Nice in a niche
The Euro 6 version of Iveco’s medium-duty Eurocargo brings an advanced level of technical renement to local and regional distribution work. But how will it fare against the Japanese juggernaut?
L et’s face it, when it comes to the lighter ends of the truck business, if you’re not Japanese, you’re just fighting for scraps. It’s a plain, incontestable fact. Ever since the Japanese first started asserting their strength in the mid- to late‘70s with trucks that were generally well made, well priced and remarkably reliable, anything from anywhere else has had a horrendously hard time.
Going way back, brands like Bedford, Dodge and Leyland were probably headed for extinction anyway, but there’s no question the Japanese onslaught fast-tracked the trip to oblivion.
The biggest scalp of all, however, was International. Light- and medium-duty Inters were once common as cockies in this country but, under a deluge of dilemmas, the seemingly indomitable International Harvester company went into corporate collapse just as the Japanese were ramping up the competitive crescendo. The double whammy was deadly.
True, International heavy-duty models managed to hang on to some semblance of market strength for a while. Down the scale, though, the light- and medium-duty trucks, which were once a mainstay of metro and country businesses large and small, fell out of favour with spectacular speed as Japan kept pounding away with trucks that simply offered more.
Ironically, it was Iveco that came to save International from complete collapse and, today, with medium-duty specialists like its latest Eurocargo sporting Euro 6 emissions compliance among a number of technological treats, it’s Iveco yearning to fill any niche the Japanese may have missed.
Yet Iveco certainly isn’t alone in its bid to offer the market something outside the Japanese square. Volvo, MAN, DAF and Mercedes-Benz have been toiling in the medium-duty mix for many years but, individually and collectively, the numbers tell a tale of scant success for the European brands. In the first half of this year, for instance, continental contenders accounted for a threadbare 5.6 per cent of the total medium-duty market. In other words, just 188 of the 3322 medium-duty trucks delivered to the Australian market up to the end of June bore a European badge. Worse, those 188 trucks are split between five brands, with Iveco notching just 42 sales.
Even so, you have to admire the determination. Offered alongside its Euro 5 counterpart, the Euro 6 Eurocargo