Truck distributor has big plans for 2023
ACCORDING to managing director of Babcock’s Transport Solutions business, Marius Barnard, 2023 is set to be an outstanding year for the DAF brand in South Africa. Babcock is the sole importer and distributor of DAF trucks and parts in South Africa.
He points out that the local success comes off the back of an outstanding year for the brand globally. “DAF increased its European market share in the 16+ tonne segment to a record 17.3% (2021: 15.9%) and achieved market leadership in the United Kingdom (31.1%), the Netherlands (32.5%), Belgium (23.6%), Poland (22.4%), Hungary (24.4%) and Bulgaria (26.4%). DAF continued its market leadership in the European heavy-duty tractor segment and is the leading imported brand in Germany,” reveals Barnard.
He attributes the success to three factors. “Firstly, massive impetus was created by the fact that DAF won the International Truck of the Year award two years in a row. Secondly, there is the build quality and reputation of the brand. Thirdly, there is an increase in demand for DAF trucks in Europe as they are the preferred choice for drivers due to the vehicles’ comfort and driveability,” Barnard notes.
DAF’s engineers also played a role, he believes. “DAF’s engineers took advantage of the new dimension allowance in Europe and improved aerodynamics with an additional 10% fuel saving. Thus, the trucks are highly fuel efficient and offer attractive total cost of ownership – traits that are welcomed by our South African customers.”
Naturally, Barnard would like to replicate that sales success in South Africa. “In 2021, we achieved record-breaking unit sales of new trucks. This success demonstrates our commitment to meeting the high demand for our products. In 2022, despite the challenging market conditions, we have been able to meet the needs of our customers thanks to our strong partnership with DAF, which allows us to sell every single truck we receive. Our dedicated team at Babcock looks forward to continuing to provide our customers with exceptional products and service in the years to come,” says Barnard.
Barnard is focused on achieving impressive sales numbers in the next few years. “While the range may be limited to two models, this allows us to concentrate our efforts on providing the best possible products and service to our customers,” he says.
Some of those sales will be driven by new model launches and, for now, those will be trucks with internal combustion engines. “We are excited to announce that new model launches will be driving some of our sales in the coming years. While these models will initially feature internal combustion engines, we are committed to exploring more environmentally friendly options in the future.
“We are looking forward to the XG being available in 6×4 guise, which is set to arrive by 2025. Our strategy is to offer both Euro 3 and Euro 6 options to give our customers more choice. While the market for electric trucks may still be limited in South Africa due to the lack of government rebates, we remain open to new technology such as hydrogen fuel cells as a promising alternative. We are dedicated to staying ahead of the curve in the industry and providing our customers with the latest and most innovative products,” he says.
Babcock’s plans for a CKD plant are progressing well. “We are one step closer to making this a reality. Our team has done thorough costings and preparations, and we are confident in the viability of this initiative. We look forward to sharing more updates on this development in April when we will announce the timeline for building the CKD plant,” says Barnard.
Other points of focus are aftersales, parts availability and expansion of the dealer network. “We want to have extremely happy customers who have profitable businesses – and these three aspects are central to delivering on this.”
In the last two years, Babcock has opened its own standalone dealer facility in Kraaifontein in Cape Town. “We are also very close to getting a new head office and dealership on the N12 in Johannesburg with highway frontage,” says Barnard.