We’ve all heard the expression, “everything he touches turns to gold,” but in the case of Scania, the idiom is actually true. From the birth of its legendary V8 engine in 1969 to the unparalleled success of the new R-Series in 2009, Scania is setting the pace for the heavy transport industry.
It’s been an exciting year for Scania. Starting with the 40th birthday celebrations of the manufacturer’s “rumbling legend”, or V8 engine, 2009 ended on an even higher note when Scania won the 2010 International Truck of the Year (ITOY) award by an unprecedented margin for its new R-Series truck. The big news for South Africa, of course, is that this state-of-the-art truck is now here, ready to take our own commercial transport industry to the next level.
Speaking on behalf of the 2010 ITOY winner, jury chairman Gianenrico Griffini said: “This truck sets new standards in terms of fuel efficiency, driveability, and overall efficiency. What really impressed the jury was the Driver Support System. It’s a very effective learning tool, with a built-in star rating system. The driver can compete with himself/herself to get better results. That’s fantastic in my opinion.”
And it appears this praise is well-founded. The ITOY award is presented each year to a truck launched during the previous 12 months deemed to have made the greatest contribution to road transport efficiency. Considering the commercial transport industry’s impressive record of ongoing technological development, manufacturer competition for top honours each year is strong – but not strong enough to beat the new R-Series.
“We secured 114 votes from the jury, and our closest competitor secured just 60,” says Alec Mack, Scania Southern Africa sales director. “Our precision is the best in the world. We’ve even outdone ourselves,” he quips proudly.
Bringing the big guns
The history of the International Truck of the Year award dates back to 1976, when the editor of British journal, Truck Magazine, had the idea of promoting truck development in the interest of users and drivers. He was testing the new Seddon Atkinson SA200 truck in northern Britain at the time, and the innovation displayed by the manufacturer in terms of comfort and safety prompted him to want to distinguish the truck from its competitors. His publisher agreed and the “Truck of the Year” award was born.
Today, the International Truck of the Year jury represents 21 countries in Europe. Each truck journalist on the jury comes from a leading trucking magazine in their home country, and according to the competition’s rules, the jury’s main task is the annual selection and awarding of the new truck providing the best contribution to the development of goods transport by road in the participating countries. With this in mind, the jury evaluates the technical, economical and practical qualities of each candidate vehicle. Safety and environmental aspects also play an important role in the selection and award process.
In the case of Scania, the manufacturer’s outgoing R-Series range also won the ITOY award in 2005. Building on this success, the new R-Series impressed the ITOY jury not least because of its continued evolution. In fact, this presented Scania’s designers with their greatest challenge: how to improve upon an already great product!
And yet they achieved just that. Summing up the jury’s vote, chairman Griffini commented: “During this extremely challenging time for the entire automotive industry, and especially for Europe’s commercial vehicle manufacturers, Scania has delivered a state-of-the-art truck that sets new standards in terms of fuel economy, driveability and overall efficiency.”
The new R-Series has excelled well beyond ITOY criteria, however, capturing first place in the recent 1000-point test of
460-480 hp tractor-semi-trailer combinations: one of Europe’s largest comparative truck tests and widely acknowledged as its toughest.
The aim of the 1000-point test is to compare the biggest cabs available on the market in combination with the most popular engines. The test is carried out on a 180-km route in the Hunsrück area of south-west Germany, a hilly part of the scenic Mosel valley.
The overall winner for 2009 was Scania’s new R-Series, which earned a convincing 8.5 point lead over the next closest contender – the largest margin achieved by a winner of the test in some time.
Total scores for the test were determined by how many points each contending vehicle scored in six categories, and the trucks’ trailers were swapped after four runs to even-out differences in rolling resistance.
Scania received especially high marks in the areas of driver appeal and for the new cab, which includes a stylish new dash, smart sliding lower bed and high-quality materials throughout. Already renowned for its “famous” cockpit, the cab now includes generous adjustments for the steering wheel and driver seat.
But the nicest cab environment wouldn’t be worth much if it didn’t offer a comfortable drive, and noise is a particular issue on which the judges concentrate. No problem for Scania. The quietest of the contenders, the fact that almost nothing can be heard of the truck’s engine and tyres is proof of how carefully the manufacturer has insulated the R-Series’ cab.
South African star
Following the international success of the R-Series, Scania Southern Africa has launched the 2010 ITOY winner with a limited edition “Legend” series. At the local launch of the new R-Series, a glittering event held in early April at the Centre for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) convention centre, three loyal Scania customers were presented with their first limited edition Scania R-Series trucks. Each “Legend” truck comes complete with liquid-gold and griffin-emblazoned body work; special edition nudge bar, headlights and badge; and the chrome exhaust which enhances the sound and power of Scania’s V8 engine.
The evening was one of celebration that highlighted Scania’s successes in the past, beginning with its ground-breaking V8 engine – developed at a time when 250 hp was considered adequate power for a truck and topping this at 350 hp – and climaxing with the pinnacle of its product range to date, the new R-Series.
“Tonight is about Scania’s international and local successes,” opened Christoffer Ljungner, managing director of Scania Southern Africa. “We are launching Scania’s most advanced truck to date in South Africa tonight, but we are also emerging from a tough year.”
A tough year in which, according to Ljungner, Scania fared better than its competitors. “In a market that was down by 47%, our decrease in sales was only 31%,” he said. “We attribute this to a superior product, a strong network and good back-up support.”
Long known as “the driver’s truck”, Scania’s new R-Series takes this success to the next level. According to Scania’s design team, each truck should be a personally engaging experience. A driver should want to be in his truck, enjoying the cab which is perfectly designed to suit his every need while driving.
