27 January, 2020
UD Trucks Southern Africa enters new era
UD Trucks Southern Africa is entering a new era with the appointment of
a new managing director. Filip Van den
Heede will be replacing Gert Swanepoel, who is retiring after 32 years with the company.
"It has been
an incredible journey with UD Trucks, and it is truly the people and the
relationships with customers and dealers that have made it worthwhile," said
Swanepoel. "It has been a privilege to
be a part of the brand's growth and development throughout the years, and I am
excited about the future of UD Trucks in the region."
Van den Heede has been involved in the trucking industry
and the Volvo Group for the past 22 years
and was previously Vice President of Vehicle Sales and Marketing for UD Trucks
International Sales, which included responsibility for the
southern African market. He has extensive experience in all aspects
of the business, including aftermarket, business development, new product
introductions and sales.
His appointment was effective 1 January 2020, while Swanepoel will
fulfil a senior advisory role till the end of March this year.
"Last year was an extraordinary year for UD Trucks Southern Africa, as
we launched three new model ranges in the region," said Van den Heede. "Our customers now have access to an
extensive model line-up, from medium to extra heavy commercial vehicles, backed
company's 58 years of experience in the local
He said customers remain the company's core focus,
and the reason behind the continued investment in new products and
"We have one of the most
extensive dealer networks in the region, with 36
dealers and service agents in South Africa and 30 in other southern African
countries like Angola, Malawi, Mozambique, Mauritius, Namibia, Zambia and
Zimbabwe. As UD Trucks, we believe it comes down to
the basics of supporting our customers every step of the way. To be there with professional service, parts and sales support throughout a truck's lifecycle, and to keep on
adding value to our customers' businesses," said Van den Heede.
Southern Africa's head office and assembly plant is in Rosslyn, Pretoria, which
includes a competency development centre that provides ongoing training to
staff, fleet drivers, as well as dealer technicians, parts and sales
personnel. During 2019, a total of
1 194 people were trained in the various aspects of the business.
passionately believe in the vital importance of training and investing in the
future of our employees, dealers and surrounding communities," said Van den
Heede. "Ultimately, it is our customers
At its annual press conference, marketing director, Rory Schulz said
that the performance of the commercial vehicle market was certainly erratic during 2019,
as local economic conditions continued to be less than favourable.
"Despite all the odds, the total commercial vehicle market remained resilient and logged year-on-year growth of 2.1% at the end of 2019," said Schulz.
"However, transport operators continue to face severe cost pressures,
with fluctuating diesel prices, overall safety of drivers and trucks, as well
as instances of civil unrest, hitting many operations hard in the past year."
Schulz said that the Southern Africa truck market is quite unique as on
the one hand there are customers who want their fleets to have highly
developed technologies and systems, while
others are happy to stick to the very basics.
"The region is
somewhat of a dichotomy as you can drive by hi-tech logistical warehouses that
support large international corporations, while at the same time trying to
avoid potholes on the road. As a
manufacturer, we must take these two worlds into consideration when introducing
new products and technologies," said Schulz.
"By listening to our customers, and determining what they require in
their specific businesses, we are able to provide them with the right truck for
the job at hand."
Trucks has already developed and implemented technology to addresses vehicle
automation, electromobility and connectivity.
as connectivity through telematics, which was deemed unnecessary a few years
ago, has become a very essential part of the modern fleet owner's
operations. Not only does it provide
customers with real time tracking of their vehicles, it allows UD Trucks to
provide owners with proactive support through vehicle health monitoring and
remote customer assistance," explained Schulz.
"In the process, it makes our customers' fleets safer, more efficient
and more productive."
In December 2019 it was announced that the Volvo Group and Isuzu Motors
signed a non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with the intent to form a
strategic alliance within commercial vehicles in order to capture the
opportunities in the ongoing transformation of the industry.
In a first step, the intention is to establish a global technology
partnership and to create a stronger, combined heavy-duty truck business
for Isuzu Motors and UD Trucks in Japan and across international markets. This
will entail transferring ownership of the complete UD Trucks business globally
from the Volvo Group to Isuzu Motors in order to accelerate growth by
leveraging greater volumes and complementary capabilities.
The Memorandum of Understanding is non-binding. The next steps will be
finalising the scope of the business to be transferred, due diligence by Isuzu
Motors and negotiations of binding agreements. Signing of binding
agreements is expected by mid-2020 and closing of the transaction is expected
by the end of 2020. All potential transactions will be subject to
regulatory and other approvals.
|Outgoing UD Trucks Southern Africa MD, Gert
with newly-appointed MD, Filip Van den Heede
information: Volvo Group and
Isuzu Motors to form Strategic Alliance
Source: UD Trucks