Keeping the wheels turning

Keeping the wheels turning

The Johannesburg Expo Centre was the venue, the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) the occasion – and the FOCUS team attended the concurrent Truck & Bus show en masse. Here are some of the highlights of the show

DAF

Babcock DAF did not hold a press briefing this year, but did have a comprehensive display for visitors themed on its Advanced Tranport Efficiency (ATe) programme. Mention was made (at a luncheon held by the company during the show) that the company would be coming up with a new financing scheme early next year. Furthermore, Babcock DAF revealed that it hopes to sell 200 trucks this year and 300 in 2014. The team was in an elated mood at JIMS, having just secured an order for 120 trucks from Reinhardt Transport.

FAW

FAW has been in South Africa since the early 1990s and during that time has diversified its product range to meet the demands of the local market sectors in which it is active. According to Angelique Botha, national customer relations manager, the company now
fully understands the needs of its customers and its market and is placing emphasis on spare parts and after-sales support. All FAW vehicles are also
SABS approved.

Mercedes-Benz’s new Sprinter will feature a Euro-5 engine and seven-speed gearbox.Botha made mention of the fact that the company’s new plant in the Coega Industrial Development Zone, in the Eastern Cape, will be complete in December. It will produce 5 000 units a year for local and export markets and will make South Africa the company’s production base for the rest Africa.

Hino

Hino used its new brand promise “Keep on Truckin’” as its theme for the show, which was reflected in the new vehicles it had on display. These included the revitalised 700-series (see page 12 for full details) and new models in both the 500- and 300-series.

As of the first quarter of 2014, the 500-series will include the new Euro-4-rated 2626 6×2 freight carrier, with a 26-tonne GVM, full-floating cab, ABS brakes and full dual air suspension on the rear.

Hino South Africa’s vice-president, Casper Kruger, also made mention of the substantial infrastructure investment being made by various dealers, as well as the company’s new plant in Prospecton, Durban, due to be opened at the beginning of 2014. This R50-million facility will assemble all models in the Hino range.

Isuzu

Isuzu Truck South Africa had a very innovative “original art” themed stand, but the really important product news was the reveal of the new NMR 250 now fitted exclusively with an Automated Manual Transmission (AMT). According to Isuzu Truck COO Craig Uren, AMT volumes have gone up by between 10 and 20 percent in the last six months.

The company also announced an increased stake by Isuzu Motors in the local operation. See page 32 for full details.

Iveco

DAF celebrated a 120-truck order from Reinhardt Transport.Iveco made a triumphant return to JIMS, with many important announcements as it moves into the next phase of its “comeback” in the local market – with
big plans and new models to drive growth. You can read about these models on page 34.

Bob Lowden, MD of Iveco South Africa, was pleased to announce that the company has doubled its performance over the past two years and broken into the top ten manufacturers in the country. “We hope to sell 2 000 vehicles in 2014,” he said smiling.

Luca Sra, head of Iveco Middle East and Africa, detailed that a new parent company, CNH Industrial, was formed in September following a merger between Fiat Industrial and CNH Global. Commercial vehicles account for 33 percent of the company’s turnover.

JMC

JMC did not hold a press briefing, but presented its full model range of Boarding light pick-ups and Carrying light and medium trucks. It also presented show goers with the Changan Star light truck, which now falls into the company’s local portfolio.

MAN

A player in the local market for the last half-century, MAN Truck & Bus approached JIMS 2013 as a “show of solutions”. That is to say, the company used the show to promote its range of product and service solutions, tailored to local operators.

Referring to South Africa as the “African lion” of the global economy, CEO Bruce Dickson noted that MAN has the right products and footprint to serve operators across Africa.

These products, as noted by executive chairman Geoff du Plessis, are required to be diverse and have the requisite accompanying support services, in order to compete against the myriad competitors in the South African market.

The Scania Streamline series was launched at JIMS.Among the plethora of vehicles at the MAN pavilion were the company’s PBS “smart truck” that is proving ideal for the mining and timber industries, as well as the new TGS 6×6 and 8×4 models for the forestry and mining industries.

MBSA

Mercedes-Benz’s stand also included the Freightliner, Fuso and Western Star brands, with something special representing each. The big reveal for Mercedes-Benz itself was the all-new Euro-5 Sprinter, which can be ordered in BlueEfficiency spec. It features the company’s 7G-tronic gearbox and no less than eight innovative safety features. Undoubtedly the show-stopper of Hall 5, the company also exhibited its Green Unimog concept of 2011.

The eighth-generation Fuso Canter was also displayed. It will be launched locally in 2014. Designed for the 3,5- to 8,5-tonne short distribution market, it boasts enhanced driver comfort and the Duonic direct-shift double clutch transmission.

From Freightliner was the fully functional concept Revolution Innovation Truck, and Western Star showed off a unique leather-clad vehicle.

Powerstar

Following an extensive restructure over the last couple of years, Powerstar showed a 300 percent increase in sales during 2012 with its second-generation VX range. The company used the show to unveil its market-ready V3 long-haul contender.

The new V3, which is significantly mechanically different to the “prototype” shown at JIMS two years ago, has undergone 18 months of testing including two stints with customers in tri-axle and interlink applications. During this time the company also upgraded its dealer and aftermarket facilities to support the new vehicle.

The V3 runs a 343 kW (460 hp) Euro-3 engine and 16-speed ZF gearbox and intarder, backed by a ZF warranty. Powerstar is backing the V3 with a three-year/400 000 km warranty.

Scania

Powerstar’s V3 is now ready to attack the long-haul market after 18 months of local testing.Top management at Scania was pleased to announce that the company has exceeded its growth in the market with a 29 percent increase in market share and registrations on delivery growing by 40 percent this year so far. The company’s restructuring initiative – in which its operations in the country have been split into five regions – is proving to be a success, with Mark Erasmus joining the company as regional director in place of Alec Mack who has relocated to the Middle East region within the group.

Scania has optimised its range to present a great value offering that provides low cost of ownership and maximum uptime. The company was proud to launch its new Streamline series at the show, as well as its new mining tipper and Touring coach (see FOCUS October).

Scania Truck Rental, a concept from Europe proving very popular locally – with 300 vehicles currently available – was also extensively punted.

Tata

Tata’s stand was built around the theme “Horizonext”, which the company bases on four areas of focus: product, quality, sales and service. “With Horizonext, we have embarked on a journey with a commitment to excite our customers globally,” said Tata Motors’ MD, Karl Slym. On show was the Super Ace, which the company says is proving to be a success; the recently launched Xenon XT; three Prima models, including the new KL3TXF 7548; and the Ultra 812.

Due for launch in mid-2014, the Prima KL3TXF sports a 354 kW (475 hp) Cummins ISX engine and an 18-speed Eaton Ultrashift AMT transmission. These are complemented by a three-stage Jakes Brake. The cab is fully air-suspended.

The little Ultra 812 – also due for launch next year – boasts a versatile, modular chassis and is available in multiple wheelbase options to suit various requirements. It will be aimed at general freight, short-distance delivery applications.

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