The van and cab/chassis sector suddenly gets a lot more competitive – Chris Mullett reports on the latest updates to the Iveco Daily
Last year Iveco celebrated its 40th anniversary as a commercial vehicle organisation that was formed in 1975 from a union of five European company brands comprising Magirus-Deutz, Fiat Industrial Vehicles, Lancia, Unic and OM.
In 1992 Iveco acquired International Trucks in the Australian market, and so started the blending of the different product lines of the company to create the very broad base of products through those five brands that can claim a heritage dating back over 150 years of vehicle building experience.
For 2016 there’s a new wave of enthusiasm flowing through the corporate veins of Iveco as the company seeks to re-establish its credibility and fulfil a series of personal goals by the current management team that will see the brand becoming a stronger option for the Australian buyer.
No longer appearing to be a lone sheep, Iveco’s operations are under the parenting umbrella of CNH Industrial, which supports and strengthens its global operations with Iveco manufacturing plants in Europe, China, Australia, Argentina, Brazil and Africa, and business facilities in over 160 countries.
If the CNH Industrial title means little to you, then let your mind roam across the component parts of this organisation where it includes Case IH, Steyr, New Holland Agriculture, New Holland Construction, FPT Industrial, Magirus, Iveco Astra, Iveco Bus and the Heuliez bus brands and additional divisions.
What Iveco can offer the Australian transport operator is a product range that extends right through from the Daily light commercials that can be driven on a car licence, up to road train rated 6×4 prime movers.
For Delivery Magazine readers we are looking specifically at the Daily light commercial range that encompasses vans of all sizes, from low-roof models to high-roof, varying length wheelbases, and increased cargo volumes that maximise space through different roof height options.
It pays to be very specific when looking at Daily van specs as the interior cargo volumes now available include models with 7 cu.m, 9 cu.m, 11 cu.m, 12 cu.m, 16 cu.m, 18 cu.m and a massive 20 cu.m. What this option range provides is everything from an around town local delivery van to an on-highway, interstate delivery truck for express parcels or even light removals, given the amount of interior space.
In this mix of product there are light and medium vans and cab/chassis versions with single cabs or crew cabs, together with larger vans that require specialised drivers licences in the 4.5-7.0 tonnes categories. Finally, there’s another variation heading our way that’s due to arrive in Australia in September in the form of a minibus, offering eight-speed fully automatic transmissions and a choice of different interior trim levels.
Customer service is what makes a brand successful, and an operator buying the Daily gets the benefit of dealing with a full-range truck service outlet that can offer extended hours servicing so a vehicle can be maintained and serviced outside normal car dealership operating hours.
This is a huge advantage as a vehicle doesn’t have to be off the road during working hours, requiring the owner to source a temporary replacement (not necessarily possible due to vehicle configuration). It’s ironic that a car dealership will provide loan cars for people that can go to work on the bus, but the operator of a working vehicle gets no such treatment.
Delivery Magazine recently joined Iveco executives for a day spent discussing the company’s marketing plans for the oncoming year, and also had the opportunity to drive examples from each of the different product ranges.
In the light-duty van segment, Daily volume at the close of 2015 was up by almost 54 percent, while, in the light-duty truck segment, a volume increase of over four percent was posted for combined sales of 869 units.
Iveco Australia Marketing Manager, Darren Swenson, said the performance was pleasing and provided a solid platform for continued growth.
“Following the launch of the new Daily range in May and arrival of stock in the second half of the year, the result is a solid outcome,” Mr. Swenson said.
“Buyer interest in our market-leading
eight-speed full automatic models have been particularly strong in both van and cab/chassis variants. And when combined with the range’s other key features, such as diesel turbocharged engines of up to 150 kW/470 Nm, advanced safety equipment and superior volume and GVM ratings, the Daily is an attractive buying proposition.
“This sales performance gives us confidence that the brand will be able to further improve its position in 2016,” added Mr. Swenson.
Iveco has really stolen a lead over its light commercial competition in the Australian market by offering a pre-bodied three-way tipper bodied version of the Daily.
Where a three-way tipper gains is with versatility, rather than a tipping body that is hinged only at the rear and tips over the end of the chassis rail and rear lights, by altering the action of the tipper body the operator can additionally tilt to the left or right of the vehicle, just by moving a pin clipped to the underside of the chassis and operating a push-button remote unit.
A three-way tipping action is a great option for landscapers and councils alike, as it enables a vehicle to drive up a narrow access road and tip to the left or right as required, or conventionally over the rear.
The tipping body measures 3700 mm (l) x 2100 mm with 400 mm sideboards and tailgate, providing an estimated payload of 1500 kg. The Tipper also includes a full headboard providing excellent protection to the back of cab area.
Full steel construction using 1.8 mm plate and corrosion inhibitor treatment ensures durability, while the subframe is hot-dipped galvanised and powder coated. The body is specifically designed for the Daily cab/chassis resulting in superior fit, finish and functionality.
Sideboards and tailgate feature galvanised steel locks, which are flush mounted when locked for improved safety. The sideboards and tailgates can also be quickly removed if the job requires it.
Other body features include built-in anchor points, which are also fully retractable and flush when not in use. For increased safety during tipping, the body features a tilt limit stop cable and safety pole.
