Comtrans echoes a market on the boil!
The Russian market is on the boil and this was reflected in the number of launches and Russian premieres at Comtrans 2017
One could almost sense the positivity in the halls at Comtrans; the stands were extremely busy and the message was clear: the recently beleaguered Russian commercial vehicle market is now thriving.
This was indicated in visitor numbers: 20 500 people journeyed to the Moscow-based exhibition. This is 27-percent more than in 2015, during the height of the economic crisis in the Russian transport sector. The total exhibition area increased by five percent compared to 2015, reaching
41 897 m².
As could be expected, the Russian companies wowed visitors with numerous world premieres. While Kamaz launched its all-new 54901 (see page 16 for more details), Gaz had a whopping ten world premieres on the stand. In particular, the concept vehicle Sobol All-Terrain Crawler – an amphibious off-road vehicle – as well as the off-road concept truck Vepr Next (based on the light truck series GAZon) attracted visitors.
Gaz also announced the launch of its new URAL Next 6×4, which aims to open up new markets in the on-road and light construction segment. In addition, Gaz presented a right-hand drive URAL Next 6×6 for export markets for the first time.
In the light truck segment, Gaz also presented new developments. The medium-duty truck GAZon Next is now available with a permissible total weight of ten tonnes, which corresponds to a payload of one tonne more compared to the heaviest GAZon-Next model so far.
Belarusian manufacturer Minsk Automobile Factory (Maz) presented three new truck models at Comtrans 2017. The Maz-5440S9-520-03 tractor is equipped with a new, 313 kW (420 hp) six-cylinder Euro-5 engine with Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) exhaust aftertreatment. The interior of the cabin has been completely reworked.
While Volvo presented its existing FH and FMX models, Scania celebrated the Russian debut of the New Generation S, R and G Series. Scania’s New Generation trucks have been available in Russia since August 2017. In the immediate vicinity, visitors could admire the new Daf XF, which also celebrated its Russian premiere at the fair.
Daimler Kamaz Rus showed the current and new-generation Actros. The former will only be available in Russia in 2018. The new Actros, like its predecessor, will be assembled in Naberezhnye Chelny. Due to the conversion of production in Wörth, Germany, the main plant for Mercedes-Benz trucks, Daimler will sell only the new Actros generation in Russia from 2020 onwards.
Ford Trucks has ambitions to get a larger piece of the cake and catch up with the Seven Sisters in Russia. The Turkish truck manufacturer presented the new 1848T and 3542T tractors, as well as the 3542D tipper, which were specially configured for the Russian market. These vehicles look really good; unfortunately, there are no immediate plans to produce right-hand drive models, meaning we won’t see them in South Africa.
The Asian truck manufacturers also had a strong presence at Comtrans. Chinese company Foton presented the Auman EST for the first time in Russia. The long-distance truck, based on the Mercedes-Benz Actros, is powered by a Cummins Euro-5 engine paired to a fully automatic Traxon transmission from ZF. Hyundai Trucks launched the Mighty range of light-duty trucks.
The light commercial vehicle (LCV) market in Russia is also experiencing significant growth (it grew by 22,9 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to the previous year). As such, the mood among LCV manufacturers was also extremely positive.
Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant (UAZ), Russia’s second-largest LCV manufacturer, celebrated the world premiere of a completely new pickup series. The UAZ Profi is ideal for flatbed, box, special superstructures or municipal applications.
Market leader Gaz presented the GAZelle Next 4.6 transporter. The vehicle is equipped with a new rear axle as well as disc brakes on all wheels. Mercedes-Benz presented the X-Class concept. The production version of this bakkie will be available in Russia in the second half of 2018.
The new Volkswagen (VW) Crafter, which made its Russian debut at Comtrans, set the scene at the remarkably large VW booth. The new Ford Transit, which was on display in several different variants at the Ford stand, was also launched to the Russian market during the fair.
The manufacturers of trailers and superstructures were well represented at Comtrans. Schmitz Cargobull, market leader in Russia, announced the launch of the S.KO refrigerated semi-trailer as well as the new generation curtainsider S.CS for Russia. For the first time on a Russian show, Kögel showed a three-axle tipper trailer with 27 m³ load volume, as well as its own trailer axle, the KTA.
In addition to the truck and van manufacturers, numerous bus manufacturers showed their wares. Kamaz showed an amazing autonomous people mover, which can accommodate up to 12 people and is intended to drive up to 40 km/h. Passengers give the electrically powered minibus their destination via a smartphone app.
On the other hand, the Kamaz-6282 electric bus, which was displayed together with a quick-charging station, showed current developments at the company. The bus is equipped with a lithium-titanium battery and achieves a range of 70 km. According to Kamaz, the battery charges in only 20 minutes.
Gaz is starting with electric buses, too, both in the midibus segment with the Gaz brand and with city buses from the LIAZ brand. It showed an electrically powered prototype based on the LIAZ-5292 low-floor bus. This vehicle has already completed over 13 500 km of field testing in Moscow.
Gaz also showed the Vector Next bus with low-floor access and wheelchair space in the rear. Also new is the Kursor LE, a midibus which, thanks to the raised rear area, has 27 seats and is also suitable for poor road conditions.
MAN launched its new Lion’s Coach at the fair. The completely redesigned coach fulfils the requirements for increased rollover resistance and comes with LED lights. It was extremely well received by visitors to the fair.
The next Comtrans takes place in at the Crocus Expo Center in Moscow in September 2019.