Keep on Truckin

UD Trucks is celebrating 50 years in business this year and, as it launches a new generation of Quon Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicles, TABJ pops the hood to see what’s going on…

UD Trucks celebrated 50 years of operation in South Africa this year with the spring launch of a new generation of its Quon Extra Heavy Commercial Vehicle Range (EHCV). The range, consisting of 14 model variants, has now launched into the South African market and will be rolled out in its entirety by August this year.

The local company is also responsible for UD Trucks’ exports into 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, and both right and left hand drive variants will be introduced into the region according to each territory’s market requirements.

All new Quon trucks sold from March 2012 will also be accompanied by UD Trucks’ new Managed Maintenance initiative – an industry first in South Africa. Through Managed Maintenance, UD Trucks provides the company’s complete management and overseeing of all repairs and service costs on behalf of its customers.

Johan Richards, UD Trucks Southern Africa’s CEO, explained that with the launch of the new range, the company aims to increase its market share in the EHCV segment to 12%.  “In addition, as the country’s top truck exporter, we are targeting an expansion of our current volumes into our export territories,” said Richards.

In 2011, the local EHCV segment grew by 35.41% year-on-year to 11,503 units, with UD Trucks securing a 9.4% market share.  The company anticipates this section of the market to reach a total of 12,932 units in 2012 – a forecasted growth of 10.96%.

Richards said that UD Trucks has increased the number of Quon variants to cover more sub-segments within the EHCV market to meet market and customer demands.

Model Line-Up

The new UD Trucks Quon range of extra heavy vehicles offers a variety of manual and automatic transmission options that will suit UD Trucks’ customers’ unique business requirements.

Testing & Development

The launch of the new generation Quon is the result of years of meticulous research and development. Tailor-made for South African road and operating conditions, the models launched locally are also the culmination of extensive customer feedback and local engineering trials.

Focus areas included driveability, the transmission systems and overall economy, and after thousands of kilometres of testing, UD Trucks believes the new Quon range also adheres to stringent local requirements.

The Quon range has always been designed and developed as a “smart worker” – a truck that works intelligently as part of a profitable transport solution for the owner. The design fuses UD Trucks’ tradition of environmentally friendly technology, with the smartness and stalwart power of a new-generation working truck that is endowed with high levels of intelligence. Ease of maintenance and operation was also key focus areas for the designers of Quon.

Driver comfort and safety

UD Trucks’ Quon range also boasts a new Extra Engine Brake or EEB, which offers 1470Nm of braking torque at 2300rpm (redline is at 2100rpm).  The EEB design specifically utilises both the exhaust and the compression strokes of the engine to slow the vehicle down, and offers safer vehicle control on descents and slippery roads. This means operators will have a longer brake life on their vehicles and reduce driver fatigue specifically on long-hauls.

Both the 14-speed manual and ESCOT V transmissions (with the exception of the GK17 410 AS TT) utilises a Voith retarder which has a braking torque of 3250Nm.

Another innovative feature is the remote activated draining of the engine’s fuel filter water trap.  The driver will be alerted by the multi-function display on the vehicle’s dash that the water trap needs to be emptied, which the driver can subsequently do by simply pressing a button conveniently mounted on the dash.

One of the strength of the new Quon range undoubtedly lies with the transmission.  A selection of manual and automatic transmissions has been employed across the range to suit a host of applications.

There are three manual transmissions; the MTS75D 7-speed, the MPR90A 9-speed and the VTO2514B 14-speed. Only the manual boxes are synchromesh-type and features power shift, whereas the AMTs are non-synchromesh-type with improved PTO capabilities and innovative protection devices.

There is also overrun protection on the 9 and 14-speed gearboxes, as well a planet gear with range lock function on the 14-speed transmission.

The automatic gearboxes were specifically developed to improve safety, overall economy and to offer the operators easy driving capabilities.

The ATO2612 group new automated manual transmission, offers 2-pedal or clutch-less operation through the innovative 12-speed ESCOT V gearshift mechanism.

The ESCOT V transmission technology offers both power and economy in a wide variety of driving scenarios by increasing driving performance at low speeds at time of start and reducing engine speeds in high gear at cruising speeds.

These automatic derivatives have innovative features like 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 conveniently shown on a multi-functional display inside the cabin from which drivers can then select the appropriate mode.

The ESCOT V Automated transmissions also feature pressurised lubrication via the oil pump, ultra smooth clutch and launch control, auto-neutral engagement when the park brake is applied or if a gear is selected while the ignition is turned off.

ESCOT has been specifically designed for enhanced driver comfort and safety, lower maintenance as well as greater fuel efficiency.

Numerous enhancements have also been made to the Quon range’s cab to increase the driver’s safety, comfort and convenience.

This includes the user-friendly and convenient multi-functional display, intermittent wipers, as well 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.

A three-piece steel front bumper incorporating an air-dam is featured on all air-suspension models, to enhance aerodynamics and stability by blocking the flow of turbulent air under the chassis.

All these technical specifications, and more, are the reasons that UD trucks is the choice for the discerning commercial heavy goods vehicle client.