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Put to the test

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Put to the testTruck Test 2015 is nearly upon us. The vehicles will set off on April 15 for the fourth instalment of this informative event. We talk to Dirk Meyer, brand leader Freightliner Trucks South Africa, for the scoop on the goals and expectations of this newcomer to Truck Test.

Says Meyer: “This is the first Truck Test event in which Freightliner will partake. Other Daimler truck brands have entered into other past events, however, and performed very well.” He adds that Daimler Trucks takes each and every opportunity to demonstrate why it is one of the world’s leading truck manufacturers.

“In order to do this, we participate in events such as FOCUS on Transport’s Truck Test,” Meyer points out. “This is where commercial vehicles, such as our Freightliner Argosy Cummins 500, are tested under genuine road conditions that they have to endure on a regular basis.”

This is the vehicle (Freightliner’s best-selling model) which will be put through its paces in this year’s event. Truck Test 2015 features extra-heavy commercial vehicles and this is the only segment in which the brand competes. “We are very eager to demonstrate the abilities of our product,” says Meyer. “This is also a chance for us to publicise our value-chain offerings, namely; FleetBoard, CharterWay, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and TruckStore.”

FleetBoard is Daimler’s well-known telematics service that increases fleet efficiency. With a FleetBoard unit onboard, one can monitor the performance of both truck and driver from wherever you are, at any time.

Available remotely on a PC, smartphone or tablet, this data can be used to analyse and optimise the efficiency of an entire fleet. “The savings are dramatic as a fleet’s fuel bill and maintenance costs can be reduced by 15 percent,” says Meyer.

“Truck Test 2015 is the perfect platform for us to showcase the benefits of our FleetBoard Professional Driver Training programme,” Meyer points out. “A thoroughly trained driver can mean an increased bottom line for an operator, and, more importantly, safer roads for all users.”

He adds that driver training and skills development play critical roles in the effective management of any fleet. “FleetBoard offers tailored courses and training to achieve this goal, resulting in the optimal utilisation of the vehicle and improved efficiency.”

CharterWay – a set of vehicle leasing, maintenance and servicing products modelled specifically for the fleet owner – enables the company to combine Mercedes-Benz Financial Services and fleet management products.

TruckStore, the specialist used commercial vehicle concept launched by Mercedes-Benz South Africa in 2012, is based on the European model. In Europe, TruckStore is the number-one address for buying and selling used commercial vehicles. Locally, it is one of the biggest used commercial vehicle outlets in the southern hemisphere.

TruckStore offers a selection of brands, ages and types of vehicles – all classified as Gold, Silver or Bronze according to clearly defined TruckStore standards. This classification serves as a reliable confirmation of the age, condition, mileage and service component of the vehicle. The company also offers an extensive range of services for used commercial vehicles such as finance, insurance and warranties.

The most important part of Truck Test 2015, however, is the opportunity it presents to demonstrate the performance of the Freightliner Argosy in a real-life and standardised environment – Meyer points out. “The results will assist truck operators when making critical buying decisions.”

He continues: “We are very close to our existing customers and constantly work on improving the performance of their vehicles. This test will allow us the opportunity to evaluate these improvements.”

Meyer tells FOCUS that Truck Test is also an opportunity for the company to get feedback about the conditions in which its drivers operate, as they spend a lot of time behind the wheel. “As comfortable and user-friendly as our cabs are, we are always looking for other ways to innovate further and to continue to be leaders.”

He adds that the test will also demonstrate just how frugal the brand’s engines are, while providing the necessary power for varying loads and distances. “Apart from achieving exceptional fuel consumption, we are certain that the low tare weight of our product will help to achieve a high productivity factor,” says Meyer.

“Venturing into the unknown is what we are most excited about, however, as this is the first time that Freightliner will be competing in the Truck Test event,” Meyer tells FOCUS. “The trucking industry is a competitive one, where the demands and requirements are often highly complex and require solutions that are geared towards vastly improving efficiency, while reducing costs …

“Freightliner has a proven product in the market, but it will be very interesting to see how the results compare to the performance figures we have built up over the years.”

 

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