UD’s new diesel sipper
ALWYN VILJOEN takes to the track in a truck
UD South Africa on Tuesday took over the Kyalami racetrack in Johannesburg to launch the new range of Croner trucks.
Croner, by the way, derives from Cronos, the god of time and UD said everything around their new lorry aims to save time. Ascending the lorries’ cabins yesterday, it was clear UD trucks have come a long way since the Big Thumb truck when UD trucks founder, Kenzo Adachi, started his vision to “build trucks the world needs today” in 1935.
Toshi Odawara, vice president of UD trucks development yesterday said it was a three-year-long journey to launch this new heavy commercial vehicle (HCV) platform.
Jacques Michel, president of Volvo Group Trucks Asia sales, said the launch at Kyalami formed part of a global launch of the Croner, which he said was an important milestone for UD, as well as Volvo Group, the owning company of UD.
Michel said the Croner had already been extensively tested over months across the world, including South Africa, and drivers use words like flexible, durable, reliable, basic and powerful to describe the Croner from SA to China to Thailand.
It’s all about customers’ success, said Michel.
“If our customers succeed, our dealers succeed, and it all starts with listening to drivers, going the extra mile at the plant and the dealer so that clients can go the extra mile and grow. We call it passion for customer success and we are confident Croner will continue what Quester started,” said Michel.
He said SA is the largest market for UD trucks outside Japan.
Michel said Volvo Group “fully committed to develop and support UD trucks in SA”.
Gert Swanepoel, MD of UD southern Africa, said while truck sales have slumped back to 2012 levels, the heavy commercial vehicle sales still showed a bit of growth and this was where the Croner will slot in to replace the venerable UD 60 and 80 ranges.
Three chassis are available, from 9,5 ton, to 12 to 14 ton, to 15 and 17 ton, powered by a choice of two engines and four gearboxes, either a six- or nine-speed manual by Fast transmissions or an automatic Allison transmissions.
Buyers can choose a day cab or a sleeper cab. In total, the Croner catalogue offers 13 variants and 21 configurations.
Driving the truck chassis with no weight around Kyalami is no real test for power, but all the engines have impressive torque through the powerband, with even the smallest engine offering 180 kW and 750 Nm. The Alison gearbox decelerates automatically to save running costs on brakes to engines.
Swanepoel told Wheels a lot of tests had been done throughout South Africa, especially on fuel consumption using both manual and auto gearboxes, and the consumption was the same in town, but the auto did better than the human drivers on open roads.
“Both transmissions still delivered better fuel consumption than our competitors. Just driving it you feel this thing is going to save you money,” Swanepoel said.
Swanepoel said service intervals are 30 000 km, with an intermediate major check on some low mileage applications during a working year. An extended warranty is also available.
Toshi Odawara, vice president UD trucks development, with one of over two dozen configurations of the new UD Croner truck.