Eurocargo with an African twist

Eurocargo with an African twist

Sunny South Africa is the envy of many with its natural beauty, (mostly) wonderful weather and cultural diversity, but things aren’t always so sunny … many European original equipment manufacturers’ vehicles can’t enter our market, as fuel quality presents a massive problem. Iveco is breaking the cycle, however, with its new Eurocargo – assembled in Africa for Africa!

Time flies when you’re having fun … 2014 must have been very enjoyable as there are only three months left before the end of this year! A few exciting events remain, however, before all is said and done. One is the launch of Iveco’s new Eurocargo – this manufacturer’s first truck to be produced in South Africa.

The transport community received a sneak peek of the new proudly South African Eurocargo about a year ago – at the 2013 Johannesburg International Motor Show. This was just a preview, as the company planned to launch the vehicle in the second half of this year.

“All customer demands find their answer with this truck,” says Bob Lowden, managing director of Iveco Southern Africa. “Eurocargo is the most versatile heavy truck on the market, with over 11 000 product variants to suit every application, including a 4×4 version.”

Lowden continues: “It is a vehicle especially engineered for bodybuilding, thanks to its completely flat and free upper chassis structure that allows easy installation of any kind of superstructure. Its 220 cm-wide cabin and 12,4-m turning circle guarantee high manoeuvrability even on the narrowest roads.”

Iveco states that the Eurocargo has seven gross vehicle mass (GVM) variants (from six to 19 t), five horsepower categories (from 180 to 280 hp, or 132 to 206 kW), 13 gearbox options (seven manual, three automated and three automatic), 4×2 and 4×4 drive, 13 wheel bases (from 2 790 to 6 570 mm) and three types of cabs with two roof heights.

The company’s R530-million Rosslyn plant, near Pretoria, will initially tackle five models and nine derivatives. These include the MLC 120E22, MLC 140E22, MLC 150E24 W, MLC 150E24 WS, MLC 150E22 H, MLC 180E28 (manual and automatic) and the MLL 180E28 (manual and automatic).

(For those who don’t speak Iveco, the MLC and MLL indicate whether it’s a day or sleeper cab, respectively, with the number after that indicating the vehicle’s GVM.

For example, the 120 indicates that it has a 12 t GVM. The digits after the E indicate the horsepower – just add a zero. The new generation, as Lowden mentions, is also available in a 4×4 version – with the WS being a traditional off roader and the W having a double set of wheels on the back axle. The H indicates that it is a model with a reduction hub.)

“We do offer more models and derivatives, but these aren’t currently part of the local range,” states Deon Wannenburg, the company’s product manager. “But they can be ordered from our dealer network.”

He adds that the locally assembled range comprises exactly the same vehicles that can be found in Europe, just with reconfigured engines. “We’ve ‘de-rated’ the Euro-5 engine to comply with Euro-3 specification fuel, which makes it ideal for various African markets,” Wannenburg points out – adding that the new models offer more power than the previous generation.

Iveco is also building these to endure local hurdles. “The first model, of each vehicle that we produce, is tested at Gerotek, just outside of Pretoria, in a shakedown examination – which includes 2 000 km of gruelling challenges,” says Wannenburg. “This helps us to identify any shortcomings on the units, enabling us to refine the assembly process.”

He adds that the new Eurocargo offers better driver comfort and sports a more modern look. “It now fits right in with the new Stralis Hi-Way and Trakker, as it has the same grill and design as these two models,” Wannenburg points out.

The other major difference, when compared to the previous model range, is the new gearbox. “We’ve replaced the old Iveco nine-speed gearbox with one from ZF, which offers wonderful backup support to the local market,” says Wannenburg.

Lowden adds: “The new Eurocargo is the product that will allow us to substantially expand in the 10 600-unit South African heavy market.”

Watch this space! More will be revealed after the official launch of this proudly South African Eurocargo …

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