‘Beat us if you can’

New Eicher trucks is­sue open chal­lenge on fuel con­sump­tion

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

EICHER is a new truck brand in South Africa that was launched at TruckX Expo at Kyalami last week by VE Com­mer­cial Ve­hi­cles (VECV), a 2008 joint ven­ture by Volvo Group and Eicher Mo­tors.

Vice pres­i­dent and head of VECV in South Africa, Suren­der Singh Ra­jpuro­hit, said Eicher trucks al­ready op­er­ated in 30 coun­tries, and they are known ev­ery­where as “the king of mileage”.

“Our cam­paign is based on the chal­lenge, ‘beat me if you can’ — this is an open chal­lenge — that is how con­fi­dent we are,” said Ra­jpuro­hit. He said South Africa is the 31st coun­try in which Eicher will sell, ad­ding that it is a strate­gic mar­ket for VECV.

“The com­pany plans to con­tin­u­ously in­vest in the in­tro­duc­tion of coun­try spe­cific prod­ucts and af­ter­mar­ket in­fra­struc­ture,” Ra­jpuro­hit said.

Com­ment­ing on af­ter­sales sup­port, he said Eicher trucks have joined hands with Bid­vest Panalpina Lo­gis­tics (BPL) as their 3PL part­ner.

“A huge in­vest­ment has al­ready been made to en­sure parts avail­abil­ity. Cur­rently the ware­house has a parts avail­abil­ity of over 2 600 line items.”

Ra­jpuro­hit said Eicher trucks will ini­tially be sold and ser­viced at 14 deal­ers of well-es­tab­lished deal­er­ship groups such as AAD Group, BB Mo­tor group, Bill­son Trucks, CMH Group, Fleet Dy­nam­ics, Im­pe­rial Group & Premier Truck and Bus.

He said VECV brings to­gether, the Volvo Group’s global ex­per­tise and world-class tech­nol­ogy along with the in­no­va­tive en­gi­neer­ing and proven DNA of fuel ef­fi­ciency from Eicher.

In the first phase of its in­tro­duc­tion, Eicher is in­tro­duc­ing the Pro Se­ries of haulage trucks, which will be fol­lowed by con­struc­tion tip­pers. The haulage trucks have been tested for more than 500 000 kilo­me­tres across Africa and Asia, and sub­jected to rig­or­ous en­durance and per­for­mance test­ing for over 200 000 km in South Africa.

“This truck has been put into ac­tual us­age across var­i­ous ap­pli­ca­tions of a few well renowned fleet op­er­a­tors.

“Test­ing re­sults have turned out ex­tremely pos­i­tive es­pe­cially in terms of fuel ef­fi­ciency and up­time of the trucks,” he said.

The Eicher Pro is pow­ered with a next-gen­er­a­tion en­gine with com­mon rail tech­nol­ogy and Volvo Group En­gine Man­age­ment Sys­tem (EMS 3.0).

Speak­ing to a few of the diesel me­chan­ics who have been test­ing the trucks, Wheels learned Eicher’s boasts of world-class tech­nol­ogy that de­liv­ers the best bal­ance be­tween load and fuel ef­fi­cien­cies are well founded.

And hav­ing poked and prod­ded the cab­ins of the Eicher Pro se­ries trucks as well as the tip­per, I can vouch for their com­fort­able de­sign.

All have air con­di­tion­ing and heaters and re­port­edly meet AIS 029 safety stan­dards, thanks to air­brakes, ABS and ex­haust brakes.

The Eicher trucks will be as­sem­bled at the Nis­san UD plant in Ross­lyn, north of Pre­to­ria.

MD of UD Trucks Gert Swanepoel told Wheels the Eicher trucks from In­dia will not be com­pet­ing in the same niche as the new Croner from UD in Ja­pan.

The Croner re­places the ro­bust but diesel-heavy UD 60 to UD 100 mod­els that have been in ser­vice for over two decades in south­ern Africa.

PHOTO: SUP­PLIED

The writer in the new Eicher Pro Se­ries medium-duty truck that sources say gives over 7 km/l while de­liv­er­ing sand in Gaut­eng.

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