Marc Legeay, gm, Mercedes-benz trucks MENA, takes CBNME on a tour of the new Actros and Arocs
Mercedes-benz launches the new Actros and Arocs
Mercedes-benz Trucks took to the beaches of Dubai last month for a spectacular launch of its new generation of trucks for the Middle East and North Africa markets – and if first impressions count most then the famous German truck brand’s new Actros and Arocs are off to a great start.
“The feedback we have received on the new products from our customers and business partners is extremely positive,” enthuses Marc Legeay, general manager, Mercedes-benz Trucks MENA, as he looks back on the event.
Following their Dubai debut, attention now turns to introducing the new Actros and Arocs across the region, with the first in a series of national launches by its partner JIPCO in Saudi Arabia taking place shortly before Legeay’s interview with CBNME. Considering Mercedes-benz Trucks’ reach across the vast territory, it is unsurprising to hear him add that the events will need to be held until the end of 2018 to fully roll-out the new vehicles.
While talking, Legeay highlights that Mercedes-benz Trucks are renowned for their dependability and retaining their value in the region. This has been demonstrated in the past year by the company celebrating both the 20th anniversary of the Actros as well as honouring long-term fleet owners through its mileage millionaire campaign. With one Actros racking up 2.3 million km on the clock, CBNME asks Legeay whether it difficult to convince people to buy new trucks considering the reputation its trucks have for lasting a long time?
“That’s a great point. Mercedes-benz Trucks enjoy an excellent reputation here in the region as a hallmark for quality and reliability,” remarks Legeay. “This is attested by the high resale values and the many Mercedes-benz trucks from older generations you encounter, which are still doing their job, day in day out. Now, with the new Actros and Arocs, we are taking the legacy of Mercedes-benz into the future. We are sure that many of our customers will ultimately be convinced by the latest benchmarks set by the new Actros and Arocs in terms of reliability, efficiency, comfort, and safety – and of course in terms of total cost of ownership (TCO), where the new Actros and Arocs excel. We also assume some will just not be able to refrain from the fantastic new design.”
Legeay explains that with the new launches, Mercedes-benz Trucks is offering fleets in the region a clear choice of state-of-the-art truck. What they opt for will ultimately depend on the type of operation they own.
“The new Actros is made for long-haulage transportation and distribution tasks, providing highest reliability and efficiency for our customers,” he explains. “When operations get tougher, we have now with the new Arocs a dedicated and supremely robust product offer for construction and off-road applications, which includes the all-wheel-drive models.”
The engineers at Mercedes-benz Trucks not only designed and manufactured the vehicles to meet the demanding conditions of the Middle East but also brought them into the region to endure months of testing prior to launch. The rigorous process has ultimately created two heavy duty trucks that should be able to pound the sun-baked roads and sites of the regions for many years ahead.
“We tested extensively over the last couple of years at our test center in Abu Dhabi,” says Legeay. “More than six million test kilometres for the new Actros and Arocs in the UAE prove the highest standards of quality and reliability.”
The older Mercedes-benz trucks serving in
the region’s fleets may demonstrate the German truck-maker’s ability to make vehicles that will run and run, but the new generation of trucks have been developed with the changing demands of haulers and operators in mind. Fuel and operational costs are rising and Legeay says this is having a profound effect on the buying habits of fleets in the region.
“Fleet owners here are focusing more and more on the TCO, seeking for the highest profitability of the overall vehicle lifecycle. Over the last years, we have witnessed an increase of diesel prices in many Middle East markets, which means fuel efficiency becomes increasingly important,” he says. “With the new Actros and Arocs, we are providing a highly attractive product and service offer for Tco-oriented fleet customers. Further, significantly reduced fuel consumption, tailormade service, and extended warranty packages are just a few aspects paying into the overall attractive TCO for the new Actros and Arocs.”
