Colin-on-Cars – Smart moves for truckers

The South African truck market ended 2022 on quite a high note despite supply chain constraints, economic instability both locally and internationally and cost pressures from rising fuel prices and interest rates and UD Trucks showed an 11,6% growth for the year.

For them – and for all the other truck companies in the country – the growth was just cause to celebrate and to look ahead into 2023 which, UD Trucks plans to do by investing in smart logistics solutions to help make fleet owners more efficient and productive

As honourable as this might be, it comes at a time when hundreds of trucks are on our roads and there only because the ruling ANC government has completely failed as has the once mighty rail network. Although not counted in the market growth, many of these trucks are operated by get-rich-quick hopefuls using badly maintained second-hand rigs.

The carnage on South African roads continues unabated with little apparent interest from politicians and lawmakers – unless it is a photo opportunity.

On the other side, the truck distributors, their dealers and big business does what it can to foster a new generation of operators, owners and drivers who have safety, efficiency and cost of operation top of mind.

As UD Trucks Southern Africa’s Managing Director, Filip Van den Heede explains: It’s not just about pure growth numbers, but aligning the business growth aspirations with our purpose, a Better Life, and even more important, meeting customer expectations.

The COVID-19 crisis and global supply chain constraints weakened an already fragile economy in the last two years, however, UD Trucks Southern Africa managed to keep the business buoyant while growing significantly in emerging markets.

“Our founder Kenzo Adachi’s vision to ‘make the trucks the world needs today’ was actually a vision for smarter logistics. The world today needs less CO2 harmful emissions released into the environment, which is why we launched the Quester and Croner Euro 5 models in 2022, and the Quon in 2019: ahead of local government regulations and manufactured in South Africa since then.

“Through these vehicles, which are much more fuel efficient, are fitted with SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) technology we have reduced CO2 emissions as well as total cost of ownership. To date, we have produced and sold close to 1 000 Euro 5 units in South Africa, consistently staying one step ahead of local regulations and market demands.

“Later this year the Quon range will receive further upgrades that will improve vehicle safety. With innovation that puts people first, these safety enhancements are set to support a sustainable future. The new Quon safety features, including the traffic eye cruise control helping us achieve Vision Zero – a future with no injuries, deaths or minor injuries from road collisions, and safety for drivers, communities, and other road users.”

“There are many challenges facing both industry and customers and one of the most significant is the rising cost of doing business. Consequently, we focus on providing solutions that will improve efficiency and profitability through our smart logistics approach.

Filip van den Heede

“UD Connected Services helps us achieve this end goal, and our pioneering approach has resulted in enhancements set to limit fuel theft, provide a recovery solution, as well as ensure safety through alcohol detection. In a world of digitalization, the logistics industry will benefit significantly from these additional features.

“A reliable and knowledgeable workforce is key to innovation, and in 2022 we trained more than 2,000 delegates across our dealer network to improve their skills. Through this process, we guarantee our customer’s uptime and ensure they receive reliable trustworthy service. Additionally, we went the extra mile and provided training to Diesel apprentices.”

UD Trucks SA will also open over three new dealerships this year, increasing its dealer footprint to 40 locations across the country.

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