The Volkswagen (VW) Constellation range of workhorses has been specially engineered to meet the demands of niche trucking applications in southern Africa.
Manufactured in Brazil and forming part of MAN AG’s multi-brand truck and bus portfolio, VW heavy- and extra-heavy commercial vehicles are gaining market share in emerging African economies, following the brand’s success in Latin America.
“The VW Constellation range is extremely versatile, making it the ideal choice for the medium and on-highway distribution segments,” says Dave van Graan, Head of Truck Sales, MAN Truck & Bus South Africa.
“Predominantly, our customers use the VW Constellation for volume van, dropside, tautliner, refrigerated and car-carrier applications. This clearly demonstrates the volume and weight-carrying capabilities of the range.”
Citing reliability and fuel economy as key attractions, Van Graan adds that the Constellation range has been optimised through prudent engineering of various driveline components to broaden its appeal in the local road-freight industry.
The VW Constellation range includes the 19.320 4x2 truck-tractor and rigid-chassis freight carrier derivatives: the 13.180 4x2 freight carrier, the 15.180 4x2 freight carrier, the 17.250 4x2 freight carrier and the 24.250 6x2 freight carrier.
“The range has great potential to service a number of niche medium and long-haul distribution applications. The VW Constellation 19.320 has a gross combination mass of 44 t, which puts it ahead of most rival 4x2 truck tractors as far as payload and drawing capacity are concerned,” says Livingstone Mulaudzi, Head of Product Management at MAN Truck & Bus South Africa.
MAN is targeting the removals segment as a key new market, as well as other “volume-based” cargo hauliers.
“The VW Constellation 24.250 freight carrier has a longer wheelbase at 5,819 m, which provides a better platform for various truck bodies. It is also specified to tow a draw-bar trailer, which makes it an attractive option for operators seeking optimum payload productivity,” adds Mulaudzi.
Equipped with mechanical suspension and a liftable tag axle, the VW Constellation 24.250 also sports a dual-speed differential which delivers “fast” and “slow” gear ratios for better traction under load.
Anti-lock braking system (ABS) and low roof sleeper cabins are now standard equipment for the 17.250 and 24.250 freight carrier derivatives. All derivatives have a high level of in-cab appointments for driver comfort, which, in turn, improves productivity.
Specified for regions that are not equipped with the latest hi-tech workshop equipment, the VW Constellation range is finding favour in sub-equatorial Africa. This is primarily due to its reliability, robust chassis and “easy-to-fix” driveline, based on the Cummins ISBe power-plant and Eaton FS 6306 B manual transmission.
“The ease-of-diagnosis for engines and electronics enables rapid servicing turnaround times,” Mulaudzi adds.
“The VW Constellation truck range is growing in stature, because it is a ‘fit for purpose’ vehicle, tailored to meet the specific needs of niche applications. As a business tool, it strikes the optimum balance between price and lifecycle cost,” concludes Van Graan.
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