Fuso has added a construction vehicle range in the form of the FJ 26-280C.   Picture:  MERCEDES-BENZ SA
Fuso has added a construction vehicle range in the form of the FJ 26-280C. Picture: MERCEDES-BENZ SA

Fuso has made some significant announcements in the past month, one being the appointment of a new head of the business and the other being the expansion of the FJ truck range.

Ziyad Gaba has been appointed as the head of Fuso Southern Africa, effective July 1 2017. In this position, he will succeed Naeem Hassim, who will assume his new responsibility as the head of Daimler’s Regional Centre for Commercial Vehicles in central Africa.

"Ziyad’s impressive track record speaks for itself, but it his attitude and work ethic that made him the perfect candidate for the role," says Jasper Hafkamp, executive director of Daimler Trucks and Buses southern Africa. "Our ambition with Fuso Trucks is to continue to grow the brand in southern Africa and there is no one better suited to take on this task.

Gaba takes over at a time when the firm has expanded its FJ range with the introduction of the FJ 26-280C for the construction sector. It offers a direct-injection diesel engine, rated at 205kW-2,200r/min with the torque levelling out at 1,100Nm between 1,200-1,600r/min. Fuso says the unit fuel injection and higher boost pressure on the turbocharger ensure the complete burning of fuel, reducing emissions and increasing fuel efficiency.

The model includes a nine-speed transmission with a crawler gear that provides the flexibility required to negotiate complex terrain for off-road applications. It also offers a Power Take-Off (PTO) as a standard feature. This is a regular requirement in the construction industry, as the PTO supplies power to other equipment.

Functionality is enhanced through a multileaf bogie type rear suspension, while safety is also paramount with standard front and rear antiroll bars that increase the vehicle’s stability, while a differential lock assists to prevent one wheel from spinning, making the truck safer and easier to operate in conditions that offer little or no grip.

The company says that its new truck was built to be rugged for a longer product lifecycle, thanks to thicker and deeper long members in the chassis. The chassis’ cross members add additional strength and they are shot-peened and powder coated to increase surface strength and to prevent corrosion.

The interior has been designed to reduce driver fatigue, complete with three-way adjustable seats, as well as a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel that allows the driver to choose an optimum driving posture. The extended day cab includes a fold-down bunk where the driver can rest during breaks. Occupants benefit from the standard air-conditioning and rear windows that open for ventilation or to shut out noise.

At the same time as the company launched its new construction offering, it announced that it is increasing the completely knocked down (CKD) production of its trucks at the Mercedes-Benz SA (MBSA) plant in East London.

"By producing the Fuso FA and FJ series trucks in our East London plant, we are simply putting into action what we promised would be the next logical step after we launched the Regional Centre Southern Africa last year. We are building Fuso trucks in southern Africa, by southern Africans, for southern Africa," says Hafkamp.

"This is irrefutable proof that further reiterates our commitment to the southern African market, as part of our overarching brand growth plan. The construction industry is one of the key indicators for economic growth and what better way to underline our intentions than by launching what will soon be an icon in this industry, the Fuso FJ 26-280C," he says.

MBSA invested more than R3m into the East London plant to ensure that it was ready for the increase in Fuso CKD production.

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