New ute brand on the way

The ute market is going to get an unexpected entrant in the next few years. This week Mercedes Benz announced its intention to introduce a ute on the world market in the next few years. The new ute will be handled by the current van section of the global vehicle maker.



“The Mercedes-Benz pickup will contribute nicely to our global growth targets,” said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Division. “We will enter this segment with our distinctive brand identity and all of the vehicle attributes that are typical of the brand with regard to safety, comfort, powertrains, and value.”


The ute segment of the market is seeing a continuing evolution as they are no longer sold, purely, into the the working section of the market. more and more utes are seen as a leisure vehicle and used as the family car. Mercedes Benz have seen the relative success of the VW Amarok and will be getting on board the ute market ride.


“As part of our ‘Mercedes-Benz Vans goes global’ strategy, the pickup is the ideal vehicle for the international expansion of our product range with a newly developed model,” said Volker Mornhinweg, Head of Mercedes-Benz Vans.


The new Mercedes-Benz says the ute will initially be targeted at markets in Latin America, South Africa, Australia, and Europe.


“We can perfectly serve customers looking for a vehicle that offers a high level of utility and at the same time has the comfort, safety, and design of a Mercedes-Benz passenger car,” said Mornhinweg. “We will design our brand’s first pickup according to this recipe for success.”


Into the future

It’s the beginning of the year and a chance to look into the future and take a peak over the horizon at the kind of technology we can expect to find appearing in our trucks sooner than you think. The truck manufacturers are already setting up the electronics in trucks to take account of the kind of stuff which will start to be fitted in the next decade.


These new developments mark a major change in the philosophy behind safety technology. Currently, all of the safety technology is based on board, using sensors, accelerometers and radar to work out what is going on in and around the truck. In the next generation the information will come from surrounding vehicles, roadside transmitters, pedestrians’ phones and via the mobile phone network.


The possibilities are too diverse to imagine at this stage, but the next generation of trucks is likely to create a quantum leap in the kind of safety outcomes possible for the trucking industry. The new technology will overlap with, and may even supercede, the kind of developments being spruiked by Daimler in autonomous trucks like the Mercedes Benz 2025 concept shown here:


Giving birth to a van

What is going on in the heads of these advertising guys? There must have been a meeting with an ad agency pitching the idea of a van launch video referencing a porn movie, and the executives took them seriously. It is difficult to take this series of videos seriously in any way.


The premise is a kind of automotive porn version of Dirty Dancing, but it just comes out as confusing. It is also difficult to understand what point the movie makers are trying to get across about the Vito van.


There are several different versions of this video. This is the Voyeur Version:


This version is marked as the Censored one, presumably because of the pixelation:


Probably, the most ridiculous of all, the Bondage Version:

New in Hannover

Once every two years the trucking world descends on Hannover for the IAA. This is, probably, the world’s biggest truck show and subject to a lot of attention. Global launches of trucks and trailers abound and everyone has something new to sell. This year, Daimler have introduced their Future Truck 2025 concept, the self driving truck in this video. Read more

New Actros for Australia

The new shape Actros is set to be on sale here in Australia by the end of 2016 and will be available in Euro 5 as well as Euro 6 versions. The truck was released in Europe in the lead up to the introduction of Euro 6 in the EU in 2011, but the German truck manufacturer had hesitated to release it here before new emission regulations demanded it.


The Actros design is a complete departure from anything offered by Benz in the past. They have moved away from the V6 and V8 engines currently offered and gone to the Mercedes Benz version of the same basic engine block used in the Detroit DD 13 and 15. Of course, the engine mapping and performance are completely different to that offered in the Detroit version, more suited to European driving conditions.


Originally it was expected the new Actros would only be offered as a Euro 6 emissions level engine. However, Diesel News has learned this week, from the new General Manager Mercedes Benz Truck and Bus, Justin Whitford, there will be a version compliant with the current ADR 80/03 emission rules for customers who prefer it.


Benz is about to begin a substantial program of testing of the new Actros on our roads. As the new shape will be impossible to fully disguise, we can expect to see a couple of unusual test prime movers appear in a selection of fleets in the next couple of years.


Here is promotional stunt Mercedes Benz set up, arriving as a taxi to pick up passengers working for rival truck makers:

Reduced Insurance Premiums

Here are a couple of demonstrations of how well the automatic emergency braking systems work on modern trucks. They use radar to identify a potential dangerous object in front of the truck and, after warning the driver, take action to ensure the truck doesn’t hit said object. Diesel has tested these systems and found them to be surprisingly effective, once you get over the feel of the truck as a computer takes over the braking system you normally control. Read more

Benz big banger


McAleese Resources are set to purchase four Mercedes Benz Actros 4165 AK 8×8 SLT’s. The trucks will work on a new haulage contract with Norton Gold Fields in Western Australia’s Kalgoorlie Goldfields. The all wheel drive SLTs were decided upon after a successful trial at the site.




The SLT is a specialist heavy haulage prime mover which has been sold in Europe for some time but only been released in Australia in the past few years. The first example, an 8×4, went on show at the ITTES in Melbourne back in 2012 with the 8×8 version making its debut a year later at the show in Brisbane.


The kind of task the Benz SLT will be handling has long been the terrain of the North American brands. However, in recent years the improved transmission technologies on offer from the European truck manufacturers is making inroads into a segment of the market dominated by Kenworth and Mack.


