Built for the MEA
Mercedes-Benz has launched a new generation of heavy-duty trucks, designed and built to withstand the region’s harsh operating conditions
The new Actros and Arocs range is the result of extensive market segmentation and research by Mercedes-Benz Trucks, followed by several years of thorough testing on and off roads in the Middle East and Africa.
The Actros is designed for long-distance and distribution haulage, and the Arocs is designed for construction and off-road applications. Each of them as a distinct look. The Actros has been streamlined in the wind tunnel for on-road use, and the Arocs has a robust appearance with a ‘bucket teeth’ radiator grille.
According to the company, the Actros and Arocs offer enhanced levels of reliability, efficiency and robustness to the Mercedes-Benz Truck offering. Assembled at the world’s largest truck plant in Woerth, Germany, the trucks come in specifically developed variants for the Middle East and Africa, designed and built to withstand the region’s harsh operating conditions.
The Actros is designed for long-distance and distribution haulage.
The Arocs is designed for construction and off-road applications.
The vehicles have been tested extensively all over the world, both on and off the road. In Abu Dhabi and Dubai, five tractor/semitrailer combinations with a GCW between 60t and 85t were put through their paces. In temperatures up to 50 degrees Celsius and high humidity, they clocked up a total of more than 550,000km in over four months. The total mileage of test kilometres driven in the UAE sums up to more than 6 million kilometres. In South Africa, five 54-tonne tractor units were deployed at temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, likewise combined with high humidity.
Michael Dietz, vice president and head of global marketing, Mercedes-Benz Trucks, says: “During the last five years, we put at least seven trucks in operation daily in Abu Dhabi, running them from the city to places like Liwa and Hatta and through the desert in order to test them for different engine variants and fuel qualities. Based on the data collected from the tests, our engineering department observed that a truck performing well in the MEA region will perform well anywhere in the world.”
Both Actros and Arocs trucks have single source drivetrains and engines available in Euro III, IV and V emission norms. All engines are designed as in-line 6-cylinder engines with exhaust-gas turbocharging and charge air cooling for high torque at little more than idle speed. Maximum tractive power levels of from 1000 to 3000Nm are achieved by three displacements of 10.7, 12.8 and 15.6 litres, with a power range from 240kW/326 hp up to 460 kW/625 hp.
The two models are fitted with Mercedes PowerShift 3 fully automated transmissions as standard for fast and precise gear changes. A range of drive programs enables them to be adapted to individual requirements. There are fully automated 12- and 16-speed transmissions as well as optional 16-speed manual transmissions.
New hypoid axles or planetary hub reduction axles are fitted, depending on the usage profile of the Actros or Arocs, and a choice of air or steel suspension is provided. Also, a range of front axles in various weight variants are available. A choice of two different all-wheel-drive systems means the Arocs can be adapted to suit different off-road conditions. An optional turbo retarder clutch, available exclusively for the Actros and Arocs, enables smooth, wear-free starting, even when carrying heavy loads. It also operates as a primary retarder.
Several assistance systems are available on the Actros and Arocs, such as proximity control assist, lane keeping assist, side guard assist and active brake assist 4. The optional active brake assist 4 is a radar-based emergency braking system which initiates maximum full-stop braking ahead of moving and stationary obstacles, if necessary, and can therefore save lives. It also warns the driver of any potential collision with pedestrians, triggering partial braking at the same time.
The Actros is available with up to 22 different cab variants and comes in steel or air-suspended versions. For tough operations, the Actros is available with a heavy-duty 15.6l engine and the 16-speed Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated gearbox. The Arocs is available as chassis-, mixer-, tipper- and all-wheel-drive variants, from 4x2 to 8x8 configurations with gross combination weights (GCW) of up to 250 tons.
“Compared to its predecessor, the Actros Euro III variant, we have achieved a fuel reduction of up to 4% on the new Actros range. The automated transmission provides another 5% fuel reduction compared to manual transmission. For countries that do not have stringent emission laws, we offer Euro III vehicles as standard because of limitations in fuel quality. With regard to the UAE, which is adopting the Euro IV standard, we are offering Euro V trucks in this market because the diesel quality is suitable for Euro V standards, which further reduces fuel consumption up to 7%. Ultimately, fuel efficiency depends on many other factors such as driver behaviour, topography, and load,” says Dietz.
Since the market launch of the Actros model series in 1996, Mercedes-Benz has sold more than 100,000 Actros across the Middle East and North Africa. Globally, more than 1,000,000 Mercedes-Benz Actros have been sold since 1996.
Marc Legeay, general manager, Mercedes-Benz Trucks MENA, says: “Mercedes-Benz trucks has had a strong presence in the Middle East and Africa for decades, and we continue to celebrate one milestone after another. In 2016, we celebrated the sales of 100,000 Actros trucks in the MEA region. Last year, we sold more than 35,500 commercial vehicles in this region, which represents more than 7% of our global sales. Now we’re responding to new customer requirements coming from a new generation of truck owners who demand more reliable, robust and efficient trucks with reduced total cost of ownership. The Actros and Arocs are not just a new range of trucks, but completely new transport solutions with enhanced telematics, service contracts and safety systems.”