UD ‘awakens’ from its slumber

By: Steve Skinner


Volvo Group Australia pledges big things for its Japanese brand.

UD ‘awakens’ from its slumber
'Sleeping giant': Volvo says there are big things to come for UD.

 

Volvo Group Australia admits that after-sales service and support has left a lot to be desired with its Japanese brand UD.

However, the new President and CEO of Volvo Australia, Peter Voorhoeve, says it is now a thing of the past.

Voorhoeve was speaking at a recent Volvo media conference in Brisbane, to which the company hosted truck journalists from around Australia and New Zealand.

He says for a long time before Volvo bought UD in 2007, the Japanese company was merely building trucks and "shoving them out with a couple of parts".

"We don’t do that anymore," he says, adding that UD is now integrated into the 70-strong Volvo group dealer network in Australia with "complete" after-market solutions.

Jon McLean has been Vice President of UD in Australia for about 18 months, having been with Volvo in Australia for 34 years, across all the brands after starting with Mack as a diesel technician.

McLean talks of "awakening the sleeping giant," and pledges big things to come for UD.

He points to last year’s launch of the new 11-litre Quon and recent improvements such as 24-hour roadside assistance, extended warranty, a cost calculator, driver training and the re-instituting of a brand engineer, Sandeep Sebastian.

McLean concedes that UD does not have the wide range with the heavy duty Quon and medium duty Condor models with which to compete "head-on" with the other Japanese brands, "but what we do have is bloody excellent".

He was cagey about whether the Volvo 13-litre engine will replace the ageing Nissan Diesel 13-litre engine in the currently 470hp (345kW) version of the Quon, when the Nissan power plant is phased out at the end of this year.

In the wider UD world the brand launched the Euro 3 heavy duty Quester in Thailand late last year, and is expecting big things for the "value" model amongst Australia’s neighbours.

McLean says he has been dealing with Papua New Guinea for many years, with UD selling an average of more than 100 units a year in a 500-truck market.

He says that with the new Quester range: "If we can’t triple sales in PNG within two to three years I will give it away".

The Quester will also be heading to Fiji and the new Australian market of East Timor.

Check out the May issue of ATN for more details on what’s happening within Volvo Group Australia. Click here to secure your copy today.

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