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VOLKSWAGEN CONSTELLATION: A growing star

Produced by Brazilian manufacturer, Volkswagen Trucks and Buses, a subsidiary of MAN, and sold by MAN Truck & Bus in South Africa, the Volkswagen Constellation range of workhorses has been specially engineered to meet the demands of niche trucking applications in southern Africa.

Volkswagen’s Constellation range of trucks is gaining market share in emerging economies in Africa, following its success in Latin America.
Volkswagen’s Constellation range of trucks is gaining market share in emerging economies in Africa, following its success in Latin America.

South Africa and Brazil have numerous basic features in common, such as the climate conditions and terrain, and both are leading countries on their respective continents, which places this flagship truck in a familiar setting – with the same capacity for the achievements it has gained in Latin America.

Versatile options provide wide range of applications

“The VW constellation range is extremely versatile, coming in both truck-tractor and rigid derivatives, with both 6×2 and 4×2 axle configurations, making it the ideal choice for the medium and on-highway distribution segments,” says Dave van Graan, Head of Truck Sales, MAN Truck & Bus South Africa.

“Predominantly, our VW customers to date are using the VW Constellation for volume van, dropside, tautliner, refrigerated and car-carrier applications – just to name a few. This clearly demonstrates both the volume and weight-carrying capabilities of the range.”

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Citing both reliability and fuel economy as key attractions of the range, van Graan adds that the Constellation range has been optimised through prudent engineering of various driveline components to broaden its appeal in the road freight industry in South Africa.

The Volkswagen Constellation range includes the 19.320 4×2 truck-tractor and rigid-chassis freight carrier derivatives: the 13.180 4×2 freight carrier, the 15.180 4×2 freight carrier, the 17.250 4×2 freight carrier and the 24.250 6×2 freight carrier.

According to Livingstone Mulaudzi, Head of Product Management at MAN Truck & Bus South Africa, the VW Constellation range has great potential to service a number of niche applications in both medium and long-haul distribution applications.

“The VW Constellation 19.320 has a gross combination mass of 44 tons, which puts it ahead of most rival 4×2 truck-tractors as far as payload and drawing capacity are concerned,” he adds.

MAN is targeting the removals segment as a key new market, as well as other volume-based cargo hauliers.

“The VW Constellation 24.250 freight carrier has a longer wheelbase at 5,819m, which provides a better platform for various truck bodies and making it the ideal solo freight carrier unit. It is also specified to tow a draw-bar trailer, which makes it an attractive option for operators seeking optimum payload productivity, like long-haul pantech applications,” says Mulaudzi.

Equipped with mechanical suspension and a liftable tag axle, the Volkswagen Constellation 24.250 also sports a dual-speed differential, which delivers fast and slow gear ratios for better traction under load, explains Mulaudzi.

Recent upgrades in product specifications include an anti-lock braking system (ABS) and low-roof sleeper cabins for both the 17.250 and 24.250 freight carrier derivatives as standard equipment. All Volkswagen Constellation derivatives have a high level of in-cab appointments for driver comfort, which in turn improves productivity. The ease-of-diagnosis for engines and electronics enables rapid servicing turn-around times, Malaudzi points out.

All Volkswagen Constellation derivatives have a high level of in-cab appointments for driver comfort, which in turn improves productivity.
All VW Constellation derivatives have a high level of in-cab appointments for driver comfort, which in turn improves productivity.

Specified for regions around the world that are not equipped with the latest hi-tech workshop equipment, the Volkswagen Constellation range is finding favour in sub-equatorial African operations, primarily owing to its reliability, a robust chassis and easy-to-fix driveline, based on the Cummins ISBe turbo-intercooled power plant and Eaton FS 6306 B manual transmission.

Placing people first, the Volkswagen Constellation focuses on safety of its products

Placing people first, and also to ensure an efficient operation, the Volkswagen Constellation range focuses on the safety of its products, and the company says that these advanced technological solutions meet the demands of its clients.

The design of the Volkswagen Constellation cab includes materials and components, which, the manufacturer says, offer excellent capacity for absorption and deformation in the case of impacts, increasing the protection of its occupants. The cab structure also guarantees maximum resistance in the case of turnovers and supports pressures up to 6 tons applied to the roof, as required by international safety standards.

“The VW Constellation range is growing in stature because it is a fit-for-purpose vehicle, tailored to meet the specific needs of niche applications. As a business tool, it strikes the optimum balance between price and life cycle cost. Fuel efficiency, reliability and ease of servicing effectively keep its total cost of ownership low and predictable, making it an attractive proposition for specialised on-highway operators in southern Africa,” concludes van Graan.

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Tristan Wiggill
Special Features Editor at Business Fleet Africa
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