DAF is here to stay

Babcock and DAF Partnership Renewed

DAF Trucks, of the Netherlands, has renewed its distribution contract for Southern Africa with the Babcock International Group for a further five years. The signing ceremony took place in Amsterdam on September 5 and was witnessed by a group of South African transport operators and executives from Babcock’s Transport Solutions Division, who were in Europe as part of a “DAF Experience” factfinding visit.

DAF is here to stay

DAF, which originally came to South Africa in 2003 as part of the Tyco Group’s truck offering, granted its franchise to Babcock in September 2010.
At the contract signing ceremony, MD of sales operations at DAF Trucks NV, Michiel Kuijs, said he was very pleased that his company was continuing its relationship with Babcock in Southern Africa.

“Reintroducing our brand to this competitive market was not as easy as we thought it would be, but real progress is now being made,” he commented. “DAF believes in three strong pillars to ensure success: the organisation, the product and the people. "We know DAF is a good product, while Babcock is a successful, internationally renowned organisation that is gathering a strong team of trucking people together to keep the sales momentum moving. We look forward strengthening our partnership in the future.”

Wilna Steyn, CEO of Babcock’s Transport Solutions Division, acknowledged that it had taken a few years for Babcock to get to grips with the DAF brand, relying heavily on its experience as a leading supplier of Volvo construction equipment in South Africa.

“We’re now reaping success from the foundations we laid and sales are showing a marked improvement. In the first eight months of 2014 we sold 157 trucks, compared to 88 units in the same period last year, and we’re building up a strong order book.

We’ve also established a strong dealer network of 17 dealers, strategically located on long haul transport routes. “The manner in which we’ve engaged with our customers and listened to their requirements has made a significant contribution, not only in terms of the specifications of our range of trucks, but also in respect of the after-sales service we provide. We now have national 24/7 roadside assistance and excellent parts backup.

“A major priority in the near future is to establish a dedicated finance house that offers a full range of financing options, as well as service and maintenance contract programmes,” added Steyn. During their visit, the South African group enjoyed a first-hand view of the special features incorporated in DAF trucks sold into Southern Africa. These features extend from alterations to the already spacious cab to provide more oddment storage, and include space for a refrigerator. Air intakes incorporate double cyclonic air filters, developed specially to cater for the ultra-fine dust found in some areas of the region.

This dust is among the most troublesome in the world and also led to modifications to the main air filter assembly.

Although the DAF models sold in Southern Africa are powered by Euro 3 specification engines, over the years these power units have become more fuel efficient and cleaner in terms of emissions, while great store is set by durability and reliability. Here the changes include the use of steel pistons and a heavy duty cooling system with a standard fly and bug protector. As a result, DAF confidently claims that its engines last at least 1.6-million   kilometres. “We’re very proud of the relationships we’ve already built with our customers and team members in the DAF organisation in the Netherlands and are confident of continuing to build our sales volumes and market share going forward,” concluded Steyn. “Most importantly, we strive to have satisfied customers who enjoy personal service from our team members and dealers.”