However, while ergonomics is a priority for Scania, road safety and an environmentally friendly truck are equally important; just as they are to the local transport industry and Government. Consequently, it was these themes that dominated the evening.
“I am always impressed with the work Scania is doing in terms of road safety, particularly in South Africa,” said Dikotsie Sekatawi, senior representative of the Department of Transport (DoT), to the evening’s guests. “Road safety is a huge issue in South Africa,” he continued. “Each year we lose in excess of 16 000 lives to road-related fatalities. This has serious economic consequences but, more importantly, as our minister repeatedly says: one death is one too many.
“We have a firm partnership with Scania through which we are working hard to make our roads safer. This encompasses Scania’s involvement in Arrive Alive campaigns against driving under the influence of alcohol and cellphone use while driving, but it also comes down to Scania’s products. These trucks are designed with safety in mind.”
Over and above Scania’s advanced braking systems and other technological innovations – such as all-day lights which make the trucks highly visible on the road – Scania’s secret to safety lies in its cab design. Besides the superb ergonomics of the seating area which alleviates driver fatigue as much as possible, the Driver Support System that comes standard on all new R-Series models is aimed specifically at helping drivers be the best they can. A driver who brakes correctly, knows how to negotiate hills, doesn’t drive too fast and who can anticipate dangers ahead is automatically a good driver and therefore less likely to be involved in an accident.
In addition, the cab’s design ensures that a driver’s attention is always on the road. The steering wheel includes all the buttons and levers a driver needs, while anything else is easily reachable. At no point while driving does a driver have any valid reason for removing both hands from the wheel. The “soft-touch” dash and shape of the windscreen also reduce glare, making it easier for a driver to keep his eyes on the road and concentrate.
However, as deputy head of mission for the Swedish Embassy in Pretoria and an honoured guest of the evening, Kaj Persson, pointed out, for road safety to really take precedence in South Africa local authorities need to get involved in the commercial transport industry through legislation.
“The length of time that drivers can spend on the road; maintaining the speed limit; and keeping lights on at all times to maintain visibility are all things that Government can legislate,” said Persson. “They are also all features available on the new Scania. The R-Series is able to set speed limits, cut the engine out if a driver has been behind the wheel too long, and automatically keep both day and night lights on. This all makes a difference in road safety.”
Scania’s dedication to environmentally-conscientious designs is no less pronounced than its commitment to safety. “Environmental sustainability and road safety are priorities for the Swedish government,” revealed Persson. “They are the cornerstones of both our domestic and foreign policies,” he said. And as such they are priorities for Scania.
Once again, the Driver Support System encourages better driver efficiency, which equates to better engine efficiency and therefore less fuel consumption. However, Scania has other technological advancements that play a role in the environmentally-friendly design of the new R-Series.
For example, the truck’s new grill not only looks imposing, it is bigger than that of its predecessor. This new design allows for 25% more cooling than before, which means a bigger, stronger engine for operators, but a far more efficient engine too – which is good for the environment.
The cab’s exterior design is also far more aerodynamic and therefore much more fuel-efficient. In fact, the entire design of the R-Series is aimed towards a stronger, faster truck that is also much better for the environment.
Introducing the new Scania R-Series
New front – The distinctive styling of the new R-Series allows for improved aerodynamics and cooling performance, and includes a new grille, larger logo and new bumper design.
LED day time running lights – Low-energy, long-life lights offer improved uptime and visibility.
New colours – The cab is now available in two new metallic colours: White Diamond and Blue Carbon. The new grille is also in a lighter grey colour than before.
New Scania Opticruise:
The new generation of Scania Opticruise includes a fully automated version with a new automatic clutch system. With Opticruise available in 8-, 12- and
12+2-speed gearboxes, Scania now offers the broadest range of gear-changing systems on the market.
Unique automatic clutch – The new electrically manoeuvred automatic clutch means faster and smoother gear-changing and superior precision.
New gear-changing strategy – The new software includes a new shift strategy that adapts starting gear and gear-changes to the style of driving, load and the inclination of the road. It also helps drivers maintain their speed all the way to the crest of a hill without a fuel penalty.
Smoother and faster – The electric clutch and new software help to create superb driving comfort.
Precision at work – The new fully-automated Scania Opticruise offers superb manoeuvrability even in standard mode. Switch to m-mode (for manoeuvring) and experience groundbreaking precision, even in difficult shunting situations.
Higher driveability and lower revs – Faster gear-changes means better driveability in the city. On the highway, revs are kept low to improve fuel economy, while effortlessly maintaining the desired cruising speed.
Automatic rocking function – The fully automated Scania Opticruise features an automatic rocking detection, which helps the truck get going again if it is stuck or in slippery conditions.
New, groundbreaking Scania Driver Support – This is a unique and innovative function that helps the driver to maintain effective and fuel-saving driving skills between training sessions. Based on assessments of hill driving, traffic anticipation, brake use and gear selection, Scania Driver Support displays hints and feedback both in real time and after a completed assignment.
Save 10% – and stay there – Experience shows that nearly everyone who attends Scania Driver Training can lower their fuel consumption on average by up to 10%. Scania Driver Support encourages drivers to keep an eye on their driving style and to maintain their results.
Improved aerodynamics – The new front and low-drag side skirts are carefully wind-tunnel tested to reduce air drag. This makes a significant contribution to better overall fuel economy.
Extra-large fuel tanks – The new Scania R-Series can hold as much as 1 500 l of fuel in a 2-axle tractor configuration. For a 3-axle tractor, the fuel capacity has been increased by 50%. This makes it possible to save money on refuelling wherever the price is right on a route.
Faster rear-axle ratio – The new Scania R-Series is available with a 2.59 rear axle gear ratio. This makes it easier to optimise the driveline according to individual demands with lower cruising revs and improved fuel economy as a result.