Bit of spit and polish makes Fuso a beaut

SMOOTH RIDE: The Canter LIFT FE4-130 which has been manufactured at the East London plant since April 1
SMOOTH RIDE: The Canter LIFT FE4-130 which has been manufactured at the East London plant since April 1
Fuso, a brand of Daimler Truck and Buses, is bulldozing its way to being the number one truck in South Africa with the launch of their newly modified light-duty trucks at Zwartkops Raceway in Pretoria this week.

The newly face-lifted Fuso Canter TD and Canter LIFT FE4-130, which have been manufactured at the East London plant since April 1, were revealed at a press briefing hosted by Daimler Trucks Southern Africa executive director Jasper Hafkamp and head of Fuso Trucks Southern Africa Ziyad Gaba.

The Canter TD range received a cosmetic facelift with nine amendments to the exterior and interior, to “ensure its appearance matches its performance”.

Most visible changes on the Canter on the exterior include the front bumper design, paint on the grille, colour-keyed windshield area, and the logo’s location on the front panel. The interior looks brighter and more spacious with the addition of a floor console and the standardisation of a vinyl floor mat with colour change, change of interior colour and the change of driver’s seat shape and colour.

The baby of the Fuso brand, the FE4-130TF, with a gross vehicle mass of 4.9 tons, is perfect for operators such as contractors, those working in food services, landscaping, public works and refrigerated goods.

The 4x2 Fuso FE4-130 boasts a 3l, 96kw/3500 rpm Euro III engine, and is available in both manual (the FE4-130 TF MT, with five forward gears) and Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT) – the FE4-130 TF AMT, offering six forward gears.

Hafkamps said the small truck is liked for its versatility as its pre-drilled chassis allows for more than 50 different bodies to be mounted. Seamless acceleration and smooth shifts are the norm, due to the maintenance-free Duonic dual wet clutch in the AMT version.

“It offers oil changes at up to 25 000km, long warranty coverage of two years, and is equipped with fleet management solutions to allow operators to install any telematics systems of their choice,” he said.

Hafkamp said that while the Fuso competed with Mercedes-Benz trucks, a brand that is also part of the Daimler company, they aimed to grow the Fuso brand, particularly as a light and medium duty truck.

“Currently MB trucks take a 25% market share in the heavy-duty truck segment which means at least one in every four trucks is a Mercedes-Benz, but with the new strategy to grow the Fuso, we aim to grow its market share to 10% by 2020,” Hafkamp said.

“We have identified the focus of the MB trucks to be solely on long haul, while the Fuso will take over the construction (medium duty) and light duty trucks for the distribution segment which consists of furniture or courier companies, just to name a few.

“While Fuso is established and recognised around the world, there is still so much opportunity for it to grow in SA and that is what we want to do, as we continue to build relations and grow business’s with our own.”

Head of Fuso Trucks Southern Africa Gaba said: “The brand went through a lot of strain in 2013, which is why we have developed strategies to boost it and put our money where our mouth is to strive for the 10% market share by 2020 and to dominate throughout the more than 2000 fleet management companies.

“To achieve our goals we have committed to define the image of the brand by recognising it as a standalone and increasing our Fuso team by 46%. We also want to establish Fuso dealerships and designated Fuso sales representatives to expand on our vision.

Gaba said the expansive Fuso Southern African dealer network footprint ensures current and prospective customers have convenient access to sales, after-sales and assistance, as well as parts availability.

“As Fuso Trucks, we continue to grow in the light, medium and heavy-duty trucks segments as a result of constantly being in close contact with our customers. This means we know that one of the major challenges they face are the inherent complexities of operating in the transport industry,” said Gaba.

The retail price for the Fuso starts at R350000. —