Operating the tipping body is easy via a hand-held remote, and the raise time is fast with full tilt at only 25 seconds.
For those that need a conventional tray body, without the tipping function, Iveco once again has a pre-bodied solution, available off the dealership showroom floor.
The Daily factory tray provides a 4092 mm (l) x 2072 mm tray with 400 mm sideboards and tailgate. Also standard is a full height headboard for extra back of cab protection.
Combining a hot-dipped galvanised and powder coated steel subframe with anodised aluminium tray base, sideboards and tailgate, the tray is light in weight yet durable. Internally, the base is further reinforced with a 15 mm marine plywood liner with scratch-resistant and non-slip phenolic film.
Sideboards feature a smooth, non-sharp finish with flush locks and can be easily removed without tools. The tray includes several fully retractable and flush anchor points.
Both the three-way tipping body and the standard tray are fitted to the 50C17 Daily model and powered by a 3.0-litre turbodiesel Iveco engine producing 125 kW and 430 Nm, and rated at gross weight of 4495 kg. An optional 5200 kg GVM is also available and both have a 3500 kg braked trailer towing capacity.
If you like changing gears personally the six-speed manual gearbox used in the Daily models is light and easy to use. The jewel in the Daily crown is, however, the eight-speed ‘Hi-Matic’ full automatic transmission. This is the same ZF unit used by Jaguar and Ranger Rover and is just superb. Standard safety features in the range include front and rear disc brakes with ABS; front, passenger and curtain airbags; stability control and hill holder.
There’s a world of difference in user friendliness with the new range of vans and chassis/cabs from Europe. Noise levels are very low, comfort levels are very high and there are all the sophisticated features that one might expect from the current crop of passenger cars.
The cabin is well equipped with intuitively placed instruments and controls and an efficient climate control system. Other benefits include four-speaker audio system with FM/AM tuner, CD/MP3 player, CD/MP3 player, AUX input and Bluetooth connectivity. Radio and phone controls can be accessed by the steering wheel.
If you choose a crew-cab body there’s room for four across the back seat plus there is storage space underneath. For van buyers there is storage space under the front passenger seat.
Making Iveco’s work-ready Daily tipper and tray models even more appealing to buyers is the inclusion of $2500 worth of bonus genuine accessories. Included in the package is a polished alloy nudge bar, a 3.5-t0nne rated tow bar kit, bonnet and headlamp protectors and floor mats. Iveco is also offering competitive finance rates of 3.99% over 5 years to make the purchase even easier.
If you tend to stray off the bitumen and into some serious off-road territory then the Daily 4×4 is going to get you there, and, more importantly, will get you home again.
The 2016 model Daily 4×4 is really the ultimate off-road capable chassis/cab and it comes with a full-time 4×4 system with standard front, centre and rear differential locks providing outstanding traction over the most difficult terrain. The double low range transfer case also remains, boasting an ultra-low 1:101 final ratio for unparalleled crawling ability.
This engine in this model moves the buyer immediately into Euro 6 emission rating using SCR technology. The 3.0-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged diesel produces 125 kW between 3000 and 35000 rpm, with torque of 400 Nm between 1250 and 3000 rpm. The Euro 6 engine with SCR will also be fitted to the Daily minibus from day one, unlike the other Daily products that will remain with Euro 5 and no SCR treatment for a little longer.
As you might imagine, the transmission for this off-roader is purely based around the Iveco six-speed synchromesh, double overdrive manual transmission. Other benefits of the new vehicle include a revised braking system for improved stopping power and the introduction of ESP (Electronic Stability Programme).
It’s up to the buyer as to what GVM rating to choose, offering a car licence-friendly 4495 kg GVM or no-cost option 5500 kg GVM, 3500 kg braked trailer towing capacity and single and dual-cab options.
Iveco has experienced a huge success with the 4×4 Daily in Europe in terms of sales to fire services, local municipal services and other emergency services. Delivery Magazine has driven the 4×4 over all types of inhospitable terrain and can vouch for it being virtually unstoppable. That said, with the ability to manually lock front, rear and centre differentials at will, the driver should be given some tuition prior to being let loose out in the bush in order to understand just what the vehicle can achieve.
Iveco product spokesperson, Joel Read, told Delivery Magazine the Daily 4×4 occupied a unique position in the light truck market.
“The standard array of off-road features of the Daily 4×4 are included straight from the factory, making it a vehicle without direct competitors in many ways,” Mr Read said.
“Customers wanting an extremely capable light-duty off-road truck usually need to purchase a stock product and then spend thousands of dollars equipping it with items such as aftermarket diff locks, low crawler gears and so forth.
“It’s not only an expensive and time consuming undertaking, but then also potentially has warranty implications with the vehicle manufacturer. This is not a problem for the Iveco Daily 4×4 – it’s supremely capable as a standard vehicle with all these items already included,” added Joel.
With the Daily van and cab/chassis range the parcels and courier operators have a very efficient and spacious vehicle with huge cargo capability. When you add in the convenience of being supported by national truck dealerships that provide extended hours servicing on weekdays, or in some cases weekend servicing, it may be that the extra attention to customer service will be the deciding factor that tips the scales towards Iveco.