UD’s new diesel sip­per

ALWYN VILJOEN takes to the track in a truck

The Witness - Wheels - - TRANSPORT - ALWYN VILJOEN • alwyn.viljoen@wit­ness.co.za

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.

PHOTO: ALWYN VILJOEN

Toshi Odawara, vice pres­i­dent UD trucks de­vel­op­ment, with one of over two dozen con­fig­u­ra­tions of the new UD Croner truck.

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