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UD Trucks launch new, versatile Croner range

6 June 2017, Kyalami, South Africa.  UD Trucks Southern Africa launched its new Croner Heavy Commercial Vehicle range today.  Featuring 13 variants, this new product range offers up to 21 customisable configurations to maximise productivity and uptime.

Specifically developed for UD Trucks’ growth markets, the brand is continuing its Japanese legacy of building ‘the truck the world needs today’. The range will be assembled at the company’s plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria, and will be introduced to other markets in the region during the next year.

“Croner is a reliable and versatile truck range built with robust and quality components.   We believe that the more Croner spends on the road and less in the workshop, goes a long way in adding up to the success of a business,” said Gert Swanepoel, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa.  “By understanding customers’ specific requirements and business needs, Croner is engineered to help fleet owners stay ahead of competition through the simple concept of saving time.”

Named after Chronos, the god of time in Greek mythology, Croner was designed and engineered to help customers ultimately save time and money.

“With longer service intervals, Croner is specifically designed to save time.  This is achieved through smart aftersales support, continued driver training, and accessible parts to ensure faster turnaround times.  Croner makes every moment count on every run operators make,” continued Swanepoel.

The advantage of Croner comes from the best of three worlds – UD Trucks’ strong Japanese heritage and craftsmanship, Volvo Group’s global technology and sourcing, as well as local manufacturing and customer support. Further to that, with UD Trucks’ Ultimate Dependability standard and Gemba spirit – a Japanese concept of places where actions take place and values are created, incorporated in every aspect, each component is the result of years of development and stringent stress testing.

“Every day we do our utmost to ensure our customers can be more successful in their businesses. And it’s that passion and determination that drives our commitment to our customers’ success,” explained Jacques Michel, president of Volvo Group Trucks Asia Sales. “Most operators and fleet owners are very practical people. What really matters the most is that their fleet spend more time on the road and less time in the workshop.”

He said that Croner is one of UD Trucks’ most fuel-efficient trucks ever. “It utilises the fuel needed efficiently without waste, thanks to the new GHE engine series, automatic transmission, a built-in fuel couch, and a more aerodynamic cab,” said Michel.  “Going the Extra Mile is the brand promise of UD Trucks with a focus on fuel efficiency, uptime, reliability and drivability, while meeting today’s high standards for safety and quality.”

Croner’s development has been done with quality and reliability at the forefront, right from the start of the design, through engineering, testing and manufacturing.  Durability testing was conducted over an equivalent of three million kilometers, putting the Croner to the test in the toughest weather conditions and terrains around the world. In addition, 1.4 million kilometres of field tests in actual customer operations were carried out across six countries and three continents over a period of 18 months, including South Africa.

The result is a vehicle that boasts in robustness, reliability and durability.

According to Toshi Odawara, vice president of product management at UD Trucks, when developing Croner the company had one goal: No compromises.

“We wanted to develop and deliver a smart and modern HCV truck with ultimate dependability. Croner is built with a vision: To create a truck that will help our customers optimise the use of time, to make every moment count,” said Odawara.

Croner Range


Croner Range


MKE GVW 9.5 – 11 tonnes

Compact-sized HCV trucks specifically optimised for urban usage, with better manoeuvrability for narrow roads and city deliveries.   The GH5E engine Euro 3 engine produces 136 and 157kW depending on the configuration.

It is available with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission, and features a 2.1m day cab to allow more load and utility space.


LKE GVW 12 – 14 tonnes

This multi-purpose model has in-city and city-to-city distribution in its sights, focusing on transport efficiency, and features a 2.1m day cab.  The GH5E engine produces 157kW of power, and is also available with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission.


PKE GVM 15 – 17 tonnes

Catering for medium to heavy duty usage with a powerful engine for regional, long haul and heavier load, and features a 2.3m sleeper cab to improve driver comfort and efficiency.  The 6-cylinder GH8E engine delivers 186 or 209kW depending on the configuration.

This model is available with a choice of either a 9-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission.



The range features three gross vehicle mass (GVM) models from 9.5 to 17 tonnes: MKE, LKE and PKE.  The range of wheelbase variants can be configured to suit operators’ specific needs, with flexibility in everything from GVM and wheelbase choices to cab, driveline, axle, and suspension.

 “Croner is a highly versatile truck thanks to the design of the cab and chassis. This makes it an ideal truck for operators to easily manoeuvre through challenging routes or spaces – allowing it to go to every corner – covering more ground, and making every moment count,” said Swanepoel.

The Croner range is also easy to operate, with automatic transmission available for all models for improved ease of use, safety and less driver workload.  It quickly and automatically chooses the right gear position and the high torque engines make Croner a pleasure to drive.

The manual 6-speed and 9-speed transmissions are robust and durable, and able to cope with the toughest demands in various operating conditions.  The highly reliable automatic transmissions, optimised for on-road logistics and garbage compactors, are factory installed and available for all models.

The automatic transmission knows the best gear to engage in any situation and allows for quicker yet efficient and optimal cruising speeds. That means more trips per day and a boost to overall productivity.  It also features a direct coupling “lock up” function for enhanced fuel efficiency and performance.

The new 5-liter and 8-liter engines, powered by UD Trucks’ advanced technology, combine reliability with top class performance. Delivering high torque of up to 1 050Nm, these modern engines provide better pulling power and easier driving.