The robustness of the Roadranger gearbox has been paramount in many buying decisions in the past but new driveline design is giving other brands a look in. By introducing a torque converter or similar technology into the driveline at the clutch interface it is possible for the European automated transmissions to cope with the massive forces involved as a truck hauling 200 tonnes plus takes off.


The Mercedes-Benz SLT is available as an 8×4 or 8×8, powered by a 650 hp 16 litre V8 Mercedes-Benz engine. Benz say the truck has a standard rating of 250 tonnes GCM with higher ratings possible through consultation.


At the heart of the SLT driveline is the VIAB turbo clutch, this allows the use of the full engine torque during take-off and manoeuvring. When setting off, the hydrodynamic turbo clutch fills with more or less oil depending on the accelerator position creating centrifugal force which produces a smooth and controlled take-off at high masses without clutch damage.


As the torque levels in the transmission reduce, the turbo-clutch is drained and a single dry plate clutch engages the gearbox. The turbo-clutch also operates as a wear-free integrated primary retarder for controlled braking.


Benz robot truck


“The truck of the future is a Mercedes-Benz that drives itself,” reckons Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, the member of Daimler’s Board of Management responsible for Daimler Trucks.


He was speaking at the launch of the Mercedes Benz Future Truck 2025, which is fitted with Highway Pilot. This system enables the truck to drive completely autonomously at speeds of up to 85 km/h. The new truck was on show along a section of the A14 autobahn near the city of Magdeburg, in Germany.


Few details on how the truck actually works were available, but this demonstrates the way the automotive industry is thinking. We already have the Google car, there is the Volvo SARTRE project running truck and car platooning and DAF are part of a trial of driverless trucks on public roads in the Netherlands.


All of this speculation talks about autonomous trucks as an answer to the driver shortage. However, the exponential increase in the freight task is likely to mean, even if we have a lot of robot trucks on the highway we will still need more truck drivers.



Shake-up for Daimler in Australia

Daimler Trucks here in Australia has gone through a change at the top as a part of global management restructure, throughout the group. The various brands and functions within the group will now be overseen by a series of General Managers. The Daimler Truck and Bus Australia/Pacific is now included in the remit of Daimler Trucks North America, based in Portland Oregon and controlling Freightliner and Western Star across North America. Read more

Arocs Mercedes-Benz new construction range

Mercedes-Benz Trucks are delivering a new breed of vehicles with a specialist construction work truck due for release in Europe in April 2013 on the heels of the new Actros for long-distance transport and the Antos for heavy-duty short-radius distribution released.

From 2013 all trucks and tractor units used for on and off-road applications in the construction sector will be known under the name Arocs.

The new range of dump trucks, all-wheel drive dump trucks, concrete agitators, tractor units and drop-side chassis vehicles are available as two, three and four-axle vehicles with 16 output variants from 175 kW (238 hp) to 460 kW (625 hp). From the outset, all the engines have been designed to meet the future Euro VI emissions standard and are available for order as a Euro VI version.

The BlueTec 6 engines are designed as in-line six-cylinder engines with exhaust-gas turbocharger and intercooler to provide great tractive power at little more than the engine’s idling speed. Maximum tractive power ranges from 1000 to 3000 Newton metres and will be achieved by the four engine sizes: 7.7, 10.7, 12.8 and 15.6 l; the latter variant is completely new and comes in the form of the new OM 473 engine.

The Arocs will also be setting an example with its drive system: the engine’s power will be transmitted by the Mercedes PowerShift 3 automated transmission, fitted as a standard. Drive programs are available which have been specifically developed for the vehicle’s varied range of applications.

The drive configurations offered for the Arocs range from the 4×2 two-axle version with rear-wheel drive to 8×8/4, a four-axle vehicle with all-wheel drive and two steering front axles. Four-axle versions with one front and three rear axles, a wide range of air-sprung vehicles, or a load-optimised concrete-mixer chassis with single-tyred drive tandem are examples of the wide variety of new Arocs versions now available straight off the production line.

The Arocs has seven cabs available in 14 different versions. As supplements to the compact 2.3 m cabs in L, M or S versions, the new Arocs can also be fitted with spacious 2.5 m variants with a level cab floor.

The unmistakeable design of the new Mercedes-Benz Arocs is as unusual as the complete truck. The specially designed styling of the construction truck family stands out because of its radiator grille with so-called bucket-teeth- look. It sends a clear message: the sturdy “teeth” stand for biting one’s way through and knuckling down to the job. Steel elements on the bumpers, a robust radiator guard and optically integrated construction-specific folding entry step harmonise form and function for the hard-work specialist.

New for the Arocs are the product groups Loader and Grounder. The Arocs Loader consistently makes the most of every possibility of reducing its own kerb weight. The result provides payload optimised 4×2 tractor units which are among the lightest vehicles in the construction sector in Europe as well as 8×4/4 concrete mixers with 32t maximum permissible weight. As these have a particularly low kerb weight of a maximum of 9250 kg, they are able to supply 8 m3 of ready-mixed concrete on every trip.

The Arocs Grounder is designed for operating under extremely difficult conditions. It is extremely stable and resilient and also has a great number of technical details to make sure that it is uncompromising and robust for the toughest jobs on the construction site.

The Arocs will celebrate its customer premiere at the Bauma trade fair in Munich, Germany in April 2013.