Scania Australia boss Mikael Jansson  has revealed the launch date  for the Swedish truck maker’s new generation truck, telling the Australian truck media. that the new Scania will be launched here on 14th March 2018.

Speaking at an end of year briefing and lunch for local truck press, Janson said the launch of the new truck will come on the back of the company’s best ever year in terms of sales performance, recording a 40 per cent increase in sales across  compared with 2016, 15 per cent ahead of the strong upward market trend which has seen truck sales surge 25 per cent in 2017.

While the new truck will be launched in March it will be followed by a national road show ahead of the truck going sale for deliveries in the second half of next year.

“Our initial focus will be on long haul but it will be a rather quick ramp up  with model roll out moving rapidly in Europe,” said Jansson.

“The heavy duty range was the initial roll out in 2016, the construction models were launched earlier this year and just last week the new urban trucks were launched giving us a completely new range across all sectors,” he said.

Scania has also enjoyed  its best year globally as well with sales performance up 15 per cent for the first nine months of 2017 and its order intake up 25  per cent while revenue for the first three quarters of  the year hit 9 billion Euros.

Jansson who arrived in Australia in August to take over from  the retiring Roger McCarthy has clearly inherited a strong balance sheet and order book but is not resting on the company’s strong performance and is moving to bolster the overall value proposition for Scania.

“My observation is that this is a very tough market, I am used to the European market where European makers dominate. But here  there are so many competitors, from Europe, the US and Japan, customers are very demanding and there are so many different needs to adapt to, huge distances, a massive country to cover and to provide a support network for,” he said.

“My focus has been getting to know the market and understand how it all works, meeting customers and visiting dealerships and I have to say feedback has been very positive,” he added.

Jansson has travelled widely in the four months since he arrived, visiting most mainland states including WA as well as heading across Bass Strait to the Apple Isle where he  says  the weather was better than  he had been warned about.

Jansson believes one of the biggest challenges facing not only Scania  but other truck makers in Australia is a dire shortage of technicians/mechanics to provide the service for the growing truck fleet in a strong economy.

“We are putting some strategies in place including increasing our intake of apprentices, but that will take some time to fulfil and it is a big problem for Australia I believe, ” he said.

Jansson believes that something should be done about Australia’s ageing truck car park believing that some incentives should be offered to get older trucks off  the roads.

“One of the surprises for me is that sustainability is not as important her as it is in Europe while  I was also surprised that safety is seen as  very important here  and I think it is at a higher priority  than it is even in Europe,” Jansson added.

“Old trucks are not as safe and are also not as clean so there are a lot of good reasons why we should be looking at incentives to get the older trucks off. the roads, ” he added.

Scania has sold  870 trucks in Australia to the end off November this year and will claim around 7 per cent of the market and gaining.

“It is a nice time to be here  but the reasons  we have performed  this well are our value proposition, high quality trucks, excellent fuel economy, driver friendly trucks and a strong organisation,” said Jansson.

“Our aim is to continue to grow volume and grow our value proposition but you need more than value to grow your sales opportunity, you need feet on the streets and to have a dedicated sales focus and we now have our new sales director, Martin Toomey onboard and he is driving that,” he added.

Jansson said. Scania would also have a number year in bus sales and will deliver around 250 retail bus sales to private operators this year. well up on 2016 while government sales were a bit down.The company’s truck rental and used truck sales have also performed strongly in 2017.

As well as the new generation truck on the near horizon Jansson says there are some exciting developments in the pipeline.

“Renewable fuels, truck platooning, autonomous trucks, electric and hybrid buses, it is a very interesting time and exciting to be in the transport business,” Jansson concluded.