Having entered the South African market during 2016 and launched its first vehicle 14 months ago, Volvo Eicher Commercial Vehicles (VECV) has seen higher levels of acceptance than expected – and entered a new market segment.
According to Mark Diab, director: sales and marketing, VECV South Africa, the brand has seen good acceptance of its Pro 3000 Series, launched in August 2017. “Our stock allocation moved quite fast – we were all sold out by January. Our four-tonner has been a good success story,” he notes.
The company hopes to replicate this success as it moves into the heavy commercial vehicle segment with the launch of the Pro 6000 Series. The range will be made up of the 6016 freight carrier with a 16-t gross vehicle mass (GVM) and eight-tonne payload, as well as the 6025 25-t construction models, which include a
10 m3 tipper.
Surender Singh, vice president and country head, VECV South Africa, says: “The Eicher Pro 6000 Series marks a milestone in the journey of Eicher Trucks in South Africa, entering the heavy-duty commercial vehicle industry.
“The trucks have undergone rigorous endurance and performance testing for more than 100 000 km in South Africa. Together with strong support solutions, the new series promises to deliver maximum lifetime profitability to customers and fast-track their business growth.”
Singh expresses his confidence in this statement, by adding that numerous features were added to the vehicle during its homologation as a result of customer feedback – for example, the air-suspended driver’s seat. While it is positioned as a mid-tier vehicle in the segment, the Pro 6000 Series offers features worth approximately R60 000 as standard, when compared to its competitors…
“We’ve done extensive research into the segment’s buying patterns and what to offer,” Singh comments, adding that a number of variants can be configured from the common base vehicle.
Depending on the model, the Pro 6000 runs either the VEDX5 or VEDX8 engine, designed in collaboration with the Volvo Group. These engines are equipped with the Volvo Group’s latest Engine Management System (EMS 3.0) that maximises performance in various operating conditions.
The Pro 6000 can produce power and torque figures in the region of 157 kW (210 hp) and 825 Nm. The six-speed manual transmission on the 6016 freight carrier receives a larger clutch and booster, while the 6025 receives a nine-speed ZF gearbox and Meritor rear axle. Dual s-cam brakes are fitted.
Significantly, the Pro 6000 Series cab is adapted from Japanese design and meets AIS 029 safety standards. The chassis frame is made from Domex steel.
Singh comments that in independent testing at Gerotek, the Pro 6000 Series returned fuel consumption figures that were on average ten-percent lower than the nearest competitor. Further aiding a low cost of ownership and downtime is the 40 000 km service interval, while parts pricing has been kept between ten and 20-percent lower than the competition.
Singh believes that it is this focus on the customer’s needs that has resulted in Eicher exceeding its own expectations in these first few years in the local market.
“We know that in South Africa you get only one chance to not mess up. So we made a big investment in terms of parts availability and distribution with Bidvest BPL. We have trained 408 technical staff and are expanding our current network of 15 dealers.
“The acceptance of the product is also due to our research and extensive testing. We are serious about this market,” he says. So much so, in fact, that the brand is currently investigating local production.