The quest of the Quester

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A new day is dawning, of sorts, for UD Trucks– a Japanese truck maker formerly known as Nissan Diesel America and now a subsidiary of Sweden’s Volvo Group. And this “new day” is rising in the form of an all-new multi-model truck line dubbed the “Quester” that’s being aimed at the heart of Asia’s ever more lucrative commercial vehicle markets.

Joachim Rosenberg – chairman of UD Trucks and Volvo’s executive VP-group trucks sales & marketing in Asia – said in a statement that the Quester is “designed especially for growth markets” and shall make its debut in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia this year.

“The Quester is a modern yet affordable vehicle; it allows customization for most transport requirements and it is based on a complete and up-to-date heavy duty truck platform designed to serve a wide range of applications and it enables excellent fuel consumption and high average speeds,” he explained.

To his thinking, Rosenberg believes the Quester represents the “best of three worlds” from the perspective below:

  • It’s been developed with a Japanese hands-on, field-oriented approach that starts from a customer and factory floor perspective;
  • Development of the Quester involved more than 400 Volvo Group truck specialists from 12 different nations, encompassing 1.5 million engineering hours and 65,000 test hours;
  • And as a third element, local sourcing and manufacturing allows Quester to be an affordable vehicle with superior performance in the cost-conscious growth markets of the world.

“In addition to the truck itself with its all-new cab, driveline, electronic architecture and fuel savings features, Quester is also supported by a large and expanding service network providing UD Genuine Service and UD Genuine Parts to ensure best possible uptime,” Rosebnberg added.

This new truck comes at a good time for the OEM, as it stopped production of cabover medium-duty trucks in Japan aimed for the North American market at the end of 2012 – a move that came just two years after its North American division celebrated its 25thanniversary serving the U.S. market and after several efforts spent trying to reinvigorate its product line for commercial operators in this country.

UD’s Rosenberg pointed out that the Quester will showcase other advantages, including the OEM’s proprietary telematics service will be introduced through Quester in selected markets to collect information and closely monitor vehicle condition, along with a Fuel Coaching System to give instant feedback and assistance to drivers to help them drive as economically as possible, while maintaining average trip times.

He added that a production system for completely built-up UD Trucks is under development in Thailand, India and China; a system obviously designed to expand on demand should the Quester spark interest among Asian truck owners.

Now, could this truck mayhap wend its way to U.S. shores one day? That remains to be seen. Let’s see how it does within Asian commercial truck markets first.

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