The new CV show in town
For the past four years, South African commercial vehicle owners and enthusiasts have lacked any large-scale trade shows that speak to their interests. The Futuroad Expo, co-located with Automechanika Johannesburg, aimed to remedy that. The FOCUS team went along to see what it offered
Following its revel of the Pro 3000 medium-duty range earlier this year, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles South Africa (VECV SA) launched its Pro 6000 Series range of heavy-duty trucks.
Surrender Singh, vice-president and country head VECV SA, explained that the 25 to 40-t range is targeted at construction and haulage applications.
“This series has won awards in many countries, and has been adapted to suit the demands of South African businesses. In adapting the Pro 6000 to local requirements, we have undertaken 24 months of testing,” he said.
The Pro 6025T tipper model runs the VEDX8 engine that’s claimed to offer class-leading performance and economy. This model is designed for high uptime and low maintenance.
The Pro 6016 freight carrier runs the VEDX5 four-cylinder engine with 156 kW (210 hp) and 825 Nm, which is developed for high power density and low maintenance. The chassis is made of Domex.
“Eicher sold 58 604 trucks in the 2016/17 financial year. In the next four years, the aim is to sell 100 000 trucks a year – ten percent of which will be exported. In 2016,
8 000 Pro Series units were sold. The goal for 2017 is 10 000 units,” Singh explained.
According to Singh, the Skyline Pro bus range could follow in the next phase of Eicher model introductions.
Eqstra Flexi Fleet, a division of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics, in partnership with New Way, Ice Cold Bodies and Javgro Transport Refrigeration Solutions, revealed a new, locally designed and engineered cold trailer featuring new refrigeration technology to power the refrigeration units.
Significantly, the trailer was conceptualised by Eqstra Flexi Fleet to support a green initiative. Design elements include a fully curved roof, which increases the strength of the body. It also improves the aerodynamics of the trailer, fuel consumption and air circulation within the trailer. Side skirts help channel airflow away from the wheels to reduce turbulence.
New refrigeration technology eliminates the need for the inefficient diesel engine (which generally powers refrigeration units) by utilising the engine power of the truck. A Hydro-Joule unit is mounted to the side of the truck and is powered via a hydraulic pump, driven by a clutch-independent engine power take-off.
Additional add-ons include vehicle tracking and driver management systems designed by GPS Tracking Solutions, a division of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics.
“Greener technology, increased efficiencies and cost savings are what most fleet operators are looking for,” said Jacqui Carr, CEO of Eqstra Fleet Management and Logistics.
Chinese truck manufacturer, FAW, which has been present in South Africa since 1994, has been on an expansion drive in recent years. This included building an assembly plant at Coega, near Port Elizabeth.
The company says that this strategy has resulted in increased sales of FAW trucks, both locally and into African export markets.
The FAW display included a preview of the 33.420FT truck tractor, which goes into local production early in 2018; as well as an example of the 8.140 freight carrier, which was fitted with an Allison automatic transmission; and a 33-seater bus, built by Busmark, on an 8.140 chassis.
The star of the show on the Hino stand was the new 500 Series Wide Cab (detailed extensively in Issue 9 of FOCUS), which was joined by the 700 Series, 300 Series and Dyna.
“Introduction of the new 500 Series Wide Cab is the second step in our future product strategy. We want to achieve increased market share within the heavy (HCV) and extra-heavy commercial vehicle (EHCV) segments. We currently have four percent of the EHCV segment and are looking at six percent, while we would like to grow our HCV share from 18 to 23 percent,” said Ernie Trautmann, vice-president of Hino South Africa.
Trautmann explained that the new Hino 700 will be the final pillar to reach Hino’s Vision 2020 of being the number one truck brand in the country – although he was mum on exactly when the new model might arrive on local shores.
Masahiro Kumasaka, senior GM product planning division, Hino Motors Limited (HML), explained that the new 500 Series is the driving force behind Hino’s global strategy.
“This is because it achieves three targets of the design concept: first, radical, ground-breaking evolution; second, ensuring high-quality, even after customisation; and third, to expand model variation to meet wider needs of the customers,” he said.
