Even the turbulence of last year could not break the success streak of the Dutch truck manufacturing company DAF in Hungary, which closed the year as the leader in the heavy truck market for the 12th consecutive time, with an increased share. The management of DAF Hungary Ltd. expects a significant market strengthening this year, which should provide a good basis for further growth.
Naturally, the Hungarian commercial vehicle market was also affected in 2020 by the coronavirus epidemic that hit the world in the spring. Registrations of new trucks of over 7.5 tons were down 38% on 2019, and the heavy goods vehicle category of over 16 tons saw a similar decline, with 2,951 new registrations instead of 4,759. DAF has been number one in the heavy truck category for twelve years now, with 822 new deliveries and a market share of 27.9% in 2020. This means it has increased its market share by more than four percentage points compared to 2019.
Recent innovations and changes
"We started last year with a lot of momentum and encouraging market trends," the Managing Director of DAF Hungary Ltd. and Hungarotruck Ltd. Péter Szentpáli-Gavallér points out. "Then, in March, the situation caused by the coronavirus epidemic overrode everything, with sales of both new and used vehicles slowing down. Our dealerships, however, kept operating with the necessary safety measures in place to properly serve our customers, who we kept in touch with by phone and online. Then, in the summer, the market began to recover and, with the usual low season absent, we ended these months stronger than before. Then, in the autumn and winter, our order book grew even more. As a 2020 novelty, we introduced the FAW rear tridem axle arrangement, which provides excellent maneuverability with high load capacity and favorable load distribution. And with our special ‘Unity Edition’, we paid tribute to the importance of unity in the epidemic. An important change in our sales activities was the appointment of a specialist in the field of body-on-frame vehicles. We have also added a lady to our sales team who will focus on the LF type," Péter Szentpáli-Gavallér adds.
Opening up and developing eastwards
Hungarotruck Ltd. immediately started to restructure and ramp up the truck service station in Nyíregyháza, which it took over at the end of 2019. This has gone so well that they now have fourteen mechanics instead of the original five and two shifts instead of the previous one. It has a substantial stock of used vehicles and its parts warehouse has made the supply of parts to the Eastern Hungarian region even more efficient. The new base in Nyíregyháza provides an excellent service not only to that region, but also to Romanian and Ukrainian customers thanks to strong transit traffic. To facilitate this, Hungarotruck also appointed new and used vehicle sales staff with Russian and Romanian language skills in this area. This is one of the reasons why the company's staff grew in number by 20% last year, despite the virus situation.
Plans for 2021
"In the light of the many uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus epidemic, it is difficult to set concrete plans for this year, but I can say that we expect the market to grow by around 15-20% compared to last year. In addition to new vehicle registrations, we expect to see a pick-up in sales of used vehicles and spare parts. The ‘Ultimate Edition’ special edition campaign, which was launched last year, continues in 2021. This represents a new sales concept by offering customers a combination of pre-packaged equipment and service packages, since DAF sees this as the future. In addition, our dealer network will be further expanded. Von-Truck Ltd. is expected to open a new DAF service center in Törökbálint, next to the M1 motorway just outside Budapest, strengthening our presence on the west side of Budapest,” Péter Szentpáli-Gavallér highlights.
More efficient trucks on the road
Dutch firms are known for their sustainable operation and it is very true for DAF as well. In the past years, significant progress has been made with regard to the impact of their trucks on the environment. Currently, DAF trucks are over 20% more efficient than the trucks the company made 20 years ago and emit 20% less CO2. This significant CO2 reduction has been achieved in parallel with huge NOx and PM reductions of over 95% since the introduction of emission standards.
“Global CO2 emissions and local air quality — these are social issues that concern all of us. Which means that they also concern DAF. That is why we are researching a number of new technological solutions and continuing to developing existing technologies on the road to even cleaner and more sustainable road transport. One thing is certain: Every type of transport requires its own approach,” Executive Director of DAF Product Development, Ron Borsboom points out.
He adds that when it comes to long- distance transport, electric power is not yet an option due to the limited range, the heavy weight and the charging times. For this purpose, the modern, efficient diesel engine continues to be the most appropriate choice. But if a truck has to drive long distances and also load and unload in the ‘zero emissions’ areas of cities, a combination of diesel power and an electric motor comes into play: hybrids. These vehicles offer maximum flexibility.
DAF and its parent company PACCAR are developing numerous alternatives to move from clean to sustainable, including electric, hybrid and, for the longer term, hydrogen. At the same time, the combustion engine will also become even cleaner and more sustainable in the future as new generations of renewable fuels become accessible.
New vehicles presented
DAF sets a new standard with an entirely new line up of trucks. The new XF, XG and XG+ offer the highest quality, 10% improved fuel efficiency, a full suite of passive and active safety features and the next level of luxury in truck design. The New Generation DAF begins production in October.
DAF is the first manufacturer to create a truck line up that takes advantage of the new European masses and dimensions regulations. Class-leading quality, efficiency, safety and driver comfort come together in the game-changing New Generation DAF.
The new trucks feature an industry-leading aerodynamics and safety. DAF’s XG and XG+ create a new premium market segment and offer 330 mm of extra cab length at the rear, to provide unmatched space and comfort for the driver.
With the New Generation XF, XG and XG+, a new dimension of driver comfort is introduced. Driving position, interior space, sleeping comfort, fit and finish – everything is top class.
The new generation XF, XG and XG+ state-of-the-art MX-11 and MX-13 diesel engines provide excellent fuel economy and ultra-low CO2 output. The DAF line up has been designed for the latest bio and renewable e-fuels to further decarbonize road transport and the trucks are a ready platform for future zero emissions powertrains.
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