UD Trucks Southern Africa

02 March 2014 | Print

They say great companies are built on innovation, a tradition of excellence and an unwavering commitment to their customers.

52 Years and Still Going the Extra Mile

They say great companies are built on innovation, a tradition of excellence and an unwavering commitment to their customers. 

Throughout its rich and diverse history in South Africa, UD Trucks has produced legendary vehicles that have built an outstanding reputation in the local transport industry.  This is mainly due to their unrelenting reliability, versatile performance and suitability to South African road and operating conditions.

“Over the past fifty years, it has been the Professionalism, Passion and Dependability of the people who have been part of the UD Trucks family, that have carried the brand to reach multiple milestones and successes,” said Jacques Carelse, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa.

A Rich & Diverse History

“Even though UD Trucks vehicles as we know it today were sold under a number of names and identities, there has always been one constant fact: UD Trucks’ Ultimate Dependability,” said Carelse.  “It all began in 1962, when the first UD Trucks vehicles were imported into the country by Stanley Motors in Johannesburg.  This model series was originally known as the T80 and T81, both4x2 units.”

The decades that followed saw numerous introductions of now legendary models, like the UG780, CK10 and CK20, the UG780 engine during the ADE era in the 1980s, as well as the CM range which consisted of the CM10, 12, 14 and 16 derivatives.

From 1998 to 1999, Nissan Diesel also launched its Extra Heavy Vehicle range with OE engines namely the PF6 series, and in the process became the first manufacturer to complete the transition back to Original Equipment. The company also embarked on its first venture into the 6x4 high-end truck-tractor market segment with the UD 430 WT featuring a RF8 engine. 

The launch of the UD 440 series signalled the start of a new age in the history of the company, making serious inroads into the upper end of the market – the first Japanese manufacturer to do so locally.

In 2002, Nissan Diesel South Africa formally separated from the passenger car operations to become a dedicated trucking company, with 80% of the company owned by Nissan Diesel Motor Corporation in Japan and the balance held by Mitsui.

The innovative Escot transmission was first introduced into the market on the UD 290 WM and UD 400 KT during 2004 and at the same time, Nissan Diesel South Africa first offered maintenance contracts to customers.

The state-of-the-art Quon extra heavy truck range is launched in 2008, utilising new-generation technology across the model line-up.  The assembly plant was also revamped to double its capacity, while the Parts Warehouse and Training Academy were upgraded to meet growing demand.

In 2010, the company’s entire range meets Euro II emission standards with the launch of the company’s new HCV engine range. 

“And a new era dawned in September of that year, as the company and brand name change to UD Trucks Southern Africa, with the local operations taking on responsibility for more African countries,” said Carelse.

In 2012, UD Trucks Southern Africa once again moved the benchmark higher with the launch of the new generation Quon extra heavy range.  The range consisting of 14 model derivativeswere launched in the local market in March 2012.

UD Trucks 2014 and Beyond:

Modern and Smart Transport Solutions for the African Continent

UD Trucks Southern Africa is set for a ground-breaking era during the next five years. As one of the country’s leading truck manufacturers for the past 52 years, the company is currently planning the introduction of game-changing new products and services to customers. 

“The future plans of UD Trucks is all about enhancing our customers’ transport and service experience with us,” said Carelse.  “We are committed to supporting our customers in a smart and modern way, and going the extra mile in everything we do.”

As has always been the case, UD Trucks will provide customers with transport solutions that offer the right balance between features, cost and efficiency. 

UD Trucks assemble its range of medium, heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicles according to world-class quality standards at its plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria.  The company’s team of engineers are continuously researching, developing and testing the UD Trucks product range to ensure they are suited to southern African road and operating conditions. 

Although UD Trucks are made for Africa – tough, hard-working and dependable - they are also equipped with modern equipment and technology to ensure the best possible lifecycle costs for customers. The future plans of the company also include the introduction of new ranges that are set to change the way southern African fleet owners think about trucks.

By combining the power of the company’s Japanese heritage of quality engineering and manufacturing, and the global strength, modernity and resources of one of the world’s leading commercial vehicle manufacturers, with their local expertise, skills and support, UD Trucks is in a very unique position to offer customers transport solutions for the here and now.

“As part of this process, UD Trucks Southern Africa is currently evaluating the new Quester range, which had its international debut in September 2013, for local start of production in late 2014,” said Carelse.  “Quester will not replace any of our current line-up but will simply enhance our offering to our customer base.”

UD Trucks has a proud heritage of developing high quality trucks for the Japanese market but this is the first time that the company has specifically developed a truck range with African fleet owners in mind.  With all of the company’s future product launches, UD Trucks’ strategy will be all about fuel efficiency, productivity, uptime and quality aftermarket support.

“Most importantly, we believe our local customers are set to profit from our upcoming product ranges’ positioning in the market, including its level of technology and quality through to the new scope of support offered by our regional dealer network,” said Carelse. 

UD Trucks is also constantly developing, strengthening and training its already comprehensive regional dealer network.  The 64 UD Trucks dealers across southern and eastern Africa are always ready to support customers with manufacturer-endorsed sales, service, parts, as well as financial and fleet solutions. 

Represented all along the major routes and trade corridors across the region, UD Trucks Southern Africa is able to provide a speedy response, knowledgeable technical advice and service, as well as ultimately dependable trucks that get the job done.

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