Eicher Trucks is developing a professional approach
Indian truck and bus maker, Eicher Trucks, has launched in SA to take on the establishment, writes Lerato Matebese
Eicher Trucks is a light to medium heavy commercial vehicle company, which has been operating in India for more than three decades providing both trucks and buses to 30 countries including markets in East Asia, the Middle East and, most recently, SA.
Launched at the TruckX commercial vehicle show in Gauteng recently, Eicher Trucks operates under the auspices of VECV (VE Commercial Vehicles), which is a joint venture between the Volvo Group and India’s Eicher Motors.
Eicher has launched its Pro series range of trucks in SA, which includes the Pro 600 heavy duty freight carrier and construction tipper range, covering the 4.9-15 tonnes and 16-49 tonnes spectrum.
Offering Japanese-designed cabins and Volvo drivetrains, the range will be sold through 14 strategic locations in the country through partnerships with a number of well-established dealership groups. These include AAD, BB Motor Group, Billison Trucks, CMH, Fleet Dynamics, Imperial and Premier Truck and Bus.
"It indeed is a proud moment for us to launch Eicher Pro Series range of trucks in SA. This is a strategic market and it will play a critical role in Eicher Trucks and Buses international business.
"The company plans to continuously invest in the introduction of country specific products and aftermarket infrastructure," says Surender Singh Rajpurohit, vice-president and head of VECV SA.
We viewed some of the trucks on the stand at the show and the cabs seem of good quality and on a par with the likes of, say UD Trucks, which incidentally is also a subsidiary of Volvo Trucks.
This, then, in essence means both Eicher and UD Trucks will compete in the same space of the market and will have similar technology, so whether there will be any cannibalisation between the two brands remains to be seen. "The local team has been proactively busy ensuring parts availability and technical training for technicians before start of sales as its primary focus area.
To further enhance a high level of professionalism and quality of support for Eicher trucks, we have joined hands with Bidvest Panalpina Logistics (BPL) as its 3PL (third party logistics) partner. A huge investment has already been made to take care of the parts availability. Currently the warehouse has a parts availability of over 2,600 line items," says Rajpurohit.
He says it has partnered with the Volvo Trucks customer care call centre in Jet Park, east of Gauteng, where clients’ queries can be attended to by agents.
According to Rajpurohit, VECV’s vision is to be recognised as the industry leader in driving modernisation in commercial transportation in India and developing countries such as SA by providing commercial vehicles to cope with the rigours and operational conditions of those markets.
He says that the entire Pro Series range has gone through 3-million hours of engineering, 7.7-million kilometres of testing and 50,000 hours of engine development, the results of which, he says, is higher fuel efficiency and durability as well as greater comfort and safety.
On paper and on face value the Pro Series range looks as though Eicher has done its homework regarding the needs of the South African commercial vehicle segment.
However, how the uptake is reciprocated by potential clients and the trucking world alike is something that remains to be seen.