth, but also represented a bridge to Kenworth's next generation of customers.
"Our son, J.B. Rihm, who's named after his great-grandfather, and manages outside parts sales for the company, planned this event and did such a fantastic job of creating a buzz about it by using social media," Rihm added. "We've always tried to be at the forefront of using new technology to reach out to our customers and serve them. We were one of the first Kenworth dealers to offer a web site. It was our web site that a Saudi businessman found when he was here with his father, who was being treated at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
"That Saudi businessman bought some Kenworth parts and took them home and over the years we've grown that international business by word of mouth, personal visits and social media to become a major exporter of new and used Kenworth trucks and parts," she added. "But we've never forgotten our roots back home, taking care of our local customers by providing them Kenworth trucks that offer them a lower cost of ownership like the T680 and outstanding parts and service support."
Kenworth Truck Company is the manufacturer of The World's Best® heavy and medium duty trucks. Kenworth's Internet home page is at www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.
*Kenworth featured Al Koenig and his Kenworth VS107 plus several other vintage Kenworth trucks in a previous news release: http://www.kenworth.com/news/news-releases/2013/december/vintage-kenworths.aspx.