Scania pulled out all the stops when the company hosted its recent customer day at Gerotek. A total of 35 vehicles were available for customers to drive, and a whopping 400 current and future potential clients availed themselves of this opportunity. CHARLEEN CLARKE joined the festivities...
When Scania does something, it truly does it in style and with finesse, and the recent customer day was no exception; the company erected a Taj Mahal-like building at Gerotek and it jetted customers to the event from all over southern Africa.
Virtually the full range of vehicles was on offer, and customers could move from one so-called “obstacle” to the next, experiencing the trucks and buses. The “obstacles” were the high-speed oval track, ride and handling track, skidpan and straight.
Each “obstacle” allowed customers to put different aspects of the vehicles to the test. On the oval,
they could experience fuel consumption and ergonomics, the ride and handling track and skidpan were there to put the vehicles’ handling to the test, and manoeuvrability was put to the test on the straight.
Without exception, each of the customers left Gerotek thoroughly impressed with the day and the vehicle range. Take Julius Mumba, from Zaffico in Zambia, for instance; he’s involved in the forestry industry. “We plant, grow and manage seedlings, which are then sold to sawmills, and grown into timber. We have 13 trucks, all dropsides from Mitsubishi, Hino and Isuzu, in our fleet,” he told FOCUS.
Mumba attended the Scania event because he wants to acquire a vehicle that can be used to fight forest fires. “It will need to transport 5 000 to 6 000 litres of water. That’s why I’m here; we’re very interested in acquiring a Scania for that purpose. We will use the vehicle on our own plantations and will also help out if there’s an emergency and an extra firefighting vehicle is required,” he revealed.
According to Mumba, Scania is a popular brand in Zambia – especially when it comes to long-haul trucks. “Scania has a very good reputation in our country,” he confirmed.
He expressed similar sentiments when it came to the customer day. “I’ve driven some of the trucks and the bus, too; the day has been very impressive – and so have the vehicles,” he reported.
Pieter Jamneck, of Lemon Tree Toilet Hire, was also impressed. “We have a variety of trucks in our fleet, from 3,5 t upwards, but I cannot tell you how many trucks or toilets I have. It’s a secret; our competitors always want to know more about what we do,” he explained.
The company recently purchased its first Scania. “We bought one Scania; an 8x4, 410 hp. I like the fixed chassis and Scania has a good name in the market; that’s why we bought it. We have only been using it for a month and it’s a case of so far, so good,” he reported.
Like Mumba, he gave the event the thumbs-up. “Today has been fun! It’s nice to see the smiles on the faces of all the drivers today. I’m very impressed with the electronics and the technology employed by the Scania vehicles; it’s really amazing,” he told FOCUS.
Anton Coetzee, of Conria Plant Hire in Hartbeespoort Dam, is another happy Scania customer. “I transport earthmoving machines and I bought a Scania R460 because I have had a couple of operations and my back is very bad, so I need a vehicle that is really very comfortable.
“I was also looking for a truck that has good fuel economy. It’s a used vehicle and I bought it privately a week ago; I’m really enjoying it and am happy with my purchase. Today is very nice; I’m enjoying it and the trucks are all very comfortable,” he reported.
Christie Lubbinge of Varing Kwekery was even more ebullient. The day afforded her with her very first opportunity to drive a truck – and she was utterly thrilled with the experience. FOCUS joined her on the high-speed oval track, where she had taken command of a R580 paired with a tautliner, and she was chortling with glee at the experience.
“I’ve never driven a truck before and this Scania is just so incredibly comfortable and easy to drive. I could quite happily drive from here to Cape Town. I cannot believe I am going over 80 km/h and I feel perfectly safe and at ease,” she revealed.
Fanie Robbertse of Sabrix was also grinning from gear to gear. “I work for a brick-making factory and we have about 30 trucks – MAN, Mercedes-Benz, Fuso and Volvo. We don’t have any Scanias – yet, but we’re in the market for a new horse. We have a mixed bag of trucks; we buy wherever we get the best deal.
“I am really enjoying today; the Scania is a very economical truck. They’re comfortable too, and we want that in a truck; we don’t want our drivers to be tired because they need to operate the crane. A tired driver will have accidents,” he pointed out.
He also joked with FOCUS that he intended trading in his car and replacing it with a Scania instead. “I think I need one of these trucks for my personal transport! I’m going to trade in my car and buy a Scania because it’s so comfortable and so good to drive. Parking it at home won’t be a problem because I live on a plot. The only problem could be visiting the mall with my family in the Scania; we will need to park a bit further away and then walk to the mall,” he said with a hearty chuckle.
So there you have it: the customers were universally impressed with the driveability, comfort and technology offered by the Scania range. It was definitely a case of “mission accomplished” on the part of the company!
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