Diamonds in the dust
If there was one stand at Nampo this year where the mood was truly upbeat, it was Renault Trucks. That’s because huge developments are just around the corner. So, what lies in store? CHARLEEN CLARKE reveals all!
The headline to this article may be surprising. After all, Nampo is a farming show – but the Nampo visitors certainly don’t farm diamonds?
True. But, a chat with Naas Burger, sales executive at Renault, at the company’s Nampo stand, explains things. “We are not truck salesmen. We are diamond dealers. We sell diamonds! Nothing cuts (cost) like a diamond,” he points out proudly.
Burger’s statement obviously has a lot to do with the brand’s diamond-shaped logo, which has been around since 1925 (before that, it was made up of the initials of the three Renault brothers – Louis, Ferdinand and Marcek – who founded the company). However he insists that, as a diamond dealer, he does help operators cut costs too. “Our trucks are sturdy and reliable with low fuel consumption that enables them to deliver greater productivity and control operating costs,” he points out.
Herman Venter, acting national sales manager, agrees. “Just look at our Kerax, which is ideal for heavy-duty off-road, construction and farming applications. The farmers like its rough and ready image. Offering a 324 kW (440 hp) powerplant and raised suspension, it is also unequalled when it comes to robustness,” he insists.
Yet another star of the Renault stand is the long-distance Lander. “A lot of farmers are now doing their own transport. As such, we are getting a lot of interest in the Lander, which is a versatile, multi-purpose, long-distance vehicle. Farmers like the fact that it offers the best payload on the market, good safety features and outstanding build quality,” Venter tells FOCUS.
But the big news on the Renault stand is the launch of its all-new truck range, which debuts in South Africa on October 23. “We are moving forward with huge impetus – this is probably the most exciting time in the company’s history,” says Venter.
Clifford Steele, sales engineer at Renault, concurs. “This is the first time we have had a truck that is purpose built for Africa. It is spec’d for our market,” he tells FOCUS.
One question begs asking though: will Renault (which is part of the Volvo Group) be competing with Volvo? Surely this would be a bit messy? “It would,” agrees Venter. “But no, we are not. Going forward, Volvo will be the premium top-end product; we will position Renault as a high-end product. We will focus on distribution and smaller vehicles.”
Burger and Venter are both massively optimistic about the potential of the new range. “We will offer a much broader spectrum of trucks, all with Volvo drivetrains, and we are confident of achieving success,” says Venter.
Adds Burger: “There is already a lot of excitement within the market about the new range, and the customers have also regained faith in Renault.” Indicative of this trend, he has to dash off from our interview to conclude a deal with a customer – right on the Nampo stand. (He returns with a signed order and an enormous smile.)
Renault is also talking to many of the big groups now and expanding its network. “We have a small but dynamic structure and we can respond quickly to customers’ needs. We can do financing, maintenance contracts, driver training … it’s called the Renault Total Offer – we offer cradle to grave value-added services,” explains Venter.
But, most importantly, the Renault team can guarantee customers an exceptionally good deal. “We are very aggressive and we believe that, in order to generate conquest sales, our pricing must be very competitive. A customer who is buying a Renault right now is getting an excellent deal,” notes Burger.
A diamond that is an “excellent deal”? That sounds like the deal of the century!