Daimler Trucks & Buses Southern Africa (DTBSA) CEO Jasper Hafkamp is confident that the momentum seen in the second half of 2018 in terms of new-truck sales in the local market will continue into 2019.
The first half of 2018 was “very bad”, but the outlook improved significantly as the year progressed, especially in the fourth quarter, he notes.
Hafkamp believes the growth of the heavy-duty long-haul market segment will continue to drive the new-truck market into 2019.
The construction market remains in trouble. However, growth in the long-haul market “is normally” followed by growth in the construction sector six to nine months later.
According to DTBSA statistics, the local truck market grew by 4%, from 22 268 units in 2017, to 23 162 units in 2018.
DTBSA’s numbers exclude, for example, bus sales.
DTBSA’s total market share for 2018, including Fuso and Mercedes-Benz trucks, was 19%.
Total sales in the heavy-duty truck market grew by 8.5% in 2018, to 12 603 units. The new Mercedes-Benz Actros, launched in 2018, increased its market share from 16.1% in August 2018, to 26.9% in January this year.
Hafkamp says customers appear to be responding well to the promise of a 5% to 10% reduction in fuel costs with the new Actros, especially as 62% of all vehicle-related costs in the long-haul trucking industry relate to fuel.
A number of operators are also drawn to the added safety features on the new product.
“We have had more than 2 000 orders for the new Actros since May 2018, of which 23% are conquest sales [from other truck brands],” says Hafkamp.
He adds that the Actros is available with Euro III or Euro V engine technology.
To date, DTBSA has sold 100 Euro V trucks.
DTBSA is setting its sights firmly back on the local construction and distribution markets with the launch of the new Arocs range, while the new Actros will continue to focus on the long-haul sector.
The Arocs features the same engine as the new Actros, namely the OM460 Euro III 12.8-litre inline six-cylinder engine.
There is no Euro V engine available yet.
For distribution there are two engine outputs available, namely 265 kW (360 hp) and 330 kW (450 hp).
Engine power is transmitted by the Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission, fitted as a standard.
Mercedes-Benz Trucks Southern Africa head Maretha Gerber says the Arocs range includes a 6 x 2 and 6 x 4 freight carrier for the distribution market, with a 6 x 4 tipper and 8 x 4 concrete mixer aimed at the construction market.
The Arocs 2636L/57 is a city and regional distribution vehicle. It has side-cab air deflectors that ensure aerodynamic efficiency by reducing wind turbulence between cab and body.
The Arocs 3345/48 is a distribution vehicle with increased ground clearance, steel bumpers and swivel steps for on and off-highway distribution applications.
The Arocs 3236B/51 is an 8 x 4 concrete mixer with 35 t gross vehicle weight. It features a weight optimised hypoid rear axle, light-weight aluminium fuel tank, disc brakes and aluminium rims to reduce kerb weight and increase payload.
This enables the 8 x 4 mixer chassis to supply 8 m3 of ready-mixed concrete on every trip.
The Arocs 3336K/36 is a tipper chassis with a short rear overhang, and features planetary axles, a double disc clutch, drum brakes, optimised for off-road use, and an off-road drive programme as standard.
The Arocs for distribution range is equipped with a driver airbag, Lane Assist and Attention Assist as standard equipment.
Attention Assist ensures the driver pays attention to the road, while Lane Assist ensures the driver stays in his or her lane.
For all freight-carriers the platform mounting brackets are standard, while all mixer chassis are sold standard with mixer mounting brackets and all tipper chassis with the tipper mounting brackets.
These, together with the modular bolted frame, the 50 mm chassis hole pattern and the new generation parameterisable special module, means that the turnaround time at a bodybuilder can be reduced significantly.
Arocs construction models are sold standard with a one-year/unlimited kilometre complete vehicle warranty and a three-year/250 000 km/5 000 hours standard warranty on the powertrain.
The distribution models are sold with a standard one-year/unlimited kilometre complete vehicle warranty and a five-year/650 000 km warranty on the powertrain.
Gerber says although tests are still underway, she believes that the Arocs distribution models could deliver a 3% to 5% saving on fuel costs to operators.
She adds that the four new Arocs models are only the beginning of a number of new models to be made available over the next 12 months.