While many truck manufacturers like to boast milestones of numbers of trucks built, how many can say they’ve clocked up one million?
This was the astounding number achieved by DAF, whose one millionth truck rolled out of its Netherlands facility in Eindhoven in 2015.
DAF, a wholly- owned subsidiary of PACCAR, is number one with prime movers in selected European countries for two good reasons: a fearless and long-standing approach to innovation and efficiency, and keeping an eye to the future.
It pioneered long ago many technological features we still consider modern and forward-thinking. In 1959 it was the first vehicle manufacturing company to make a car with a continuously variable transmission, and in 1974 became the first to combine a turbocharger with a charge cooler to give more power and lower fuel consumption. DAF called this an intercooler.
Today, the numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 DAF increased its European heavy-duty market share to 15.5 per cent and over 10 per cent in the light truck market. The figures were even stronger in the Netherlands and the UK, with market share around 30 per cent.
The DAF story began in 1928 when the fledgling company pioneered a welded chassis for a lightweight trailer. Eight years later it became the world’s first supplier of container trailers.
Its truck building history goes back to 1949. Within six years it had produced 10,000 trucks. A breakthrough in truck design came in 1962 when the 2600 was released with a luxurious sleeper cab, making it an immediate drivers’ favourite. It earned the nickname, ‘ The Mother of International Transport’.
DAF was acquired by PACCAR in 1996 and two years later the 95XF won International Truck of the Year. It was the same year DAF Trucks Australia was born.
“You don’t stay in business for 88 years without doing something right”
The current Australian model range includes the LF, CF and XF series. It currently manufactures trucks ranging from 7.5 to 70 tonnes gross combination weight and above.
European awards have been flowing fast for these models, with the DAF XF awarded Fleet Truck of the Year 2016 at the Motor Transport Awards in London. It was DAF’s sixth win out of the last nine years.
DAF was also awarded Poland’s Master Truck of the Year, while the LF and CF Series took out Best Distribution Truck in the UK.
Most recently, DAF’s new CF and XF models were voted International Truck of the Year 2018 by an independent jury of leading road-transport journalists from 23 European countries.
In this highly competitive era, understanding the need to offer customers a full package for their assets, which includes telematics, is becoming increasingly paramount.
DAF launched in 2016 a fleet-management system called DAF Connect, which allows operators to access real-time information such as fuel consumption and emission, and driver performance.
DAF testing has shown vehicle performance has improved by 15 per cent using DAF Connect.
Engine innovation has continued with the introduction of the 12.9-litre PACCAR MX-13 and the 10.8-litre PACCAR MX-11 engines, which utilise features such as common rail injection, a variable geometry turbo and exhaust gas recirculation to meet the stringent Euro 6 emissions standards.
You don’t stay in business for 88 years without doing something right. Nor do you sit back and rest on your achievements. If their stellar form is anything to go by, DAF will know to keep the innovations rolling out year after year. It’s the only way to stay number one.