Following its stellar performance in Truck Test 2015, DAF was back in 2017 with all the enthusiasm that comes with the anticipation of a repeat performance
DAF is a brand currently on the up – its presence in the market and reputation among operators is increasing thanks to great aftersales support, provided by Babcock, and the performance of its trucks on the road. The brand’s entry – and performance – with the XF 105.460 in Truck Test 2015 helped a lot, too.
“In 2015, DAF outperformed other brands in the interlink category, proving to the industry that DAF trucks offer superior performance and improve operator profitability. We were delighted to be able to demonstrate the performance capability of DAF’s trucks at Truck Test 2015,” recounts Wilna Steyn, group chief finance officer – Africa, Babcock.
When Truck Test 2017 rolled around, the DAF team was excited to once again show what its vehicles have to offer – but this time the aim was slightly different.
“Our aim was to show that DAF has the right solution for any long-haul operation in the South African market. Having already proved the truck’s outstanding performance in the interlink category during Truck Test 2015, we took the decision to test its performance in the triaxle category this year,” Steyn explains.
Garry Webber, GM technical services, Babcock, agrees: “The vehicle is no different to the one we entered in 2015, so, to give the industry an idea of its overall performance, we decided to show the triaxle market what the vehicle could do within that application.”
“This places us in a good position to show, over two tests, that DAF offers its customers a vehicle that returns top-class performance,” Steyn reiterates.
For the DAF team, the format that Truck Test follows holds great value.
“It’s difficult to determine a vehicle’s ultimate performance in a fleet – there are too many variables; they don’t pull the same weight or drive the same routes, and drivers might be unfamiliar with the trucks. There are many factors that impact the fuel consumption and overall productivity of a truck.
“Truck Test is the only event in the country to put competing truck brands through their paces on an equal footing. It’s a unique, exciting event that returns facts pertaining to the performance of each truck with no variables,” Steyn explains.
“This makes it a must-attend event for DAF. We love the opportunity to prove the performance of our trucks in raw numbers – and not just in words,” she adds.
DAF’s driver on the day was driver trainer Denford Mamvura, while Webber acted as an observer in a competitor vehicle.
“We loved the excitement and atmosphere on the day – with all the sponsors and original equipment manufacturers gathered at the start to see the trucks off. The route offered a good test of ability and was truly representative of what the majority of trucks experience daily. It was well organised,” Webber says. “We were pleased with our time and fuel consumption and had no issues with the vehicle. We were happy with our performance on the day.”
While Steyn and Webber are hoping for good results from the test, the day-to-day performance of the brand’s vehicles in an operating environment is one of the main factors contributing to its upward trajectory.
“We’ve gained momentum with our trucks achieving great acceptance in the market. We’re seeing an increase in enquiry listings and we’ve actually underestimated the advance in customer acceptance,” says Steyn, adding that customers are overcoming hesitance towards DAF thanks to Babcock’s seven-year run as distributor and the aftersales support services it has introduced.
“The industry is starting to see that DAF is here to stay and has the service and support to back up the good performance, productivity and fuel consumption of the vehicles. These include tailor-made after-sales services such as finance, repair and maintenance contracts and Executrax on-board telematics.
“It also extends to our network infrastructure that adapts to meet customers’ requirements as their needs change – ensuring they are catered for wherever they need a service point. Drivers also enjoy driving the vehicles – word is starting to spread that DAF trucks do perform,” Steyn says with a smile.
Up next for the brand are more models and increased capability of the XF and CF to cater for a wider range of vehicle applications and industry sectors.
Unfortunately, you’ll have to wait a few months before these announcements are made, but, for now, if you’re interested in the long haul, DAF has an increasingly popular vehicle for you…