TRANSPORT: Scania Bucks The Trend
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WHILE the market in the transport industry generally has been down across the board, Scania SA’s Western Cape operation has rather bucked the trend, showing a slight increase in sales in the first half of this year.
The dealership began with a ‘phenomenal’ cluster of sales in January, says regional sales manager James White, and while this obviously could not continue at the same rate, they have managed to keep the wheels turning.
Indeed the feeling of both White and his colleague, Scania’s dealer manager Marius Steenkamp, is one of quiet optimism. There are already signs, they say, of a return of business confidence, and some movement in the market.
The biggest problem facing the industry has been the sharp upward spiral in the fuel price. Where at one time fuel would have been in the region of 30% to 35% of a haulier’s total operating costs, they had recently risen to nearly 50%. In a highly competitive industry this hit hard at hauliers’ profit margins - which in turn affected new vehicle sales.
But with the introduction last year of Scania’s P, G- and R- series, offering the highest standards yet of reliability and fuel efficiency in heavy long haul vehicles, Scania has remained the prime target for those still keen to buy. Their range of cabs and a wide selection of powertrains make it possible to find an ideal combination for all types of long haulage.
“We nailed our colours to the mast on the new series, feeling sure it would make a real impact on the market - and today, less than a year later, it has done everything we expected, and more,” White says.
This is hardly surprising, he adds.. The choice is one of the widest on the market, with more cabs, a full range of Euro 3 engines from 230 to 580hp, gearboxes with 8-14 speeds including Crawler gears, automated gear changing, integrated retarder and various configurations on 2,3 and 4 axles.
Says White: “Scania engines are renowned for their economy, drivability and long-lasting qualities. Economical engines and a well-matched transmission are the keys to long-term productivity, and are exactly what hauliers are looking for right now.”
Scania, says Marius Steenkamp, also has much to offer the haulier who is not contemplating buying, but needs to coax further kilometres from vehicles that have already rendered valiant service. Their network of 9 Scania maintenance and repair depots in major centres throughout the country is supplemented by a further network of strategically-placed Scania-approved workshops and breakdown assistance on main routes, ensuring a highly efficient support system for long-haul operators.
“Downtime for any haulier is something to be kept to an absolute minimum, but with our fleet of service vehicles on standby at all times and our highly experienced service technicians available on a 24-hour basis, problems can be quickly identified - getting the vehicle back on the road in the shortest possible time. All part of the Scania service.”
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