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FAW swiftly gaining ground

FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (Pty) Ltd launched its new FAW medium-weight 8.140 FL range in May 2015. Now, a mere year later, it is ranked second in the manually-driven 5-ton GVM truck segment. On introduction it was lauded as the lowest-cost-per-ton vehicle in its category, and today it is still one of the most affordable and efficient trucks available in this category.

The FAW 8.140 FL has had tremendous success in its first year on the SA market.
The FAW 8.140 FL has had tremendous success in its first year on the SA market.

Cheng Zhang, Marketing and Strategy Manager at FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA, says the decision to introduce the precision-designed medium-sized truck range was a very strategic one.

“Our decision to introduce a medium weight truck range was based on customer demand and market opportunity. Our market analysis confirmed the need for a vehicle as durable and rugged as our heavy and extra-heavy trucks, but with smaller dimensions to handle a different working environment,” says Zhang.

FAW SA took a strategic decision to redesign and re-engineer the truck to be perfectly suited to local conditions. The FAW team paid special attention to cost efficiency combined with the best possible payload and the best turnaround time, without forgetting FAW’s quality build standards.

“The FAW 8.140 FL carries all the hallmarks that FAW trucks are renowned for, namely strength, reliability, easy operation and, most importantly, delivering on the promise of a ‘truck built in South Africa, for Africa’.”

Imported from parent plants as SKD kits, the cab, the chassis, axles and other sub-assembly components, together with the imported Cummins ISF engine and the ZF transmission, are all carefully assembled in the Coega-based plant.

In a business environment where total cost of ownership is always top of mind, it has become imperative that the most cost-effective combination drivetrain be engineered to deliver the best levels of efficiency and durability.

The assembly line at the FAW plant in Coega, Port Elizabeth.
The assembly line at the FAW plant in Coega, Port Elizabeth.
The FAW 8.140 FL is the result of international cooperation with features such as Cummins engines and ZF transmissions.
The FAW 8.140 FL is the result of international cooperation with features such as Cummins engines and ZF transmissions.

Adding to the innovative technology found in the FAW 8.140 FL is the Euro III Cummins ISF 3,8-litre engine. This high-pressure, common rail 4-cylinder inline engine is from Cummins’ reputable engine range and is ideally suited to the medium-weight truck category. This engine, fitted with a turbocharger, is water-cooled and intercooled. Benefits of this particular engine include exceptional performance, low operating costs, low weight, low noise and low emissions.

The 6-speed synchromesh manual ZF 6 S 500 TO Ecolite transmission is a great match, taking full advantage of the Cummins powerhouse while adding easy driveability and full driver control. The ZF transmission adds to the mix a long tradition for technological innovation aimed at overcoming commercial vehicle challenges. Torque is a healthy 450 N.m between 1 200 and 2 200 r/min, while a solid output of 105 kW is available at 2 600 r/min.

The comfortable and spacious driver’s cabin.
The comfortable and spacious driver’s cabin.

These performance levels make the combination of the Cummins engine and the ZF transmission ideal for weight sensitive and space-constrained drivetrains.

Advanced thermal engineering has made the ISF engine capable of running at higher operating temperatures, reducing the size and cost of the vehicle’s cooling package. The modular architecture of the engine allows for easy access and single side servicing, reducing operating costs.

A waste-gated turbocharger provides excellent performance across the whole rev range, as well as good response through higher low-end torque.

The 4-circuit protection valve, full-air brake system provides the FAW 8.140 FL with another advantage, as these are easier to maintain than vacuum-hydraulic or air-hydraulic braking systems. The braking system includes full ABS.

The FAW 8.140 FL is an impressive truck, offering a wide range of different applications, depending on the body configuration.

  • With the FAW drop-side body this exceptional workhorse can take the punch in carrying general cargo from any metropolitan distribution hub. It promises to ‘thunder ahead of the pack’ with ample turnaround and speed times.
  • As a van-bodied vehicle the FAW 8.140 FL will provide a stable and safe conveyor of protected cargo, be it in express deliveries, or general distribution.
  • Running as a tautliner unit, the FAW has the manoeuvrability to work in tandem with any application handling palletised loads.
  • As a roll back this truck is ideal to pick up and carefully transport a passenger car to its destination.
  • When matched with a dry freight or an insulated body, the new FAW truck is a perfect fit for operators such as bakeries and other sensitive goods transportation.

Cheng Zhang explains: “One of the reasons for the impressive market share in such a short period has been the FAW 8.140 FL’s proven performance and low operating cost. As a company we rely on successful partnerships with many other world class regions and organisations. We take our partnerships very seriously – be it with customers or suppliers.

“The FAW 8.140 FL is a ‘trueblood South African’, built locally and uniquely engineered for the African environment.”

Zhang affirms: “When FAW SA launched the 8.140 FL truck range we set the bar high, literally throwing down the gauntlet in this segment. A year on and our market position proves that the FAW brand delivers on its promise.”

Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa