UD Trucks: Blending two cultures

The global reach of the automotive sector remains vibrant, while demand for trucks on the African Continent is as buoyant as ever.

Among the leading brands across the globe, UD Trucks has a strong brand, build on reliability and even the name lends itself to that ethos – UD standing for Ultimate Dependability. But the backbone upon which this business is crafted, is a combination of Japanese and African culture.

“Our ethos is to always go the extra mile in everything we do. We leave nothing to chance and always look to provide customers with the optimum transport solutions. With UD Trucks, customers can rest assured that they have made the smart choice as our unique DNA ensures we provide solutions to their most demanding needs time to time,” states the corporate website.

“Across the globe, UD Trucks is a company that drives innovation, sets new industry benchmarks and offers ultimately dependable products to its customers. Furthermore UD Trucks makes every effort to support customers and completely meet their expectations.

“As one of the region’s leading truck manufacturers, UD Trucks Southern Africa is driven by its vision of being Professional, Passionate and Dependable in everything they do,” the site continues.

The company has its headquarters and assembly plant located in Rosslyn, Pretoria and UD Trucks forms part of one of the world’s largest trucking companies, the Volvo Group, which has more than 100,000 employees, production facilities in 20 countries and sales in more than 190 markets.

Volvo’s commitment to the South African automotive industry is underlined by the fact that the Rosslyn operations represent US Truck’s largest market outside of Japan, a nod of the head both to the local expertise but also demand for these vehicles across the Continent.

“For more than 50 years, UD Trucks has produced legendary vehicles that have built an outstanding reputation in the local transport industry.  This is mainly due to the vehicles’ unrelenting reliability, versatile performance and suitability to South African road and operating conditions. The company has also invested greatly in developing innovative and modern vehicles that offer better efficiency, fuel economy and environmental responsibility,” says the company website.

“UD Trucks Southern Africa is committed to provide a high quality product in order to sustain their objective of providing the highest possible level of durability, and ultimately giving customers as much up-time as possible,” it continues.

Whilst local production is a boon to the South African economy, UD Trucks operates very much to global standards and also a global outlook when it comes to marketing.

The website says: “Extensive research by UD Trucks has revealed that customers are increasingly looking for a truck provider that can be a true professional partner.  The company is therefore committed to continue building closer professional relationships with you, our customers and offer dependable transport solutions – a recipe for future success.

“By matching customer business insight with the global expertise inherent in the company, UD Trucks is continuously aiming to get the fundamentals right, here in South Africa and across the region.  This includes the manufacturing of quality products at competitive prices, an effective parts supply and unrelenting aftermarket support.”

It is that attention to detail that has made the company a legendary name in the production of trucks for decades.

“At UD we have a passion for Ultimate Dependability. To always run the extra mile in everything we do. To excel on the things that make a real difference for our customers. Our journey began 75 years ago, with a vision and a legendary test drive. A 3,000km run, through heart-breaking mountain roads for 13 days, to prove the durability of our first truck before bringing it to the market. Our founder took the wheel himself, because of his vision—to make “the truck the world needs today”; durable, efficient trucks with Ultimate Dependability.

“This passion to make that extra effort is our gemba spirit. The gemba is the front line. It’s being at the place where the real action is, where the value is created, from manufacturing plants to dealerships and customer sites. It’s the way our people work— professional, passionate and dependable. It’s our expertise in the field and the insights gained from our people on the ground. It’s the foundation of UD Trucks that lives on to this day,” the company proudly proclaims. (703 words)

The philosophy of going the extra mile is immersed in the company culture which sees the business produce modern, efficient trucks with smart design. Vehicles with first-class fuel efficiency, reliability and durability, which combined with outstanding after sales service support means uptime and low operational costs for customers.

The result is a high reputation and endurance; both for its vehicles, but also for the company itself.

Indeed, in 2015, UD Trucks celebrated its 80th anniversary. It did so with reflection on the past and the importance of logistics in helping to develop infrastructure and consequently build economies.

“Since its foundation in 1935, UD Trucks has supported logistics systems in Japan and around the world, always conscious of the transport industry’s key role in helping build up social infrastructure. The company has supported growth in Japan and other countries, answering logistics needs by taking the lead in introducing the best solutions using cutting-edge technologies of the time.

“Founder Kenzo Adachi believed that trucks must be durable, fuel efficient, offer high uptime and ample loading capacity. Over the past 80 years, UD Trucks has provided products that meet these criteria, while also reducing the total cost of our customer’s ownership.

““All of us at UD Trucks, from product development to manufacturing and sales, have been united in applying our founder’s passion for trucks. Moving forward, we will work hard to become the truck brand that our customers most want to partner with,” said UD Trucks president, Yoshihiro Murakami,” the company announced in a press statement.

In an industry where innovation and design are so important, 80 years is a truly significant landmark. UD Trucks continues to excel with that blend of Japanese creativity and African industry.