It may be at the tail of the Australian truck market but UD has plans to substantially bolster its place in the heavy-duty pecking order with the upcoming launch of the new Quon GH range featuring for the first time a powertrain from corporate parent Volvo.
Despite a complete lack of comment to date from Volvo executives, it has been inevitable since Volvo took control of Nissan Diesel in 2007 that Swedish hardware would ultimately replace Japanese iron in UD models, especially in the heavier end of the range. The amortisation of development and production costs would simply demand it.
Consequently, after several years of development testing in Japan and real world evaluations in Australia, a new line of UD Quon models are now being readied to hit the Australian market in the first half of 2013, sporting Volvo’s 11 litre engine and I-shift transmission.
However, finer details of the new range are only now starting to emerge. It’s our understanding, for instance, the 11 litre line-up will be marketed as part of UD’s current Quon heavy-duty family with ratings of 380 and 420 hp, coupled to the 12-speed I-shift automated transmission which in UD parlance will be known as Escot V.
We’ve also had confirmation there will be no manual option due to the rapidly growing acceptance of automated shifters in trucks destined to spend much of their life running in and out of metro areas.
Given its power outputs, the new 11 litre range also appears certain to replace all current 400 ratings in the Quon 13 litre family.
While exact details of the model range were still being kept close to the corporate chest when this report was being compiled, the new line-up is sure to be stronger and more diverse than the current crop.
Rigid and prime mover configurations in each horsepower rating are assured, along with leaf spring and airbag rear suspensions, while it won’t surprise anyone if lightweight B-double applications are approved for single and tandem-drive models at the 420 hp rating.
For now, that’s as much as we’re able to report on the new trucks without stealing too much of UD’s thunder. However, by the time you read this DIESEL magazine editor Steve Brooks will be on his way on to UD headquarters in Japan for the full story and hopefully, some time behind the wheel.
It’ll be particularly interesting to ask if Volvo’s 13 litre engine will also find its way to Australia under a Quon cab.