Proving the impossible is possible

‘YES WE CAN’ and ‘Mind over matter’ are just two of the mantras that Daimler Trucks & Buses (DT&B), a division of Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), brought to life throughout 2015 as it further cemented its place as the leading commercial vehicles mobility solutions provider in southern Africa.

This was demonstrated at the original manufacturer’s Power of Impossibilities exhibition, which took place from November 9 to 13, at the Vaal Triangle and the awe-inspiring FNB Stadium in Johannesburg.

“As DT&B, we always believe that our stakeholders – whether they are customers, government, media, dealer partners, the various charities we support or suppliers – always have to experience us making magic for them. This means continuously doing what others believe to be impossible. We achieve this only because we have the best people, the best vehicles and the best resources to do so,” says Kobus van Zyl, Executive Director: DT&B.

At the Power of Impossibilities event, DT&B clearly demonstrated how its various brands devised innovative solutions and interventions that justified the manufacturer widely being regarded as a benchmark in the commercial vehicles industry.

Mercedes-Benz Trucks continued to offer innovative solutions such as Telligent Maintenance (flexible service intervals) and Active Brake Assist II. Customers also enjoyed reduced service costs, decreased fuel consumption but experienced increased UpTime (the period during which a particular vehicle is operational).

In a further drive from DT&B to be customer-centric, the Freightliner team achieved first position in the Heavy Truck Study Customer Service Index for sales and service, as well as leading in the productivity category in terms of fuel consumption and payload. This was topped by the Freightliner Argosy winning its category in the Focus on Transport Truck Test.

The FUSO team launched the FA 9-137, the first vehicle to be imported by FUSO Trucks Southern Africa from the Daimler India Commercial Vehicle (DICV) plant in Chennai, which will see more “built in India” products in the future.
Not to be outdone, Mercedes-Benz Bus & Coach was the first manufacturer to offer buses running on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) to the local market. These engines surpass Euro V standards, with up to a 90% reduction in nitrogen oxide and 20% in carbon monoxide emissions. These environmentally-friendly vehicles also result in no particulate matter (ash) or solid residual being generated.

As testament of its customer commitment, Mercedes-Benz Bus & Coach will soon be offering dual-fuel buses as well. This innovative technology works by mixing diesel and gas together to produce eco-friendly vehicles.

Regarded as an indestructible truck, the Western Star continued being associated with impossible recovery situations and abnormal load applications. Throughout 2015, this truck showed why it is capable of 24 hour/7 days-a-week operation without showing any signs of slowing down. This was achieved in part due to its strong-back custom frame, a purpose-built drivetrain and constantly looking for ways to reduce customers’ costs per ton.

“One of the reasons DT&B remains a leader is our value chain offerings, which allow us to walk the journey with our customers, right from the point of purchase until the vehicle is decommissioned. We have ensured the comprehensive products and services we offer mean that we are value-adding partners to all of our stakeholders,” adds Van Zyl.

DT&B’s superior telematics system, FleetBoard, remained the product of choice for most of Daimler’s vehicles as more than 60% of all Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks purchased were sold fitted with FleetBoard.

Another exemplary division of MBSA is TruckStore, based in Centurion and boasting the title of being the first outlet from TruckStore outside of Europe. As a pre-owned vehicles business, TruckStore proved to be one of the most successful divisions within MBSA by building on the success already achieved. In 2014, TruckStore was the second-best performing commercial vehicle dealership within MBSA by selling more than 700 units.

In yet another effort to enhance the user’s experience, DT&B’s maintenance and service contracts arm, CharterWay, guaranteed customer UpTime and ensured a single point of contact for all after-sales requirement, all through CharterWay Mobility.

Mercedes-Benz Financial Services (MBFS) once again posed the question of “Who better to finance your commercial vehicle than the people who built it?” and proved this by offering innovative financial products. This included the unmatched operating lease which contributed to MBFS reaching the billion rand mark in sales.

“As the pace setter in safety, efficiency, financing, maintenance, and all other commercial vehicle related activities, 2015 has proven to be a mixed bag for DT&B, but as a company who have been in the lead for 125 years, we allowed what was previously thought to be impossible and consistently made it possible. We could not have had such a resounding year had it not been for all of our stakeholders,” concludes Van Zyl.