Marc Legeay, gm, Mercedes-benz trucks MENA, takes CB­NME on a tour of the new Ac­tros and Arocs

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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.”

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