Dakar driver for a day

Dakar driver for a day

There is a lot going on at Iveco South Africa at the moment, which will benefit the company and its customers. GAVIN MYERS reports.

First for discussion are the changes at the top. With Bob Lowden returning to the United Kingdom, Eamonn Parker has, as of
October 1, taken over the role as the local MD. The company has also seen the arrival of Mario Gasparri as vice president of CNH Industrial South Africa – Iveco’s parent company.

Then there’s Iveco’s new plant in Roslyn, Pretoria, which, during July, started production of the company’s medium range of vehicles, adding extra-heavies and buses during October. One of CNH Industrial’s 63 plants worldwide, it has capacity to build 5 000 trucks and 1 000 buses a year, with 20 percent of production dedicated to export.

Iveco’s limited edition Tested By Dakar kits are available on its 4x4 models.The company has also officially launched the new EuroCargo range of heavy commercial vehicles (HCVs), which you may have read about when we brought you a sneak-peek back in September.

To refresh your memory, the new range of six- to 19-t vehicles consists of the 120E22, 140E22 and 150E22 models (now offering 164 kW (220 hp) over the previous 156 (210 hp)), the re-introduction of the 160E24, and the 180E28.

There are also two 4×4 models – the 150E24W (dual wheels) and WS (single wheels) – and it is these that form the basis of the final bit of Iveco’s big news … you now have the opportunity to own your own Iveco Dakar racing truck! Well, sort of … Offered on all 4×4 versions of the Daily, EuroCargo and Trakker, customers can order special, limited-edition Tested By Dakar kits.

Designed in collaboration with LA Sport, these kits consist of a black powder-coated front bull bar (with optional front tow hitch and 5,4 t winch), black powder-coated steel rims, a rear tow bar on the Daily, 50 w 6,7-inch LED spot lights, water-resistant seat covers, and a full cab wrap in the livery of the immortal “507” Dakar Trakker.

If any of these customers attended Iveco’s Tested By Dakar Experience at the ADA Training Facility just outside Lanseria, during October, it would be hard to imagine some of them not ordering these kits. The event included an action-packed series of “mini-Dakar” activities that kept visitors enthralled. Ever wanted to take a Daily round a dirt skid-pan? Guests were able to do just that, with a bit of competition to post the quickest time.

Dakar driver for a dayThen it was time to trade the screeching tyres for the axle-twisting punishment of the off-road course, and put the Daily 4×4 –Tested By Dakar Limited Edition, of course – through its (quite remarkable) paces. This vehicle can certainly “rough it with the best”!

The highlight of the event, though, was undoubtedly Iveco SA’s replica 507 Trakker, also built by LA Sport. Almost identical to the real thing, it features completely upgraded suspension, an altered engine configuration, and a stripped-out cabin with roll cage and three bucket seats. It might be about 300 kW down on the pukka Dakar racer, but, in expert hands around the ADA facility, it was one exhilarating ride!

As team Iveco Petronas De Rooy prepares for another top performance in Dakar 2015 (the team finished second, seventh and tenth this year), Iveco South Africa is preparing for its own top performance at the hands of its new management, as the Roslyn plant moves into full production, and as the new EuroCargo hits the road – hopefully most of them decked-out in that distinctive, green, Tested By Dakar livery!

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