Scania goes big!
I just love starting the year with good news. And there is a truck load of good news emerging from the Scania stable, as I discovered in an exclusive interview with Steve Wager, the company’s managing director.
First things first: Scania is addressing its continued growth. No, not by opening a bottle of bubbly, but by restructuring. Five regions in South Africa will be established this year.
“It’s an evolution for the business,” explains Wager. “We have grown to
1 000 truck sales a year. As such, we have outgrown our existing structure.”
Hence the plan to have these five regions, each headed by regional directors. “It’s important to get closer to our customers,” notes Wager. “We believe that the five regions will achieve precisely that.”
The next piece of big news is the establishment of Scania Truck Rental. A massively successful concept overseas, this is now being implemented here (a pilot study commenced in August last year; the company is now ready to rock and roll).
“This is driverless vehicle hire,” explains Wager, “with the hire period being anything from 24 hours to 12 months.” Driver training is, of course, provided if requested.
Word of the pilot study leaked out and Scania is already receiving a “phenomenal” number of enquiries. “We are getting off to a flying start, with over 100 hire trucks already in the field. We’ve only scratched the surface, because we’re only launching the concept now, but we’re already battling to keep up with demand,” reveals Wager.
Scania Truck Rental is already popular in the United Kingdom, Germany, Denmark, the Benelux countries and Australia. And, judging by initial market reaction, the same will hold true here.
The third titbit of exciting news is the launch of Scania’s so-called “fleet vehicle”. This is what Scania terms “an optimised specification vehicle” for fleet operations.
According to Alexander Taftman, product and marketing director at Scania South Africa, the fleet vehicle has been launched in reaction to customer feedback. “We have chatted to key fleets and asked them exactly what they want – and that’s what we’re delivering.”
The G460 was launched last May and the P410 is being launched as you read this column. And neither the traditional Scania driveline nor safety features will be compromised. The truck has one bunk instead of two, textile seats instead of leather, steel rims instead of aluminium. “This truck is a workhorse but it’s still a thoroughbred Scania,” notes Taftman.
Naturally Scania would like the fleet vehicle to result in more sales – and, interestingly, the company doesn’t see cannibalisation occurring. “This is a completely new segment for us,” explains Wager.
Yet another vehicle that should bolster sales is an updated 8×4 heavy-duty tipper, which competes very favourably with traditional yellow metal in the mining and off-road industry. Scania insists that its tipper is half the cost of other tippers, thanks to the purchase price and its highly favourable fuel consumption. I plan to park my butt in one of these pronto … so watch this space for a more in-depth report of this tipper in a future issue of FOCUS.
Getting back to sales, Wager is adopting an upbeat approach this year, predicting a three to five percent growth in the local extra-heavy commercial vehicle market. “We would like to grow with the market, perhaps a little more,” Wager tells FOCUS.
We will watch … and wait … and see!