Their take on Truck Test
The final countdown has begun: Truck Test 2015 is ready to rumble, come April. This second extra-heavy instalment promises to be the most significant and accurate yet. JACO DE KLERK talks to some of the sponsors, participants and partners to get their take on what Truck Test means to them.
Alexander Taftman, product and marketing director at Scania South Africa, says it best: “The FOCUS Truck Test is somewhat of a benchmark in the industry. It’s a unique opportunity for all the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to get together, test and compare products, as well as share knowledge and build relations. We cannot miss out on this great initiative.”
He isn’t the only one with positive sentiments. “We are very excited to, yet again, be involved as one of the sponsors of Truck Test 2015,” says Tjaart van der Walt, Afrit’s Boksburg branch manager. “We feel that this is a good platform for all the truck manufacturers of South Africa to test their vehicles on a level playing field.”
He continues: “We believe that taking the published results and comparing them side by side might give truck and trailer buyers important information to help make an informed decision on which combination works best for them, and which companies supply these combinations.”
The Truck Tests have many other benefits as well. Enoch Silcock, managing director of Wabco, explains: “First, I think it is a great exposure opportunity for the company. Second, Wabco promotes efficiency of operations through the use of technology. This event is in line with our philosophy and what we try to achieve through our products on commercial vehicles.”
He adds that these tests leave operators better informed about the actual performance of the vehicles available in the South African market. “Although I believe there are many factors affecting the results, such as driver performance and ability, the event still raises hype and allows one to compare the vehicles out there.”
These include two 6×4 tractors from Scania; one with 340 kW (around 460 hp) and the other with 370 kW (more than 500 hp) and a XF105 6×4, 460 hp with a ZF12 speed direct drive As Tronic gearbox from Babcock-DAF. “We are excited to be testing our new configuration,” says Garry Webber, head of the technical services department at DAF.
The Volvo Group will enter units from two of its different stables: a FH 440, 6×4 truck tractor from Volvo Trucks, and a new C Range 440, 6×4 truck from Renault Trucks.
The contestants aren’t only of European descent however … “We believe that the test affords manufacturers the opportunity to compare their respective products under controlled conditions, and obtain objective comparisons,” says Cheng Zhang, marketing manager at FAW Vehicle Manufacturers South Africa. The company is entering its 28.380FT truck tractor.
Afrit will help to ensure controlled conditions at Truck Test 2015. “Afrit will be supplying nine of our standard 6/12 m tandem/tandem-axle interlink combinations with sliding curtains to the respective truck manufacturers,” Van der Walt points out.
“These trailers will all be fitted with BPW air suspensions, Knorr electronic braking system (EBS) brake kits, Alcoa aluminium rims and Load Tech Constant Tyre Inflating Systems (CTIS), making them packed to the brim with the latest technology available to our market. These trailers are also lightweight in design, allowing the test participants the best possible payload.”
He adds that being one of the largest suppliers of trailers to the South African market and, slowly but surely, other parts of the African continent, it is important for Afrit to be involved in Truck Test and see what impact road conditions, safety features and technology on trucks and trailers have when it comes to freight. “We value and cherish our relationships with the truck manufacturers in South Africa and we are committed to finding new and better ways to improve payload.”
The Truck Test events also hold other benefits. “It’s definitely a great opportunity for us to get our brand out there and to show our commitment to the improvement and growth of the transport market,” Van der Walt points out. “And, it must be said, working with the organisers has always been a pleasure. Information is clear and concise, and the communication and results are of a high standard. At Afrit these are qualities we respect and live by.”
This year’s event promises to be even better than before. “We are looking forward to Truck Test 2015 as it differs from the earlier years,” Taftman points out. “The setup is more professional and better coordinated than before. We are also excited about the new route that will be used.”
Van der Walt continues: “As mentioned before, we believe the level playing field, the strict rules and judging criteria allow prospective buyers to get a thorough overview of the truck brands available to the South African market, and what they can deliver. Prospective buyers now have all the main market players being judged and evaluated on exactly the same criteria, thus providing probably the most accurate information available to the market.”
The event isn’t only about testing vehicles, however, as Webber points out, referring to what he is looking forward to the most when it comes to Truck Test 2015 … “The participation, achieving good results, and obviously the social side of the event; getting to meet the participants from the other OEMs and catching up with old friends.”