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Volvo-Eicher JV launches heavy trucks in SA, mulls light-duty truck, bus entries


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Engineering News  /  August 29, 2018

VE Commercial Vehicles (VECV) South Africa, a Volvo Group and Eicher Motors joint venture, has entered the domestic heavy-duty truck market, with the start of sale of its Pro 6000 series trucks.

This will add to the Pro 3008 8.5 t gross vehicle mass (GVM) truck range introduced when the company officially kicked off local sales last year.

“We are launching product step-by-step,” says VECV South Africa VP and country head Surender Singh. “Once we have stabilised one variant, we can come in with the next variant.”

The new range consists of the Pro 6016 (eight-ton payload) 16 t gross vehicle mass (GVM) heavy-duty freight carrier and Pro 6025T (10 m3) 6 x 4 25 t GVM heavy-duty construction tipper.

The trucks are powered by VEDX engines, which have been designed and developed in collaboration with the Volvo Group.

“The Eicher Pro 6000 Series is the range of next-generation heavy-duty trucks that offer class-leading fuel efficiency, superior uptime, and enhanced driver comfort, safety and efficiency through various cabin features and intelligent systems,” promises Singh.

“The trucks have undergone rigorous endurance and performance testing for over 100 000 km in South Africa.”

The Pro 6000 Series are aimed at the haulage, distribution, construction, industrial loads, courier and perishables markets.

While Singh acknowledges that the local truck market is highly competitive at the moment, especially in the Pro 3000 segment, he believes that the eight-ton manual transmission market has room for growth.

“We do not compete on sticker price,” he adds.

An Eicher Pro 3000 truck is the one to buy when “people want a truck with not so many frills”, or they want “to upgrade from a small Fuso or FAW”.

Pro 6000 trucks will be available at 15 dealer locations in South Africa.

VECV has joined hands with a number of well-established dealership groups such as the AAD Group, BB Motor Group, Billson Trucks, CMH Group, Ermelo TTC Group, Imperial, Morgan Group, Shorts Commercial Vehicles and Premier Truck and Bus.

VECV SA has sold 103 Pro 3008 trucks from July 2017 to July 2018. The aim is to sell 300 trucks this financial year, which ends on March 31, 2019.

Singh notes that VECV SA is still studying assembly in South Africa, “which is a critical market for us. Once our plans are finalised we’ll communicate it to the market. We should know by around December.”

However, he notes that local assembly is not a question of if, but rather how and when.

VECV SA is also investigating the launch of a commuter bus, assembled on the Pro 6000 series chassis, with the bus bodies then built in South Africa.

The company aims to bring some bus prototypes to South Africa by the end of October.

VECV SA also expects to make an announcement on the introduction of a light-duty truck by the end of March next year.

In terms of regional markets, VECV SA has received an order of 57 trucks from Zimbabwe, with 22 already delivered.

The India-based VECV sold 65 932 trucks on the global market in the 2017/18 financial year.

“By 2020 we want to reach 100 000 units, so exports are important,” says Singh.

VECV has set its initial sights on three export clusters, namely the Middle East, Africa and South East Asia.

“We have 26 distributors in Africa,” notes Singh.

The next phase of expansion should see the group enter South America.

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