On 31 January 2024, UD Trucks Southern Africa (UDTSA) held its Annual Press Conference at Langhams Executive Conferencing. At this gathering, the company announced its 2023 performance to local media stakeholders in attendance, despite the headwinds in the commercial vehicle industry, presented by both regional and international unpredictable operating conditions.
Overall, the new vehicle market registered a sound performance of 9.2% in total with aggregate industry sales at 32 169 compared to the total sales of 29 455 in 2022. Whilst on the other hand, UD Trucks Southern Africa successfully concluded the year 2023, achieving consistent growth with a remarkable increase of over 40% in service agreements. This significant progress is a substantial step toward ensuring peace of mind, predictability, and maximizing overall uptime for UD Trucks customers.
Filip Van den Heede, Managing Director UD Trucks Southern Africa comments: “2023 was certainly not a walk in the park, but as a company, we are pleased to have significantly intensified our holistic proposition, focusing on delivering transport and service solutions that the world needs today. In pursuit of this goal, we have successfully accomplished various objectives, including achieving retail excellence, introducing innovative transport solutions, enhancing our aftersales offerings to reduce total cost of ownership, and improving parts availability at dealers leading to even further improved uptime and resale value for our customers, among other accomplishments. With improved cost of ownership and uptime ultimately driving customer satisfaction.”
Providing sustainable transport and services solution
Shinning the spotlight on some of the key successes achieved in 2023, UDTSA enthusiastically re-entered the local commuter bus market with the all-new Croner Bus, which comes in two variants - a commuter bus (PKE 280) and rural bus (LKE 210). This was a turning point for the company from a wider African perspective, in response to the growing demand for sustainable and safe travel options; the Croner Bus was the perfect answer to connect people on the move.
Furthermore, the year 2023 brought a renewed sense of confidence to the UDTSA brand when it officially opened its doors to a larger and more prominently located dealership in Cape Town. The new establishment not only is testament to the company’s ongoing efforts to become an environmentally conscious brand but further provides additional capacity for growth to continue to meet the demands of a growing commercial vehicle market in the region. The new dealership in Cape Town, together with many other investments in the network, continues to be proof of the ongoing investments in customer satisfaction.
UD Trucks Southern Africa further reaffirmed its dedication to the Southern Africa region when it was recognized by naamsa, The Automotive Business Council for paving the way in Women and Youth Empowerment, and Most Improved BBBEE OEM at the naamsa Annual Accelerator Awards. A major milestone in being a catalyst on the transformation agenda and investing in initiatives that contribute meaningfully to South Africa's socio-economic transformation, with a strong focus on the development of enterprises and suppliers as well as skills development.
In another notable achievement, focused on providing customer solutions, a specially armored UD Kuzer RKE 150 truck is now accessible in the market. This follows a venture between UDTSA and SVI Engineering, a leading specialist manufacturer of armored products in South Africa. The SVI-converted UD Kuzer truck offers its driver and front passengers comprehensive B6 protection, without compromising either comfort or performance. Further, the conversion is fully approved by UDTSA, and the new armouring solution can be ordered through any UDTSA dealer local network, with the standard manufacturer warranty remaining in place.
"With the recent additions, UDTSA remains committed to utilizing a comprehensive approach in addressing today's challenges," states Sanjay Naipal, Aftermarket Director for UD Trucks Southern Africa. "In this regard, the focus on reducing the total cost of ownership for our customers is crucial, ensuring maximum uptime, peace of mind, and ultimately, a high resale value for their vehicles.”
Taking additional strides to provide intelligent logistics solutions, UD Trucks has elevated its data-driven offerings with UD Connected Services which is now a standard inclusion on specific UD models for a period of five years. UD Connected Services offers extensive fleet management, enhanced logistical efficiency, and industry-leading vehicle connectivity. In essence, it culminates in superior fleet management, reflecting UD Trucks' commitment to boosting business profitability and efficiency through data and digital connectivity.
20 Years of Quon Innovation, safety that puts people first
Globally, UD Trucks continuously pioneers transportation solutions through ongoing innovation. The UD Quon, a standout modern achievement, is commemorating two decades since its global launch in 2004. Built upon the heritage of overcoming challenges, the UD Quon has consistently introduced groundbreaking innovations, including the Traffic Eye Brake, the revolutionary ESCOT gearbox among others. These advancements further solidify UD's market positioning.
Marking the significance of this milestone, UDTSA has taken for the South African market giant strides towards its commitment in ensuring access to sustainable transport solutions and is set to introduce enhanced Quon safety features equipping it with innovative safety features that put people first. Dependable and safe for all drivers, road users, and communities, the enhanced Quon comes with improved technology to assist drivers on the roads.
The enhanced Quon is Better for People, with its diverse features onboard elevating drivability and comfort, further reducing risks and giving drivers a safe working environment. This includes a streamlined interior and dashboard designed for driver comfort, and an easy-to-understand instrument panel layout with driving information and LED indicators smartly arranged in order of warning priority, providing excellent visibility to drivers.
Owners can also expect peace of mind with maintenance with UD Trust Service Agreements which include maintenance plan based on vehicle usage, covering optimal preventive maintenance and reliable inspections. Quon trucks are also supported with UD Extra Mile Support solutions that tap into the full UD network to access vehicle support which benefits owners throughout their vehicle application and lifespan – spanning across vehicle handover training programme, manufacturer’s warranty, UD Road Support, on top of reliable servicing by qualified technicians with genuine parts and UD Connected Services.
“The upgraded Quon contributes to heightened sustainability and mobility, thereby reducing the overall carbon footprint in alignment with UD Trucks' overarching purpose of creating a better life for people and the planet. Already launched in international markets, specifically Australia and New Zealand since May 2023, these safety enhancements are anticipated to be introduced in South Africa during the third quarter of the year”, according to Rory Schulz, Sales Director for UD Trucks Southern Africa.
As the company advances towards an exciting future, the vision remains steadfast: to offer the trucks and services the world needs today. Ongoing customer trials are being conducted for automation and electromobility technologies, and the company will persist in concentrating on solutions to swiftly deliver the benefits of these advancements to customers.
“It has been indeed a transformational year for us as a company and looking ahead in the next few months, I am holding my thumbs with optimism and resilience for a brighter outlook on the horizon. 2024 will not be different to us, we will continue to put our valued customers at the core of everything that we do and remain the partner of choice to our customers”, concludes Van den Heede.