Its been a long time coming but finally Mercedes Benz’ new Actros has arrived in Australia and is now on sale.
Daimler has spent an awful lot of time making sure the hardware is set for our market and specced right to cope with our trifecta of tough conditions – high weights, high speeds and high temperatures and it seems the German truck maker has also done a lot of work on the software side as well.
Significantly Benz has worked hard on the back up and is rolling out a 500,000km/ five year’s free scheduled servicing offering on all new Actros prime movers. The company also has been working hard on training technicians and dealer staff to ensure the infrastructure is in place to give a smooth entry for any fleets buying the new Benz flagship.
At the launch this week in Cairns the local truck trade press got to sample the truck, although most truck media had driven it in ‘previews’ during recent months. The media followed the dealers and selected customers in getting to know this most important truck for Benz down under.
The new Actros has been on sale in Europe for about five years and Benz has spent the best part of the last three years getting the equation right for this market, including 18 months of in field customer testing. Benz claims that the tests totaled more than one million kilometres utilising 35 select customers to give feedback and to help fine tune the truck for Australia.
The aim is to take the fight up to the likes of Volvo and Scania with a Euro truck that comes with all the latest technology and safety advantages as well as excellent fuel economy and most importantly back up.
Benz invited around 250 key customers and dealers as well as journalists to a week long event in FNQ and claims there is already strong interest in the new truck, in fact it sold one of the demo trucks at the event launch.
“We are excited to introduce the next generation Mercedes-Benz truck to our key Australian customers,” said Michael May, Mercedes-Benz Truck and Bus director.
“They have helped us put together a fantastic line up of trucks that will deliver new standards of efficiency, reliability and comfort,” he added.
The new Actros will be available with a choice of four engine variants, all of them in-line six-cylinders based on the company’s Detroit Diesel power plants ranging from 11-litre and 13-litre options to a 16-litre high end engine with up to 630hp, making the new Benz Actros range a wide spectrum of operations starting with metro logistics and moving through regional semi work all the way to B-double and road train capability. All new Actros comply with Euro VI emission standards
The Actros was the 2012 International Truck of the Year for its, fuel savings, low AdBlue consumption, safety features and automated transmission. Despite it being close to five years old it still shaped up well and is an advanced and modern truck that will give Volvo a run for its money.
Benz claim some serious reductions in fuel and AdBlue consumption with the company claims the latter has been reduced by as much as 40 per cent on previous Benz models.
Transmission options are limited but that is no bad thing with the Daimler’s excellent, quick and smooth, third generation Powershift Automated Manual as the only available gearbox.
Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 200,000 new gen Actros in Europe already and the company says these have travelled around 12 billion kilometers.
The Australia versions of Actros features a full suite of technology including adaptive cruise control a and proximity control assist with stop/start function that shows the very close links to future autonomous drive capability.
A smaller rigid variant as well as all-wheel drive versions will become available during 2017 according to the company.
Mercedes-Benz’ Sales Manager, Andrew Assimo says the feedback from the evaluation program showed key customers are impressed by the trucks developed for the local market.
“Our launch models focus on metro, regional, B-double and road train work,” he said. “We will introduce rigid models in the second quarter of 2017, while all-wheel drive models will follow later that year.”
Key updates include locally sourced innerspring mattresses for increased comfort, long-range fuel tanks and a 6.1-inch touch screen truck sat-nav unit and sound system.
Truck and Bus News and Transport & Trucking magazine will have more info on the new Actros in coming weeks.