As Legeay suggests, the two new trucks are packed with the very latest technology; boasting the best in the company’s engineering expertise to specifically keep the TCO as low as possible. Both come equipped with the latest fully automated Mercedes Powershift 3 transmission as standard which is – exclusively to the market – also available in a 16-speed variant for demanding operations.
“With its intelligent shifting strategy, Mercedes Powershift 3 ensures fast and precise gear changes, increasing the safety and comfort level. Another highlight is the wide range of safety features available with the new truck
“We tested extensively over the last couple of years at our test center in Abu Dhabi. More than six million test kilometres in the UAE prove the highest standards of quality and reliability.”
generation, and of course the Active Brake Assist 4, a radar-based emergency braking system,” he explains. “It’s the first and only system available for trucks which detects not only static and moving obstacles in front of the vehicle and initiating an emergency braking down to standstill; it also detects obstacles crossing the truck’s path such as pedestrians.”
Demonstrating an increase in the interest in the region’s fleets to use technology to gain greater control over their costs, Legeay says that Mercedes-benz Trucks is seeing more fleets request access to its Fleetboard telematics system – which is again available for those wanting to make the most of their new trucks.
“Telematics systems are key when it comes to monitoring and managing your fleet. With the cost pressure on one hand and the ambition to increase profitability, safety, and efficiency, our Fleetboard offer is proving that telematics systems are becoming more and more important, especially for fleet customers here in the region,” he comments. “The key here is that Fleetboard does not only cover tracking and tracing – driver performance monitoring for safe and efficient driving, as
well as service uptime are paramount features, maximising the profitability. Major fleets in the region are using Fleetboard already for years and they acknowledge the benefits of the system for their operations.”
According to Legeay, Mercedes-benz Trucks continued to strengthen its leadership position in the premium heavy-duty truck segment in the MENA region in 2017 despite macro-economic challenges in some of the key markets. He cites the closing of a major deal with Saudi customer Al Khaldi for more than 500 trucks including an after-sales package as one of the highlights of the year, “underlining the trust our customers have towards our brand and products,” he adds.
He expects this momentum to be maintained in 2018 following the introduction of the new Actros and Arocs trucks across the MENA region, particularly in the UAE, as contract awards are announced in the lead up to Expo 2020 Dubai. Focusing on the UAE, he turns his attention to the options that Mercedes-benz Trucks can offer with changes in emissions standards expected to be introduced later this year.
“We are offering the new Actros and Arocs with engines complying with Euro III, IV, and V standards. All engines come as in-line 6 cylinder, providing excellent reliability, efficiency, and performance. The OM460 engine (Euro III) with its proven pump-line-nozzle injection system is characterised by its exceptional robustness. When it comes to Euro IV/V engines, customers can choose from three different variants with outputs of up to 625hp. All Euro IV/V engines are equipped with the unique common-rail X-pulse injection system, providing outstanding fuel efficiency. The Euro IV/V engines also feature Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) and Scr-technology (Adblue) for lowest emission levels.”
He adds that a raft of new services are being launched around the new trucks that are complemented by the change of emissions in the UAE.
“Customers choosing the new Actros and Arocs with a service contract offer can now enjoy extended flexible maximum service intervals, further reducing the service cost of the fleet over the lifecycle and providing ‘peaceof-mind’ to the fleet operator. Besides this, tailor-made extended warranty packages are available as well as driver training focusing on efficient and safe driving.”
He continues “As a manufacturer of premium trucks, Mercedes-benz will take a leading role in supplying state-of-the-art technology to customers in the UAE. This does not only apply to emission standards, but also to safety features, where the new Actros is setting a new benchmark for trucks, making roads safer and helping saving lives.”
With a new generation of trucks coming into fleet operations, Mercedes-benz Trucks can now afford to focus on serving its customers in the region. Legeay says it is continuing to strive for the best product and service offer in the premium truck segment and exceeding its customers’ expectations in the region. He adds that Mercedes-benz Trucks is also “planning a further expansion of our already wide network of 59 sales and service partners across the region, as well as the extension of our tailor-made customer services offer will facilitate our ambitions.”