Shuichi Kaneko, senior general manager sales and marketing, HML, explained that global Hino sales in 2016 reached a record high of 174 000 units. He added that JD Power has rated Hino number one in customer satisfaction for eight years in the heavy-duty segment and for three years in the light-duty segment.
“The importance of the African market is increasing rapidly. We are currently celebrating our 45th anniversary in South Africa. Hino is committed to continued investment in this market. Together, HML and Toyota South Africa Motors are endeavouring to provide total support for our customers and to be true business partners with them,” he concluded.
South Africans were formally introduced to Oily SA for the first time at Futuroad. The company, which is based in Cape Town, was formed six months ago. It is distributing Rospolychem (lubricants for aviation and military applications) and oils and lubricants produced by Gazpromneft-Lubricants, the third-largest oil producer in Russia. One such range is G-Energy (a premium brand of engine oil).
Gazpromneft-Lubricants produces 500 000 t of oil per year. It is delivering products to 70 countries worldwide, and its product range includes more than 500 lubricants, greases and technical fluids.
It produces oils for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial applications. The company’s oils are approved by many of the leading vehicle manufacturers, including Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, MAN, Scania, Cummins, Renault (both trucks and cars), Mack, Ford, Voith, General Motors, Volkswagen, BMW, Kamaz and GAZ.
There was much to celebrate at the Powerstar stand, with the brand revealing its V3ET long-distance hauler as well as a new range of three-, five- and eight-tonne medium commercial vehicles.
Bob Wang, CEO of Ever Star Industries, commented that the brand has spent four years honing the V3 to create the V3ET.
“The V3ET has covered 100 000 km in testing. It features new drivetrains and is vastly improved. The Powerstar dealer network has also been rebuilt – and we think we’re now ready for the long-distance business,” he exclaimed.
In developing the V3ET, Powerstar has teamed up with Cummins to provide its 320 kW (430 hp) engine, which will be coupled to a 12-speed AMT gearbox. Weichai 344 and 358 kW (460 and 480 hp) engines will also be available with AMT. The chassis has been lightened for optimised payload and driver comfort has been improved.
The new models will be assembled locally at the Powerstar plant in Pietermaritzburg and will hit the market at just over R1 million.
Rodney Selesnick, senior head: sales and marketing, Ever Star Industries, hinted that the brand also plans bring to market a lightweight 6×4 freight carrier, fitted with a 201 kW (270 hp) engine with an eight-speed manual and AMT transmissions.
The brand’s new babies, however, attracted much interest. Developed in partnership with Foton, the new FT range has been spec’d to Powerstar’s requirements and feature a 115 kW (153 hp) Cummins engine and six-speed ZF gearbox.
“Selected bodybuilders will supply clients with body solutions that meet high standards and offer maximum quality and payload,” Selesnick said.
The FT range is currently entering homologation and will be available in the first quarter of 2018. Pricing is expected to be in the mid-R200 000 range.
A full report on these new models will be published in the next issue of FOCUS.
Originally established in 1983, Blue Chip Lubricants secured an agreement to blend and distribute lubricants from Q8Oils in 2015. The company has now completed construction of its new blending facility in Kya Sands, Johannesburg, to embark on large scale blending of lubricants from Q8Oils.
Q8Oils is part of the Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC), one of the world’s largest oil companies. With all the infrastructure of Q8Oils concentrated in Europe, having a blending facility located strategically in South Africa effectively gives Q8Oils a gateway into the larger sub-Saharan African market, which represents an untapped region for the oil giant’s future expansion plans.
Blue Chip Lubricants also aims to investigate the local manufacture of more specialised products presently imported at premium prices. It plans to engage with major original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) represented in South Africa in order to secure the necessary approvals to become a preferred supplier to these international companies.
“Our extensive product range includes specialised and general-purpose greases, automotive and industrial oils, cleaning and cutting fluids, as well as various complementary products such as grease pumps, rags, hand cleaners and degreasers,” said Blue Chip Lubricants director Kathleen Marais.
