Wheels of business
Vans and trucks for entrepreneurs and SMEs
Much of the news on the auto industry has focused on the consumer category, namely, passenger cars and light trucks such as pickups and SUVs. That’s with good reason, as consumer-grade vehicles continue to be in strong demand.
Then there’s the other side of the wheel: the vans and trucks meant for serious hauling. These would be sought after by entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises to carry their passengers and cargo in pursuit of greater efficiency.
Here are some of the commercial vehicles that should be on the shortlist of businessmen needing additional capacity. Many of these vehicles will be on display at the new dedicated Truck Pavilion at this year’s Manila International Auto Show (MIAS).
Gratour for cargo
Foton has grand plans for the Philippines, as evidenced by its new assembly facility in Pampanga. For this year’s MIAS opening on March 30, the brand will be launching a new cargo vehicle called the Gratour Midi Truck.
The Gratour Midi Truck is a single-cab truck with a chassis capable of several configurations, from pickup-type bed to closed-type van.
Overall length is a relatively compact 4480 mm, on a 2650 mm-wheelbase. Gratour Midi Truck is powered by a 1.2-liter gasoline engine good for 85 ps and 112 Nm, mated to a five-speed manual transmission.
Maximum payload is 1425 kg. The price will reportedly be attractive for small and medium enterprises, starting at around P445,000.
Hyundai publicly launched its commercial vehicle lineup last year at the MIAS, and the brand is set to continue its strong growth.
Among Hyundai’s formidable lineup is the HD65 light truck, suitable for carrying up to 5.2 tons. So is the large Hyundai HD 270 dump truck, capable of hauling up to 22 tons of cargo.
There’s also the H350, a large van that can be specified for cargo or passenger use.
Mahindra is expanding its lineup with the adaptable Enforcer light truck.
The Enforcer can be configured for maximum passenger capacity as a 12-seat open-side transporter or panoramic van, a drop side pickup, a closed van, or a taller aluminum van truck.
The Enforcer checks in at a relatively compact 5185 mm long x 1815 mm wide.
The Enforcer is powered by a 2.5-liter turbodiesel with 100 hp and 240 Nm.
Tata Motors is adding more to its truck lineup after launching the Ace and SuperAce mini trucks.
Going to the bigger end of the scale, there’s the LPT 1116, capable of up to 7.4 tons payload. It’s powered by a 5.7-liter, six-cylinder turbodiesel good for 160 ps and 549 Nm, paired to a six-speed manual transmission.
The LPT 1618 can take up to 10.8 tons payload, and is powered by a Cummins 5.9-liter inline-six engine with 180 ps and 649 Nm.
Among the biggest in Tata’s truck lineup are the Prima tractor heads, the 4438.S and 6038.S, with up to 25 ton payload capacity. They’re both powered by Cummins turbodiesels, with up to 380 ps and 1550 Nm of torque.
New large van
Volkswagen is launching a new large van called the Crafter for those needing quite a bit more space than a Golf or Touareg.
The Crafter is a nine-seat van available in two variants. The Crafter 35M measures 5905 mm long x 1933 mm wide x 2415 mm tall, with a 3665-mm wheelbase. Price is P2.5 million.
The larger 35L stretches to 6940 mm long x 1993 mm wide x a roof-scraping 2705 mm, on a 4325 mm wheebase. This one goes for P3 million.
Crafter is powered by a 2.0-liter twin-turbo diesel with 163 hp and 400 Nm. It mates to a six-speed manual transmission.
Features include panoramic windows, multiple-vent aircon, power sliding door, and leatherette seats.
Safety features include ABS brakes, electronic stabilization program, and traction control.
Fuso, Mitsubishi Motors’ brand for medium to large trucks, has several interesting models, including the made-in-Japan FV tractor head, the 34-seat Rosa bus, and the FM chassis.
The Fuso FJ can carry 17.7 tons of payload on its 32-foot-long cargo frame.
Fuso engines include a six-cylinder 6.4-liter turbodiesel good for 280 ps and 1100 Nm.
Leader in large truck safety
Mercedes-Benz is at the forefront of large truck technology and safety. Among the brand’s class-leading haulers are the tractor heads Actros 3, a 6-wheeler with 310 hp and 2-ton capacity, and a 10-wheeler variant with 350 hp and 26-ton capacity.
Actros trucks feature every necessary safety feature, from anti-lock brakes to hill-hold assist. Efficiency is aided by active aerodynamics and an intelligent-shifting 16-ratio gearbox.