A new entrant to africa?
Russian vehicle maker GAZ Group has launched its new medium-duty truck; the GAZon Next – and the company is eyeing the African market for introduction.
GAZ Group’s Gorky Automobile Plant – a part of Basic Element, one of Russia’s largest diversified industrial groups – has kicked off production of the company’s new generation medium-duty truck; the GAZon Next.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, together with Oleg Deripaska, head of Basic Element’s supervisory board, and Vadim Sorokin, GAZ group president, announced the launch via a televised session with the plant’s workers in September.
“GAZon Next is GAZ Group’s third new product launched in 2014. I hope the vehicle will become a new leader among medium-duty trucks, since it has all the required technological features,” Deripaska says.
Earlier this year, GAZ Group unveiled the 19-seat GAZelle Next bus and a double-row cargo and passenger version of the GAZelle Next light commercial vehicle. The model range will expand to include the Sadko Next off-roader, which will be released in 2015.
With a total investment in the GAZon Next truck family of US$ 60 million (R673 milion), the vehicle was designed to be the perfect choice for professionals; combining state-of-the-art engineering solutions, a high level of active and passive safety and excellent ergonomics in the driver’s cabin.
The vehicle has been designed for a long service life and to pay for itself in a short period of use in various areas of business. It features an extended warranty, low maintenance costs, high fuel efficiency and the best price in its class.
GAZon Next is built using systems and components from the world’s leading suppliers: ZF steering, Tenneco shock absorbers, braking components from Wabco, CSA Castellon adjustable steering column, ZF clutch, Takata safety belts and Delphi ventilation systems.
The truck is powered by the high-output, fuel-efficient YMZ-534 engine. The engine’s power output has been increased from 101 to 111 kW (136 to 149 hp) when compared to the outgoing model.
The urban and universal versions of GAZon Next are differentiated by wheel size and loading height. The urban truck’s lower platform allows faster and easier loading/offloading, whereas the universal truck’s higher road clearance enhances its off-road capability.
GAZon Next has a payload capacity of five tonnes – 500 kg more than previous models of GAZ trucks. Due to the increased length and width of the cargo platform and the increased height of the rectangular canopy, the loading area has grown by 20 percent and loading volume (under canopy) by 42 percent.
A broader cargo platform can hold nine (standard wheelbase) or 12 (long-wheelbase) standard cargo pallets in one layer, compared to six or ten pallets in older models.
GAZon Next’s double-row cabin has seven seats, while a single-row model can accommodate three people. The spacious cabin is equipped with a comfortable anatomic driver’s seat with five adjustments and lumbar support.
The truck is also equipped with a modernised front and rear suspension and new hydraulic power steering. Anti-lock braking and anti-slip regulation ensure improved safety and manoeuvrability.
With an extended three-year (or 150 000 km) warranty, the truck has a service interval up to 20 000 km – the best in Russia’s light and medium-duty segments. Sorokin notes: “Safety, ergonomics and comfort are the three basic principles of the new vehicle. State-of-the-art technical solutions, together with the world’s leading suppliers of auto components, ensure the best guarantee in its class. None of our competitors have similar warranty conditions.”
In preparation for the manufacture of these vehicles, GAZ auto plant dramatically upgraded its production facilities, including the installation of new welding lines and more than 100 advanced moulding tools.
Due to the vehicle’s reliability, the best-in-class price and low maintenance costs, the company says GAZon Next has high export potential, particularly for eastern European countries, Asia and Africa.
“A higher payload capacity, increased passenger capacity, ergonomics and better drivability makes GAZon Next an ideal choice for the business, social and utility sectors,” Sorokin concludes.
The GAZ Group is the biggest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in Russia, producing light and medium-duty commercial vehicles, buses, trucks, passenger cars, powertrains and auto components. It is the leader in the Russian commercial vehicle market, with 50 percent of the light commercial vehicle segment and nearly 65 percent of the bus segment.
As regular readers of FOCUS know, this magazine has been appointed an associate member of the International Truck of the Year (IToY)! FOCUS is the sole South African magazine to have joined this prestigious body. One of the advantages of this association is access to exclusive articles, specially written for FOCUS by ITOY jury members. This is one such article.