Eicher goes pro in SA!
Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV), the joint venture of Volvo Group and Eicher Motors, recently launched Eicher trucks in South Africa; building on a history that stretches back to 1959 and the VECV partnership that is now a decade old
Surender Singh Rajpurohit, vice president and country head at VECV South Africa, explains that every third truck in India is an Eicher, and that South Africa joins more than 30 countries in which Eicher is present, with an on-road population of 500 000 trucks and buses.
“It is indeed a proud moment for us to launch the Eicher Pro Series range of trucks in South Africa. This is a strategic market and it will play a critical role in the international business of Eicher Trucks and Buses. The company plans to continuously invest in the introduction of country-specific products and aftermarket infrastructure,” says Rajpurohit.
Since 2013, the product development initiative for the entire Pro Series range has involved an investment of three-million hours of engineering effort, 7,7-million kilometres of testing and
50 000 hours of engine development.
The first model to be launched locally is the Eicher Pro 3008, which underwent an 18-month development phase, including
200 000 km of testing, before it was adapted to the needs of the local market.
The Eicher Pro 3008 has an 8,5-t gross vehicle mass and is powered by a 109 kW (147 hp), 400 Nm four-cylinder Volvo-group engine. It drives through a six-speed manual gearbox (according to Rajpurohit, Eicher research indicates that 60 percent of trucks sold in the Pro 3008’s segment are manual). Braking is by way of anti-lock, dual-circuit, full S-cam air brakes, as well as an exhaust brake.
Rajpurohit explains that there are numerous key differentiators that mark the Pro 3008. First, it is known for its fuel efficiency, which “has been proved to be ten-percent better than its competitors in independent, back-to-back testing”. A 190-litre fuel tank is fitted as standard.
Then, the modular chassis is constructed from Domex and is “made to be stronger to withstand conditions in countries with ‘no’ payload limit…”. Leaf-spring suspension with anti-roll bars are fitted as is a maintenance-free propshaft that has been lubricated for life.
Other standout features include an ergonomic cab – that conforms to European AIS 029 crash standards – and features such as electric windows, air-conditioning, an audio system, numerous storage spaces and the Intelligent Driver Information System (IDIS). IDIS is yet more Volvo-group technology that displays pertinent information to the driver, including various truck operating parameters; on-board diagnostics; and a fuel-efficiency meter. “IDIS is a first in this segment,” says Rajpurohit.
The Pro 3008 is available with a three-year/200 000 km warranty; comprising a two-year bumper-to-bumper warranty and a third year of driveline cover.
“The local team has been proactively busy ensuring parts availability and technical training to technicians before starting sales. A huge investment and a partnership with 3PL partner Bidvest Panalpina Logistics (BPL) will ensure parts availability. Currently the parts warehouse has over 2 600 line items available,” Rajpurohit explains.
Locally, Eicher is already represented across the country at 14 strategic locations. Rajpurohit explains that Eicher is currently in discussion with UD Trucks Southern Africa about the possibility of local production at the Japanese brand’s plant in Roslyn, Pretoria.
The heavy-commercial-category Eicher Pro 6000 Series will follow by year end and is currently undergoing local testing, before it heads for homologation. The Pro 6000 Series will include construction tippers