In the evening of 27th March, the last-ever Big Thumb, UD Trucks’ heavy-duty truck, finally rolled off the production line.
UD Trucks has watched over the production of the Big Thumb over a grand total of 24 years since the truck first one that was produced in 1990. The last Big Thumb truck will shortly be shipped to Bolivia.
A total of approximately 165,000 Big Thumbs have been sold in Japan since 1990, and in 2004, UD Trucks stopped making the vehicle for the Japanese market. In addition, from 1999, around 70,000 Big Thumbs were also exported overseas including KDs. The truck is a testimony to the high level of technological expertise on which an entire era of UD Trucks’ history has been built.
When the Big Thumb first went on sale in the 1990s, it was a difficult time when the Japanese economy was in a sluggish state following the bursting of the economic bubble. In addition, automakers faced a series of increasingly tough regulations on exhaust emissions. There was a growing need to develop a truck with the improved basic power functions and superior environmental features to reflect the needs of those changing times. This heavy-duty truck, the Big Thumb, was developed over a period of around five years based on the concept of “Kind to people, gentle on the community”.
Since the Big Thumb was launched, the truck has continued to feature new technology and led the industry in terms of enhanced comfort and safety. In 1991, an electronic controlled automatic transmission (E-MATIC) was installed. In 1992, ABS (Anti-Lock Brake System) and ARS (Anti-Slip Regulation) were also installed as options. In 1998, the GE13 engine was mounted on the Big Thumb. This engine employed an electronically controlled unit injector, the first in Japan, to realize maximum output of 440PS.
Watching the last-ever Big Thumb as it comes off the production line, Mr. Tetsuo Yamazaki, manager, VPS, GTO said “I do feel sad to see it go, but as this is a truck we have all worked so hard to create, we hope to send it on its way on a positive note.”