“We offer products to increase operational efficiency by optimising production processes and reducing lubricant consumption. These products have all the mandatory OEM approvals and consistently meet, or exceed, the highest technical requirements and specifications of the industry,” she added.
It was impossible to miss the star of the Scania stand! It was an enormous 8×4 mining tipper, the G460 CB8X4 EHZ CP14 to be precise. This monster tipper offers a 40-t payload, which equates to an average productivity increase of 25 percent.
The Scania experts on the stand were very excited about the display. They pointed out that, in addition to the superb equipment-to-payload ratio, this 8×4 boasts an extremely robust design, high uptime, long vehicle life, high residual values and a low total cost of ownership.
The tipper has heavy-duty rear axles with cast-iron housings. The oil filter, drain plugs and brake chambers have been placed in well-protected positions.
This monster tipper is also not lacking in creature comforts; both rear axles are equipped with shock absorbers, improving traction as well as comfort. This tipper also has reinforced front axles with very good ground clearance.
Serco launched the FrostLiner at Futuroad. This Protec steel-reinforced reefer attracted a huge amount of attention, because of its many innovative features. Panels on the new trailer, for instance, are manufactured using steel facings.
The trailer manufacturer invested in special equipment in order to produce these panels. For example, it acquired a de-coiler for the steel sheets and a clinching machine to join the coated steel facings into a single, full length sheet. These sheets, which are up to 15,5 m in length, are then lifted, using a spreader crane with suction cups, and transferred into the 900-t panel press.
A state-of-the-art system then mixes the Polycol and Isocyanate with an environmentally friendly blowing agent to create high-density polyurethane foam, which is injected into the panel. The outer skin has a durable smooth finish and UV protection for the weather elements, while the interior skin incorporates a food-safe PVC coating.
Serco also promoted its “smart trailer” concept, which includes park-distance control, electronic braking and temperature-monitoring systems.
Tata Truck and Bus is celebrating 20 years in South Africa, and one thing that was made clear at Futuroad 2017 is that the company is investing in its local operations.
Len Brand, executive director at Tata International, said: “Our main priority is to make sure that our customers’ vehicles stay on the road. We’ve made changes to our parts operation, and are focusing on developing our footprint to be where our customers operate. We are also investing in training centres.”
The company also launched the new Tata Ultra range of 4,5; 5,5 and seven-tonne trucks. Since initially previewing the Ultra in 2013, Tata has completed 60 000 km of testing at the Gerotek facility outside Pretoria, and 100 000 km on road and with customers.
“Tata trucks are known to get the job done and the Ultra platform takes the game further. The Ultra platform allows for the creation of 605 unique products,” said Rudarup Maitra, head of commercial vehicles. For example, as a bread van it’s claimed to offer 21-percent more volume over its competitors.
The walk-through cab is claimed to be the widest in its class and features air-conditioning and hydraulic tilt. The Ultra is powered by a Euro-3, 104 kW (140 hp) engine, which can be coupled to a manual or AMT transmission. It is the only vehicle in its class with a full air-braking system.
The Ultra is backed up by a two-year, unlimited-mileage warranty. Tata is aiming to commence assembly at its Rosslyn plant in the next four months.
Total South Africa revealed it new Total Rubia Optima 1100, 15W-40 heavy-duty engine oil.
“We are delighted to launch the new Rubia Optima 1100, 15W-40, which meets and exceeds the latest API CK-4 specification. In doing so, Total South Africa becomes one of the first lubricant companies to introduce this new specification for the South African market,” said Kamil de Villiers, Total South Africa Lubricants manager.
Total Rubia Optima is claimed to provide better engine protection, while limiting carbon dioxide emissions and keeping the engine clean. Its oxidation resistance allows longer oil-drain intervals in line with manufacturer’s recommendations.
“Total’s Rubia Optima range is the direct result of the Total Group’s continued investment in research and development. The launch of this product also reconfirms Total’s commitment to introducing the latest high-performance products for the South African market,” De Villiers concluded.