These modern and fully electronically controlled common rail engines operate with extreme precision. Computer-controlled injection, fuel quantity and atomization are finely controlled for varying situations, and for each cylinder, giving outstanding fuel consumption and low emissions.

“With maximum torque delivered from low revs and in the ‘green band’ – that is, a flat torque curve with a wider max-torque band – the GH engine operates efficiently and without excess revving. This means better pulling power with less fuel consumed and less component wear. It is about improved fuel efficiency, extended maintenance intervals and a longer engine life,” said Swanepoel.

All Croner models are equipped with a built-in fuel coach, an onboard solution clearly displayed at the centre of the instrument cluster, giving instructions in real time.   Fuel coaching improves driving behaviour by prompting driver to use optimal revs and reduce unnecessary acceleration.

The new transmission PTOs, standard with rear-mount type for the 6 and 9-speed manual transmissions, deliver even more torque than before, boosting job productivity.    PTOs are optional for the automatic transmissions.

Croner leads in terms of front and rear axle loads, with both axles built extra tough to enable high loads and extended oil change intervals.  All models are fitted with a rear axle multi-leaf spring and air suspension also available on the 16-tonne variant with mechanical height control valve and dump switch.  The improved stability and cushioning is perfect for sensitive cargo freight.

The Croner cab is designed for increased fuel efficiency.  It features a new, more aerodynamic design with a reduced coefficient drag of five percent to assist with fuel efficiency at highway speeds.  The PKE model also has an optional roof deflector.

Large opening of the cab tilts up to 48 degrees for simpler access to the engine. For daily inspections and maintenance, the checklist is centralised on the front lid.

Croner’s cabin has been designed to be the perfect ‘office’ for drivers, and features a modern, more open and ergonomic design with driver well-being and efficiency at the forefront. This means more comfort, less fatigue and higher productivity for the driver.

Entering and exiting the cabin of the Croner is simple and safe. The two-step entry and the ergonomic entry-handle provide quicker and easier access for the driver.

“As drivers spend a good amount of time on the road, we at UD Trucks leave nothing to chance, and that includes safety and drivability. With superior braking and handling features, Croner keeps customers’ drivers and their fleets in prime condition,” said Swanepoel.

Croner’s active and passive safety features protect your company’s precious resources – the people, the fleet, and the customer’s cargo – as well as the surrounding traffic.

S-cam full air brakes with automatic slack adjustment provide effective stopping power, anti-lock brake system with electronic brakeforce distribution is standard.  Croner is designed with excellent handling and stability that is further improved with a front anti-roll bar. For trucks with a high superstructure, such as mixers, this additional stability is a key safety feature.

Croner’s steel frame provides strength and safety, while the reinforced cabin has been developed under strict deflection, crash and durability targets, and is designed to meet Japanese safety requirements of a flat barrier impact at 40 km/h.

The upgraded high-tensile steel chassis frame is built for durability and safety, proven by millions of kilometers of durability testing.  Engineered to be strong yet flexible based on globally proven technology and experience, the frame ensures chassis components perform well and reduces cargo stress.

Croner has some of the highest axle capacity in its class, with increased carrying capacity delivering more uptime and productivity in heavy load use applications such as construction.

A full air braking system with reliable S-cam type drum brakes is offered on all variants. Croner’s larger brake capacity provides better stopping power and lasts longer between service intervals. Less need for maintenance and replacing parts means boosted uptime and lower lifecycles costs.


Extra Mile Support

“UD Extra Mile Support is everything fleet owners need to make the most out of every moment. From service and parts to on-road support, driver training and telematics, it’s our complete solution that customers can rely on to keep their truck running,” said Swanepoel.  “With 36 dealers in South African in 14 other markets across southern and eastern Africa, customers are assured of on-time support no matter where they operate in the region.”

UD Genuine Service means a customers’ truck is always in the hands of professionally trained and competent front-line staff who know what’s best for it.  In addition, UD Genuine Parts have been specially designed and tested to ensure maximum vehicle performance and endurance. Both combine to keep fleets on the road longer for higher productivity and less time wasted.

Importantly, UD Driver Training is a programme that will improve the capabilities of fleet drivers, which includes optimising operation, fuel-efficiency and safe driving.

“UD Trucks believes that investing in the skills and knowledge of drivers is just as important as building the truck to be better,” said Swanepoel.  “By including UD Telematics Services, you can easily monitor the progress of your driver’s training. This also helps the driver to get the most out of his or her truck.”

UD Telematics Services, which comes as standard on the Croner range, is a high-tech wireless communications system designed to help customers manage their fleets effectively, keeping them on the road while reducing operational costs.  This includes real-time location, fuel utilisation, fuel loss alert, proactive maintenance support and geofencing.


UD Trucks is a leading Japanese total transport solution provider. UD Trucks was established in Japan in 1935, and became a part of the Volvo Group in 2007. UD Trucks has established its headquarters in Japan and expanded its sales network in Japan and more than 60 countries worldwide. At UD Trucks, our mission is to provide the added value of Ultimate Dependability derived from UD to our company’s products as well as an unsurpassed level of excellence for our customers.

Tristan Wiggill
Seasoned writer, journalist, photographer, and editor.
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