Cab­star un­der spot­light

UD is mak­ing a heavy­weight bid for a light truck, writes James Stan­ford

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Big Wheels -

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.

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