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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.

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