Iveco has given the Australian transport media a brief preview drive of the truck it  hopes will rescue its fortunes in the Australian  heavy duty truck market, the new S-Way.

Iveco gave the media a chance to drive the new truck at the AARC Anglesea test facility near Geelong, sampling several different models and configurations, but the brief test drive was just that with little chance to  get a full understanding of the performance of the truck.

The new S-Way is  new territory for Iveco as it is the start of its  transition in Australia to what it describes as a “dedicated range of fully imported heavy-duty commercial vehicles”.

The company says it’s a move that it believes will benefit local buyers by providing them with Iveco’s latest models and innovations almost in lock-step timing with European releases

This truck will be key part of  Iveco Australia boss Michael May’s strategy to win back sales for the European brand which has suffered from dwindling sales in recent years, particularly in medium and  heavy duty. They are hoping the new truck will not only be called S-Way but will also sway opinion of buyers who have deserted the brand in recent times.

In Australia and NZ the Euro 6 compliant S-Way range will be available in rigid 6×2, 6×4 and 8×4 – with load share front suspension, or as a  prime mover in 4×2 and 6×4 configurations. It will also have the choice of three cab options, Active Day (AD), Active Time (AT) and the largest, Active Space (AS).  There is also the choice of three cab height options across the line-up.

Iveco revealed that the local S-Way will offer a choice of four wheelbases for prime mover variants, with 3650mm, 3200mm, 3300mm and 3500mm, while rigids will have a choice of 10 wheelbases, which are model dependent, and range between 3,500mm and 6050mm.

GVM and GCMs for the new range range from 18,200kg to 27,600kg (GVM), and from 50,000kg to 70,000kg (GCM) for prime movers and 27,600kg (GVM) and 70,000kg (GCM) for selected rigids (13l 6×4 and 8×4 models).

The company says that this spread of options and specification choices sees the S-Way positioned to cater for a broad range of applications including general freight and refrigeration work (including B-Double), tipper and dog duties and more specialised applications.

Power for the S-Way range comes from three versions of Iveco’s  Cursor  9, Cursor 11 and Cursor 13 – two states of tune are available for the Cursor 9 and 13 variants, providing buyers with five output choices. All powerplants meet Euro6 (Step E) emission requirements which places more severe limits on engine cold start performance. Euro 6 Step E is rumoured to  potentially be  the last round of emission protocols for ICE engines with some predicting that Euro 7 may be canned so that manufacturers can concentrate  R& D on zero emission power plants.

Iveco says that all of the latest Cursor  engines are also compatible with second generation biofuels HVO/XTL.  The engine range begins with the 8.7l Cursor 9 which produces 360hp from 1,530 to 2,200rpm and 1,650Nm from 1,200 to 1,530rpm. In the 11.1l Cursor 11, power jumps to 460hp from 1,500 to 1,900rpm and 2150Nm of torque from 925 to 1,500rpm.

The largest of the engine family continues to be the 12.9l Cursor 13 which starts with output of 530hp at between 1,600 to 1,900rpm and torque of 2,400Nm from 950 to 1,500rpm. A second Cursor 13 rating sees it produce 550hp from 1,605 to 1,900rpm with torque of 2,500Nm from 1,000 to 1605rpm.

One can only imagine the lack of a larger capacity engine will  continue to put Iveco at a disadvantage against its Euro opponents.

Iveco boss Michael May however believes the S-Way is the hard reset Iveco needs in Australia after  the shut down of Dandenong and  the disruptions of Covid.

“We are very excited about the S-Way, it has been a very challenging time for us but the team has done a really good job, I think sundowning the factory has given us a really exciting opportunity to align with our global product offerings,” said Michael May.

“We’ve built a good strong core of engineers and we are going to continue to grow our customization and innovation centre to allow us to locally adapt Iveco global product,” he added.

“He acknowledged the fact that Iveco has a job on its hands to win back market share and its customer base but  says he believes the S- Way will motivate buyers.

Iveco says that although its latest heavy-duty truck offering is no longer assembled here, it claims Iveco ANZ has still played a “significant role in shaping the final specification of the vehicles that have begun arriving in the southern hemisphere along with prelaunch testing and validation programs”.

Iveco believes that the S-Way program showcases the high levels of cooperation within its  design, engineering, manufacturing and validation centres.

The company says that the truck was designed in Germany and in Italy, but it says that there was also input from Australia and NZ,  however with the relatively small volume  Iveco has been selling in the heavy duty market  here over the last few years, one wonders exactly how much influence such a small market might have on  European design and engineering.

For all of that Iveco says the local S-Way feature unique content and specification choices, not offered in other markets. As an example,  it says that on the AS B-Double model, variances include a revised battery box and air tank positioning, the addition of a heavy duty crossmember to provide extra rigidity on demanding Australian roads, along with an additional fuel tank.

The company says that this model also features market specific air and electrical trailer connections, a trailer brake hand control and flat glass for its side mirrors.

It also says that a load sharing front suspension on 8×4 models delivers an extra 1000kg of capacity for the steer axles and again is unique to antipodean markets. Selected models also feature revised air cleaners and  the company also says that all S-Ways benefit from optimised cooling packages  designed to handle hot Australian summers.

Iveco says that  S-Way underwent extensive validation programs in Europe as well as in Australia. In local testing,  particularly three units  which were tested in a variety of specifications operated at full operating loads  which it says amassed thousands of kilometres on routes from Melbourne to Brisbane return with considerable time also spent travelling through outback New South Wales.

The AS B Double model which we drove at Anglesea was one of the pre-production models used as a test truck for local validation and had logged more than 100,000 kms on its odometer.

Iveco also claimed that the S-Way drivetrains were testing using an additional four X-Way-bodied trucks which were driven over heavily undulating terrain in Tasmania and on the South Island of New Zealand.

Some of the S-Way’s key components including the ZF developed Traxon or Hi-Tronix transmission as Iveco refers to it as  along with earlier versions of the Cursor engine range, were also fitted to selected Iveco X-Way models.

With its aged local production facility in Dandenong now closed and  the land sold, the new Iveco S-Ways are being assembled at the company’s manufacturing facility in Madrid in Spain, while its engines are being produced at the its Bourbon-Lancy plant in France. Iveco says that both sites are among the most modern facilities within the global commercial vehicle industry.

The S-Way range will be formally launched at the upcoming Brisbane Truck Show, with Iveco currently showing the new trucks to its dealer network ahead of the launch in Brisbane.

T&B News hopes to have a longer road test of the new S-Way towards the end of April.