DAF TRUCKS EXTENDS ITS UK PRODUCT RANGE

DAF Trucks is expanding its range of products in the UK to include new models and axle configurations. The new range includes:

  • 8×4 ‘tridem’ configuration for CF and XF
  • XF with 8×2 ‘FAX’ set-up
  • XF in popular 8×4 ‘FAD’ configuration
  • 10 tonne front axle
  • 7.5 tonne non-steered trailing axle

These new developments underline DAF Trucks’ commitment to expanding its presence in UK industry sectors such as construction and waste handling.

CF and XF 8×4 with double-drive tandem and steered trailing axle

The new CF and XF configuration adds to an already extensive range of trucks available. The FAW, a four axle CF or XF rigid with a tridem consists of the SR1360T tandem with a single reduction or the HR1670T tandem with a hub reduction and a steered rearmost axle. These will be available ex-factory later this year.

The 8×4 ‘FAW’ chassis has a GVW of 32 tonnes and can be manoeuvred with great precision due to the steered trailing axle and the turning circle of about 15.6 metres makes it ideally suited to transporting loads to sites where there is relatively little space. The new chassis is ideal for operation as a concrete mixer, tipper, for bodywork with a rear mounted crane or a combination of a loading crane with a hook lift system.

 The ‘FAW’ joins its stable mate tridem rigid, the single-drive DAF CF ‘FAQ’ in meeting the demands for highly manoeuvrable four axled rigid vehicles that give access in some of the tightest locations previously only accessible to six wheelers. The FAQ’s single drive axle and three steered axles minimise tyre scrub and yard damage whereas the new FAW’s double driven tandem bogie gives it an improved traction for off-road use.

XF ‘FAX’ 8×2 rigid with two steered front axles and steered trailing axle

The popular CF configuration of an 8×2 rigid with 2 steered front axles (8 or 9 tonnes) and a steered trailing rear axle (7.5 tonnes) is now also available as the new ‘FAX’ XF.

The new XF offers a 32 tonne GVW and a 44 tonne GTW drawbar and its steered trailing ensures maximum manoeuvrability. This vehicle is ideal for delivering building materials and for when there is a need to have a crane mounted behind the cab.

XF ‘FAD’ 8×4 rigid with two steered front axles and double drive

The traditional 8×4 set-up with two steered front axles and double drive rear bogie is now available as an XF in the UK for operators who want maximum cab space and storage. Typical applications include use as recovery vehicles for use with heavy lift and long reach cranes.

XF cab appeals in rigid configurations

Operator demand for the larger cab for certain applications is the reason the new ‘FAX’, ‘FAD’, and ‘FAW’ ranges have been introduced. Whilst the CF is the ideal choice for some, increasing numbers of operators require the additional space, storage and comfort that comes with an XF cab, especially when there is a lot of kit that needs to be stored in the cab or operations are double manned. The excellent sleeping and living space makes the XF the ideal workplace for drivers too.

10 tonne front axle

In the second half of this year a 10 tonne front axle in the CF and XF ranges will be added to the existing options of 7.5, 8 and 9 tonne front axles. This addition is good news for the construction sector where high front-axle loads are commonplace, normally when a heavy crane is mounted directly behind the cab. The parabolic suspension with three leaf springs in the new 10 tonne front axle will reduce the risk of overloading with diminishing loads and will be available for configurations of the CF and XF which feature single front axle and are powered by the PACCAR MX-11 or MX-13 engines.

7.5 tonne trailing non-steered axle with single wheels

The new 7.5 tonne trailing non-steered axle with single wheels features a newly-designed die cast axle housing. Whilst it has greater rigidity and is more robust than its predecessor, its weight has been reduced by 10kg. The static load capacity has been increased by a substantial 25% to 26 tonne which is of great importance if a load rests briefly on the rearmost axles during loading and unloading. A typical example of this is roll-on-off containers.

Again, the construction sector is set to benefit with this new model as it is ideal for use on payload sensitive work and for container delivery systems where vehicles are equipped with rear mounted cranes. The new trailing axle is also used on the FTR tractor unit variants of the CF and XF which makes it ideally suited to low loader work above 44 tonnes.

Summary of vehicle configurations

CF and XF 8×4 FAW tridem rigid with double-drive and steered trailing axle

  • Maximum traction for on/off road operation
  • GVW of 32 tonnes, GTW of 44 tonnes
  • Excellent manoeuvrability

XF FAX 8×2 rigid with two steered front axles and steered trailing axle

  • GVW of 32 tonnes, GTW of 44 tonnes

XF FAD 8×4 rigid with two steered front axles and a double-drive tandem

  • GVW of 32 tonnes, GTW of 44 tonnes

Summary of axle range expansion

New 10 tonne front axle

  • Avoids overloading with diminishing loads
  • For use with heavy cranes directly behind the cab

New 7.5 tonne non-steered trailing axle

  • Die cast, ultra-rigid axle housing
  • Lower weight, higher payload. Static load capacity of 26 tonnes.

