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The Future of Truck Ownership

New ways of looking at the future of truck ownership see the relationship between truck maker and truck user changing dramatically. New ideas are being investigated in Europe, Diesel News talks to Scania’s global sales and marketing boss to get his thoughts on the process.

Sitting in the well-appointed headquarters building at the centre of the Scania Trucks operation in Södertälje in Sweden feels a million miles away from the reality of owning and running trucks in the real world. However, it is one of the tasks of Christian Levin, Scania’s Global Executive Vice President Sales and Marketing, to get some real-world feedback and come up with new offerings to the truck owner of the future.

Christian looks over the horizon and into the future and can see more services being offered along with the hardware of the truck, with manufacturers supplying much more of the value alongside the truck. He cites the driver coming as part of the package, and also fuel. He adds that there could also be system support to the operation, bolstering current offerings like navigation with business management systems and tracking.

“It’s tricky for us,” says Christian. “Before, we said no driver, no fuel. Now, we are trying a few ventures. In India we are running a city bus fleet in Nagpur, and the idea there is we are supposed to learn whether we can run a fleet better than the normal operators. The city came to us directly and asked to us to run it for them.

“It’s also tricky, because we are telling our customer we can run something better than they can. It’s quite rude, but an ambitious statement. Perhaps it’s not true, we have some customers who are probably the best in the world. We are going to find out what we can contribute. Perhaps it will only be a small part of our business.

“We know we are good at training drivers, we can prove that with all of our connected trucks. Does that mean we are good in handling drivers and their contracts? Not today, but let’s see. Will we, as truck manufacturers, move into that space? Or should we move into autonomous vehicles? Develop vehicles which will only need a supervisor.”

Scania sees itself as the company that thinks ahead for its customers and is working to develop the product to meet the requirements of the future trucking industry. One of the possible outcomes which the Swedish truck maker thinks could well eventuate, is a situation where the transport business could be looking at a single invoice each month for a vehicle to handle a task. Everything would be included in the price, the truck, the driver, the fuel, the insurance, the maintenance, the whole kit and caboodle.

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