With rising market share and now a completely new range of trucks, Scania is becoming a contender in the Australian truck market. Diesel News drove the next-generation Scania for the first time on Australian soil.
In the truck market, as it is in life, timing is everything. With the release of the new Scania range, called the ‘New Truck Generation’ (NTG) by the marketing people at the Swedish truck maker, these new trucks have hit the Australian market on the crest of a wave, with new product to carry the brand through for many years to come.
The new Scania models are now in Australia, and Diesel tried out a couple of the new models on a drive, pulling B-doubles from Sydney to Melbourne. This is a route over which many of the new models will ply their trade, and it has the right combination of undulation and flat running to get a feel for how the new trucks perform.
The trucks tested were: a G Series with a 500hp 13-litre power plant pulling a B-double at around 55 tonnes gross combination mass (GCM), and an R620 with the V8 16-litre on board, this time loaded up to 61.5 tonnes. Both engines are Euro-5 compliant.
Scania has traditionally been a small player in Australia, in a market dominated by US brands. Market share of three to four per cent was considered decent by the parent company, par for the course and a level at which the organisation here could remain profitable.
The change began when Roger McCarthy relocated from the UK to Australia as Managing Director back in 2009. He had led several successes there, overseeing the period when Scania realigned its position from a small fleet and owner-driver truck business to one in which the big players were willing to invest.
The truck sales in Australia took a similar course here during his time. Scania trucks started to appear in the big fleets and market share grew substantially, hitting the heady heights of 8.3 per cent market share in 2017, selling 1,003 trucks.
Of course this isn’t a Scania-only phenomena. There is a general shift away from US to European across the board in heavy duty. In 2017, over 15 per cent of heavy-duty sales were for Volvo trucks, 6.7 per cent for Mercedes-Benz, and the other European brands picked up 12 per cent. This equates to over 40 per cent market share.
So the Europeans are on the up, Scania is on the up and now has a state-of-the-art, all-new truck range to enter the market. These NTG trucks have been racking up very impressive fuel-consumption results in Europe, where they have been available for over a year.
In the March/April issue of Diesel, our European Correspondent Brian Weatherley told us, “When the Swedes unveiled the R- and S-Series, they claimed the new trucks deliver ‘five per cent lower fuel consumption’ on average. Judging by reports from this part of the world, it’s closer to 6.7 per cent on a typical R450 prime mover.”
We have yet to see long-term results on Australian roads, but on the evidence of the road testing Diesel carried out for this article, and from some anecdotal information, a similar story could play out here.
This develops an interesting scenario in Australia. Volvo has always been the dominant European here and still assembles trucks in this country. Mercedes-Benz has come on in leaps and bounds, with its new range showing impressive fuel numbers. And now Scania brings in a much newer model range, with all the latest technology and serious fuel-saving potential. Fierce competition could result, and a number of the also-rans in heavy duty could feel a squeeze.
Let’s be clear, this is not just an update, or a new cabin, or a new driveline. This is a clean-sheet design from the ground up. New cabins sit on revised chassis and the engine range is new. On top of this, the range has the latest and greatest safety systems and electronic architecture. Altogether, the Swedes threw $3.1 billion at the project and have come up with something they regard as a winner.