If you would like further information about these new vehicles, or any truck in the award-winning DAF range, please get in touch with the Watts Truck & Van Sales Team:

  • Swansea – Gareth Rees 07967 589105
  • Newport – Kris Seddon 07810 157060
  • Cardiff – Ben Adams 07966 007362

MY LIFE IN THE TRUCK INDUSTRY – Simon Griffin

Simon Griffin was recruited as the Dealer Principal at Watts Truck & Van Limited at the end of 2012, but has been involved in the industry for most of his life. He recently spoke to Commercial Motor magazine about his life in the industry.

Simon started out in the family firm of Griffin Mill Garages in Pontypridd which became the UK’s third Volvo truck dealer in 1968 and was eventually incorporated into the Volvo Wales & West region.

Despite qualifying as a French teacher at Oxford University, truck sales was in the blood and Simon returned to the truck industry, working for Griffin Mill then Volvo Wales & West until 2005, before spending eight years at Isuzu Truck UK becoming General Manager, responsible for retail sales and new dealer recruitment.

When asked about his memories of the first item he ever sold, surprisingly the answer was not a truck! “The first item I ever sold, well there were two actually: Welsh cakes and second hand books at the church jumble sale.” His first truck sale came 10 years later when working at the family run business in the school holidays. “I sold a Scania 111 to a timber haulier in mid-Wales that had been taken in as a part exchange,” he said.

Watts Truck & Van is also a family-owned business and started life as an ironmongery in the Forest of Dean in the 1880s. It can trace a line of selling what are now DAF products directly back to taking on the Albion franchise in 1922. The company has gone from strength to strength, this year winning the UK DAF Dealer of the Year Award. In addition, the MOT First Time Pass rate scores across all 3 depots in Swansea, Newport and Cardiff are outstanding, and for the 3rd year running all three depots have achieved the highest DAF Category A standard.

Investment in staff and premises as well as maintaining excellent customer relationships are big factors in the success of Simon’s team at Watts Truck & Van. When asked, “What is the secret to building a good relationship with customers and ensuring repeat business?” Simon said:

“By looking after customers – clearly if you want repeat business you’ve got to do it properly. You need to be a careful listener, be helpful, and if you make promises, you’ve got to keep them. You need to do what you say you’re going to do and whenever customers have serious problems you have to show you care. So acting on those problems to find a solution with urgency is very important.”

Despite being a busy Dealer Principal, there are times when Simon still gets involved in individual deals. As he explains, “I have worked in South Wales for many years and know several customers very well, but we have a very professional sales team with great in-depth technical knowledge and good customer relationships. So where there is a customer that I know very well, we work as a team to try to win as much business as possible.”

That care that Simon is clearly so passionate about does not stop once a sale has been made either. The after sales experience is just as important. He has a friendly, efficient, well trained team who have attended all the DAF training programmes. That, combined with technical staff who know the product really well means that customers get all the assistance they need to get the best operational performance and value from their vehicles. This level of expertise was recognised by DAF at its national awards last year. “We won the aftersales DAF Sword of Excellence for scoring maximum points in our service and parts targets, and this year we have been named UK Dealer of the Year” said Simon.

What does the future hold?

As a family business Watts is very much focussed on the future in terms of staff and premises.

“We make sure that everybody has a personal training programme and has a clear career path in the business. Up to six apprentices are taken on each year; one service and one parts in each of the three depots.” The DAF Trucks National Dealer Apprentice Programme has been running for 22 years and produces technicians who form part of a highly skilled workforce committed to quality.

In terms of premises, the new truck centre in Swansea has just opened and the Cardiff site has just been purchased from the existing landlord which will be the next project to invest in.

Future truck industry challenges involving lower emissions mean there will be more electric and hybrid vehicles on the road. DAF themselves currently have all electric and hybrid vehicles in live testing with customers. To meet those challenges Watts Truck & Van are installing 4 charging points at their new Swansea depot and will also do the same at their Cardiff and Newport depots in the coming years.

“We are a very forward-thinking company offering the best facilities for staff and customers,” said Simon.

When asked to summarise in 10 seconds why someone should buy a truck from Watts Truck & Van, Simon said “With a DAF from Watts you buy a top quality product for the driver and the company boss, which will be handed over in a professional manner so that both can get the best out of it.”