Ford Trucks' GCC launch
Ford's new Cargo 1846T provides a smooth ride
Ford’s new Cargo 1846T provides a smooth ride, while its engine puts out an impressive 316kW, and buyers may consider it a serious contender when it launches here later this year
With water being hosed onto the race track in southern Turkey, the scene was set for the new Ford Cargo 1846T to show off its handling skills.
With electronic stability control (ESP) and ABS, as well as a 500kW hydraulic intarder (optional), drivers have an array of controls and comfort, welcome in a truck with a 316 kW Euro 3 engine (338 kW in the Euro 5 configuration).
Ford may not be known in this region for its trucks in recent years, outside of the F150 and Ranger pick ups and its vans, but Ford Otosan, a joint venture between Ford Motor Company and Koç Holding, has been building trucks in Turkey for over 50 years, mainly for its domestic market.
However it is now targeting export markets, in Russia and in Europe, where it is seen by some as an addition – or challenger – to the so-called ‘seven sisters’, namely the largest and most established European truck manufacturers (Daimler, MAN, Volvo, Iveco, Renault, Scania and DAF).
There is a longer term plan for Ford, and the new Cargo 1846T is the second phase of its globalisation strategy. Cabins of the 1846T will be manufactured in Turkey, and used in Ford factories in South America.
At the launch event, Ford Otosan general manager, Haydar Yenigün, said that the company is the development and design center for Ford’s heavy commercial vehicle products. “With Ford Cargo, we have created a global brand in truck markets which is developed by Turkish engineering.”
“We have produced more than 180 thousand trucks based on our 53 years of experience in truck production which started in 1960. 400 out of 1,240 engineers employed in our global engineering center work solely for Ford Cargo,” he said.
“We have invested $75 million for our new tractor. We have tested Ford Cargo 1846T, which we have developed by three years of work, in eight countries and 12 locations with different road and climate conditions in three continents.”
The company’s target is to sell 6500 vehicles annually in domestic and external markets by 2020, and the Middle East is the latest target export market for the company.
Photos shown at the launch event showed the truck being tested in the desert in Saudi Arabia, where it will partner with local Ford dealer Al Jazirah. In the UAE it will partner with Al Tayer Motors.
Ercan Emrah Duman, truck operations manager for Ford Otosan, told PMV that due to the climatic conditions in the GCC including heat and dust, they have developed a special vehicle with a hot pack on it.
The hot pack includes improvements in the AC, cabin insulation, engine cooling system. “Now that we have done our ‘homework’, we are now ready to be in the market,” he said.
Nevertheless, the path into export markets hasn’t always been smooth. During the launch event, a Russian truck journalist asked a few tough questions about Ford Otosan’s performance in Russia.
According to the journo, previously Ford had had issues with spare parts availability, as well as suitability for extreme cold.
He also complained that the company had not been able to supply enough volume to satisfy the large Russian market.
On stage, Yenigün conceded that there had been some initial issues in terms of the cold climate in Russia, but that these had been overcome by engineering in the subsequent models.
Duman is assured that through its testing, their truck modifications have proven capable of coping with the Middle East conditions.
And it’s worth noting that specifying machines with a hot pack, for extremely high temperatures, is generally considered a lot easier than preparing a machine for cold weather.
Fuel quality of the diesel in the GCC is similar to Turkey, and the precautions are a filter on the chassis to separate water and some of the sulphur, while on the engine there are two strong filters. “We believe that it won’t be a problem,” he says.
The only technical difference between the Euro 3 and Euro 5 compliant engines is the exhaust after-treatment and the software, with the Euro 5 engine putting out 338 kW, while the tractor for the GCC puts out 316kW.
Looking at the new 1846T Cargo, it’s easy to see where Duman gets his
While there are some of the obvious boxes ticked (big engine, tough 500 Mpa chassis), there is also plenty of attention to detailing, including the ladder covers, which improve the aerodynamics of the tractor, lowering fuel consumption.
The extra high roof cabin is spacious, with bed space for drivers, and air conditioning with pollen control is standard, as is hill-holder assist.
Equipped with a standard 650 litre fuel tank, buyers can add on an auxilliary tank with extra capacity of 435l.
Buyers can also specific the truck with a number of lower-weight options, including aluminium alloy rims (at a higher cost of course). Standard transmission is a ZF 16+2 speed manual, while an automated ZF 12+2 transmission is optional.
Out on the track, the truck handles smoothly, and the presence of the 4-bellow air cabin suspension is felt on the sharp corners.
As always, the intarder is a welcome aid to braking, and the 1846T’s brake management system is activated by a button on the dash.
Whether the 1846T will make a big impact in the GCC remains to be seen, but in Saudi Arabia and the UAE it will benefit from strong and established dealers.
One point to note says Duman is that the GCC will be its second most important export market after Russia, and he believes models designed specifically for the GCC markets will give them an advantage.
When compared with other brands, where the GCC will be only a fraction of their exports, this will be a much larger portion of Ford Otosan’s export production, and therefore a priority market, no doubt good news for buyers.
Launching H2 2013
Ford will launch its truck range in the GCC in the second half of this year. In Saudi Arabia and the UAE, the trucks will be sold through the existing Ford dealers, namely Al Jazirah Vehicles Agencies in KSA, and Al Tayer Motors in the UAE.
Similar agreements with Ford dealers in the remainder of the GCC markets are also possible, as well as Yemen.
Models to be launched are the tractor, followed by the 6x4 and the 8x4 construction trucks, a mixer version, and rigid trucks, 4x2 and 6x2, as well as municipality applications. 75% of their portfolio will be offered here says Duman.
There will also be support staff at the Dubai offices of Ford, and eventually a permanent presence in Saudi in addition to the dealer’s service resources, meaning that the truck line will be well-supported.
Unsurprisingly, there was no disclosure of price at the launch event, with Yenigün saying that price is transactional and dependent on volume.
Engine: FPT 10.3 litre
Net power: 316kW @2100rpm
Kerb weight: 7,660kg
Brakes: 434 mm Disc Brake
Chassis: 10mm, 500Mpa steel frame