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Scania steers steady course into 2016

Scania Trucks South Africa has managed to navigate its course fairly well through some rough market waves of 2015. Steve Wager, Managing Director of Scania South Africa, reviews the overall 2015 market and Scania’s route through the turbulent period.

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“In the extra-heavy commercial segment where Scania participates, 2015 started quite robustly and perhaps we were all rather optimistic at predicting an annual growth of between 2 and 3% for the overall market for the year.

Scania Touring HD 6x2. Illustration: Carl Berge 2009

“Unfortunately, a second quarter drop of over 7% followed by a stagnant third and a flattish fourth quarter saw most OEMs reach the 2015 ‘safe harbour’ with smallish gains over 2014.

Steve Wager, Managing Director of Scania, South Africa
Steve Wager, Managing Director of Scania, South Africa

“At Scania, we were more fortunate than most with good growth of +4% year-on-year to over 15%. This we mainly attribute to the fact that we had all our newest and most innovative products on the market already, and our sales force were well ahead in terms of strong focus.

“We also enjoyed the added advantage of having our ‘Total Solutions’ strategy in place, where we could present customers with complete end-to-end solutions, tailor-made to their specific operational requirements and covering all elements – beginning from the perfect-fit vehicle, to financing and insurance, to comprehensive parts and service plans and back-up options, through to a final replacement plan.”

In essence, Scania South Africa has over the past few years put in place everything a fleet operator may need

In essence, Scania South Africa has over the past few years put in place everything a fleet operator may need, from the moment of choosing a vehicle to the point of replacing or disposing of that unit. In other words, Scania South Africa now offers a partnership relationship with each client over the entire lifespan of his or her Scania extra-heavy commercial vehicle or bus.

“We can assist our customer with the total cost of ownership of a vehicle, helping to get the best fuel consumption figures, driver training, optimal load planning, and the best fleet management and telemetry tools to optimise cost control, with excellent preventative and predictive risk.

“What lies ahead for us in the next few years is to consolidate and fine-tune our value-add packages and services, which we offer alongside our premium vehicles. We will continue to refine these solutions, and expand on new and innovative models for fleet management and telematics, such as enhanced diagnostic models,” remarks the Scania SA MD.

Scania in 2016

Something we are very keen to see expand in South Africa is the uptake of alternative fuel-driven vehicles. We are pleased to see a growing interest in the use of CNG, and trust that affordable hybrid-drive vehicles will also become more prevalent on our local roads.

Scania Parts Center, SPC. Central warehouse. Opglabbeek, Belgium Photo: Dan Boman 2008
Scania Parts Center, SPC. Central warehouse. Opglabbeek, Belgium
Photo: Dan Boman 2008

“Overall we see a growth of more or less 1% GDP in 2016, which means that the commercial vehicle market overall will remain fairly flat,” predicts Wager.

So at Scania we plan to promote and consolidate our areas of strength, and widen our reach into various other sectors, such as perhaps the timber segment.

“Without sharing too much of our strategy I’ll say we plan to tailor some vehicles for specific sectors where there may be some better opportunities this year,” Wager smiles wryly.

“We have no major plans regarding dealership representation or expansion, as a great deal of this has been done over the last few years and our footprint is most satisfactory and more than adequate to service our clients, locally and into Africa. An area of improvement where dealers are concerned. is to update workshops with the latest equipment and tools to provide optimal new technology servicing and maintenance.”

P 250 CB 6x2, Distibution São José dos Pinhais, Parana, Brazil Photo: Silvio Serber 2012
P 250 CB 6×2, Distibution São José dos Pinhais, Parana, Brazil. Photo: Silvio Serber 2012

Trucks and Heavy Equipment asked Steve Wager (Scania MD) to choose three things that he most desires for South Africa at this time.

  1. “My #1 wish is for a clearer economic policy on the part of the SA government. The prevailing sense of foreign direct investment uncertainty, whether you believe it to be founded or not, is not making it easier for those of us managing the SA operations to convince multinationals of the continued opportunities which we believe still abound in southern Africa.
  2. Wish #2 is for an intensified focus on road safety, and the application and enforcement of road rules and regulations.
  3. Last, my #3 wish is to see greater commitment to the reduction of CO2 and noxious fuels emissions. The introduction of Euro V trucks to South Africa would see operators reducing the greenhouse gas levels threatening our planet. And I’m glad to see that there are a few who are already taking the lead in driving sustainable transport operations,” concludes Wager.

 

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