The tipper and dog market has traditionally been dominated by US trucks, but the Europeans are now queueing up to take on the North American iron in this highly competitive sector and when Diesel News drives one of the contenders, it is getting the dirt on the Scania G500 XT.
It wasn’t that long ago that looking down the line-up of trucks queuing to get into a construction project to load or unload materials, there would be a who’s who of older US trucks in there. The vast majority would be conventionals and the cabovers sprinkled in the crowd would be Accos or repurposed prime movers well past their best.
Rates were low in a cut-rate market and margins were small. The small scale operations were often owner drivers running a few trucks, who serviced the trucks themselves out the back of the block on a weekend.
The times they are a-changing, to quote the Bob Dylan classic, in fact they have changed radically in the last twenty years. Construction booms and ongoing infrastructure renewal have seen major growth in the tipper and dog freight task. Many of those smaller operators are now major concerns handling massive contracts.
Another development which has ushered in change is the adoption of Performance Based Standards designs in the tipper and dog market. By using smart design it became possible to not only get cabover European trucks into the sector but also use PBS to dramatically increase productivity with long six or more axle dog trailers possible on some routes.
These changes have created opportunities for the European truck manufacturers to get in on this market. Volvo already had a presence in the sector with many of the adapted prime movers being F12 models.
Another factor bringing change is that the European market has also transformed in the last twenty years as well. Each of the main players in Europe now offer a specialist construction range. Highway trucks have got lighter and smoother, but construction hauliers were still looking for the robustness and rigidity of old.
As a result we have the Scania XT range and similar sub-ranges across its European competitors. They all feature higher clearance in front of the steer axle and beefed up suspensions, plus other extras which the construction industry prefer.
In recent years the European manufacturers have eaten into the US trucks’ market share in prime mover sales and now have the same opportunity in their sights in the tipper and dog market. Hence, at Brisbane Truck Show this year both Scania and MAN had a 6×4 tipper prominently on display.
It is now possible to get a cabover which ticks all of the boxes. It is fit for purpose in terms of handling the work and also comes with all of the safety systems which help in PBS assessments. At the same time the larger, more mature tipper fleets are looking to realign the sector’s image and distance themselves from a more cowboy past. There are also developments in city authorities like Melbourne, where they are looking to raise the bar on safety specification for trucks tendering for the next round of major infrastructure projects.
This is where the Scania G500 XT comes in, as a state-of-the-art truck with all of the bells and whistles, but also a truck built to live the rugged life in quarries, construction sites and on infrastructure sites. It is a mix of two, formerly, diametrically opposed ideas, cutting edge technology and electronics, and a tool which can take the hammer meted out in the real world of vocational trucks.