Cabstar under spotlight
UD is making a heavyweight bid for a light truck, writes James Stanford
UD IS close to sealing a deal to bring a Nissan light-duty truck to Australia. The company, which now misses out on the huge entry-level truck market, is extremely keen to get its hands on the Nissan Cabstar, which has a GVM range of 2.8 to 4.5 tonnes.
As Transport and Trucking Today has reported, this may happen as soon as next year.
Big Wheels can reveal that while the plan is well advanced it is yet to be given final approval by either UD Japan or Nissan Japan.
Nissan Australia opened the door for UD to bring the Cabstar to Australia because it passed on the opportunity to sell that model in Australia, deciding to instead con- centrate on its car and four-wheel drive line-up while also considering a move into the van market.
Previously, the European Nissan light-truck models were only ever produced in left-hand drive, a factor that immediately knocked over any business case for an Australian UD variant.
The new Cabstar is built at Nissan’s Avila plant in Spain, which can build the Cabstar in right-hand drive.
Interestingly, Nissan used to own UD before it was sold to trucking giant Volvo Trucks in 2007, which is a separate entity to Volvo cars and also owns Mack and Renault trucks.
UD Australia won’t comment publicly on the Cabstar move, but Big Wheels sources suggest it is doing everything it can to secure the new model.
It is privately frustrated that Isuzu and Hino sell such large volumes of light-duty models while it is hamstrung.
UD feels that it is not only missing out on light-duty sales but also has to fight harder to win over medium and heavy-duty buyers.
‘‘A lot of guys buy a small truck when they are starting out and look to upgrade as their business grows,’’ says a source.
‘‘When they go to buy a larger truck they are likely to stick with the same brand, unless they have had a bad experience.’’
The Cabstar is an attractive truck with clean and crisp design. It has a tall square cab with large vertical lights and flared wheel arches.
It has a modern but practical interior with a vast array of storage areas.
Power comes from two fourcylinder common rail turbodiesel engines running exhaust gas recirculation.
The base ZD25 engine is a 2.5-litre unit that produces 81kW at 3600 revs and 250Nm at 1600 revs.
Higher specification trucks are fitted with the ZD30 3.0-litre which generates 110kW at 3400 revs and 350Nm at 1600 revs.
This engine is available with the option of a diesel particulate filter which enables it to meet the Euro 5 emission standard.
Both engines come with both five-speed manual and six-speed manuals, while the 3.0-litre unit can be ordered with a six-speed automated manual.
Nissan says the automated manual can help bring fuel savings of 5 per cent over the traditional manuals while also saving the operator on repair costs associated with clutch wear.
Versatile: a Nissan light truck called the Cabstar may be imported to Australia by another company, UD, to fill a gap in the market.