UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) hopes the new Quon range of trucks will increase the company’s share of the extra-heavy commercial vehicle (EHCV) market to more than 12% in the short term, says corporate planning and marketing GM Rory Schulz.
However, in the long term, this could expand to between 15% and 16%, he adds.
UDTSA’s market share in the EHCV market was 9.4% in 2011, down from 13.1% in 2008.
Schulz says UDTSA has seen its share of the fast-growing EHCV market shrink over the last few years as the previous Quon range proved not “quite right” for the local market.
One of the product weaknesses was that the Japanese brand could not offer the increasingly popular automated manual transmission as an option to customers.
The South African EHCV market has grown from 6 432 units, in 2009, to more than 11 500 units, in 2011.
UDTSA anticipates this section of the truck market to reach 12 932 units in 2012 – a forecasted growth of 10.96%.
“This is a substantial market, and you have to be there if you want to be a substantial player in the local market,” comments Schulz.
The new Quon will be UDTSA’s premium product, and will be available in 14 variants in Southern Africa Customs Union markets, and in 61 variants in other African markets.
The range will also now top out at 490 hp, and no longer 460 hp.
Schulz says there remains a “lot of demand right at the top end, in spite of what people are saying about there being no horse power race on the go. The market is trending to the top end, and we see the volume there”.
From 2009 to 2011, 12 775 trucks were sold in South Africa at 420 hp and upwards.
The Quons sold in the rest of Africa will not have as many horses under the hood as the top model in South Africa, however. The range will be limited to 440 hp, and will feature only manual transmissions.
“It will be a more basic vehicle, with a lot of optional extras available,” says Schulz.
UDTSA is responsible for UD Trucks’ exports into 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, in both right- and left-hand drive variants.
Schulz adds that UDTSA hopes to clinch some added sales in its African export markets through the new Quon.
“We had some problems in that we did not have the correct product out there. This is the first step to get the right vehicle into the export territories.”
The local Quon will see a “slight increase” in price as it is rolled out across the customs union, notes Schulz.
“We used to do 1 200 units a year. We aim to sell 1 500 units this year, through the phased introduction of the Quon. We now have a much more competitive product out there.”
All new Quon trucks sold from March will be accompanied by UD Trucks’ new Managed Maintenance programme.
Through Managed Maintenance, UD Trucks provides complete management and supervision of all repairs and service costs on behalf of its customers.
This is not the same as a maintenance contract, says Schulz. It is more a programme to ensure customers are not overcharged and that no unnecessary work is done on their vehicles.
MORE POWER, LESS COSTS
The new Quon range features the Euro 3, GH13 series engine, which is a 13-litre, in-line 6-cylinder turbo-intercooled engine.
As there is only one engine range in the series, fewer parts are required for stockholding purposes, resulting in more cost savings for customers, says UDTSA CEO Johan Richards.
“The unit also boasts a flat torque curve, which means less engine fatigue, particularly during uphill hauls.”
Within the Quon range, the GH13 engine is offered with three power settings, namely 270 kW at 1 800 rpm and 1 754 Nm at 950 rpm to 1 450 rpm; 300 kW at 1 800 rpm and 2 040 Nm at 1 050 rpm to 1 400 rpm; and 360 kW at 1 800 rpm and 2 448 Nm at 1 050 rpm to 1 400 rpm.
The engine series features a newly developed unit injector which UDTSA promises “increases the maximum fuel injection pressure to improve overall combustion efficiency, and also achieves low emission and weight reduction efficiency that lead to improved fuel economy”.
The Quon range also boasts a new extra engine brake, or EEB, which offers 1 470 Nm of braking torque at 2 300 rpm. The EEB design specifically uses the exhaust and the compression strokes of the engine to slow the vehicle down, and offers safer vehicle control on descents and slippery roads.
Schulz says this means operators will see longer brake life on their vehicles, as well as reduced driver fatigue, specifically on long hauls.
Both the 14-speed manual and ESCOT V transmissions (with the exception of the GK17 410 AS TT) uses a Voith retarder, which has a braking torque of 3 250 Nm.
Engine oil is filtrated by a two-piece, full-flow long filter and a one-piece, bypass long filter, which subsequently extend the service intervals of the vehicles to 30 000 km for long-haul and 20 000 km for medium-haul applications, up from 25 000 km and 15 000 km respectively.
The UD Trucks GH13 engine uses a closed-circuit ventilation system for crankcase ventilation and not an external breather as with the previous generation Quon’s GE13 engine. The heavy duty design turbocharger has specifically been designed and developed to be more durable.
Another feature is the remote-activated draining of the engine’s fuel filter water trap. The driver will be alerted by the multifunction display on the vehicle’s dash that the water trap needs to be emptied, which the driver can subsequently do by pressing a button on the dashboard.
A selection of manual and automatic transmissions has been employed across the range to suit a range of applications.
The automatic gearboxes have specifically been developed to improve safety, overall economy and to offer the operators easy driving, says Schulz.
The automatic vehicle derivatives also have features such as easy-hill-start, sequential shift, air-shift navigation, as well as an energy management feature that improves fuel economy in the top gear. Eco-roll mode, for instance, engages the neutral position in order not to travel against engine compressions.
All these options are shown on a multifunctional display inside the cabin from which the driver can then select the appropriate mode.
The Quon models with automatic transmissions are only scheduled for their first oil change at 390 000 km, with oil change intervals set at every 390 000 km thereafter.
Improvements made on the chassis packaging include a lighter catwalk and, a lower fifth-wheel height on all 6x4 truck-tractors with mechanical suspension.
A special off-road chassis packaging has also been introduced on all models, with the exception of the CW26 490 freight carrier, to suit harsh operating conditions. This includes uprated front-axle ratings, heavy-duty front suspension and stabiliser, radiator protection, as well as a higher repositioned exhaust silencer and fuel tanks.
Fuel tank capacities range from 800 l on the 6x4 truck-tractors, to 300 l on the CW26 370 tipper and freight-carrier models, while all other models feature 400 l fuel tanks.
Numerous enhancements have also been made to the Quon range’s cab, such as cruise control and keyless entry on the flagship GW26 490 TT model.
To enhance the comfort inside the cab, the second bunk area has been improved from the previous generation with increased storage all around the cab.
UDTSA has also improved the mass ratings of its extra heavy vehicles.