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Trucks on track: Taking a different driving test

/ 02:00 AM June 06, 2012

RICHARD Hall (left), general manager for sales and marketing of Daimler commercial vehicles and Ser J de los Angeles, vice president for commercial vehicles of CATS Motors Inc.

CATS Motors Inc., the country’s distributor of Mercedes-Benz passenger and commercial vehicles including the large Actros trucks, invited members of the media and its clients in an exclusive driving event at the Batangas Racing Circuit (BRC).

Two Actros truck variants were provided for test drive during the event—a 6-wheeler 20-ton 310 HP Actros 3 model and a 10-wheeler 26-ton 350 HP Actros 3 model. This writer didn’t pass up the chance to sign up for the track day since most track days usually involve passenger cars. “Driving around BRC with an Actros truck gives you a really different perspective, since you will be driving around the race track with a ride height of over 7 feet. This gives you a different vantage point to the usual low-slung ride height of race cars,” said race veteran Pepon Marave, one of the organizers of this driving event.

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“We have been extremely satisfied to be able to show and demonstrate the features of the new Actros. It was an opportunity to prove that Mercedes-Benz truly has ‘Trucks you can trust,’” said Richard Hall, general manager of Daimler commercial vehicles sales and marketing, who flew in for the event. Without any training or background in handling big trucks, the event organizers showed how relatively easy it was to get accustomed to the driving dynamics of a large truck with so much technology packed into the Actros.

While the initial capital cost of each truck may not be considered as the cheapest in the market, its “Trucks you can trust” slogan is not just a brand promise, it is a commitment the manufacturer and its distributors take to ensure maximum profitability and minimal risk of truck users like haulers and end users in transporting goods and equipment. The Actros practically has the same technology systems in trucks as in Mercedes-Benz’s luxury passenger cars. This includes safety assist systems such as the Attention Assist, which detects the driver’s drowsiness, and proximity sensors. “Late last year we introduced the Actros and shortly after delivered some units. Since then, after only a month or two of operations, these trucks are running over 12,000 km. and we noticed a strong attachment of drivers to the trucks. We wanted to get our friends from the media to have a glimpse of this attachment and why such an attachment,” Ser J de los Angeles, vice president for commercial vehicles and after sales of CATS Motors Inc.

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The world’s first truck

MOTORING writers discover how easy it is to get accustomed to the driving dynamics of a large truck like the Actros with so much technology

A division from Daimler AG, Mercedes-Benz produces not only passenger vehicles but is one of the largest commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world. With a history dating back to over 100 years, it is headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany. The name Benz first appeared in 1926 under Daimler-Benz but its origins date back to 1886 when Karl Benz introduced the Benz Patent Motorwagen, widely considered as the world’s first automobile. In 1896, Gottlieb Daimler built the world’s first truck. Back then, this vehicle looked more like a horse-drawn carriage with an engine that’s rated only few horsepower, 4 HP to be exact. The first truck was used and sold in London, and as Daimler’s business grew, he and Karl Benz became very tough business competitors. Benz took another direction and developed what he called “delivery vehicles,” considered as the ancestors of today’s delivery vans. Before the merger in 1926, both inventors were already using diesel-fed engines in their vehicles. Aside from the Actors, Mercedes-Benz has a successful line of other commercial and passenger van and trucks like the Vito, Sprinter, Vario, Atego and the multi-purpose 4WD truck, Unimog.

With its rich truck-building heritage that goes back more than a century ago, it has accumulated a wealth of research and development. Its trucks are considered as market-leading in terms of ergonomics, comfort and safety innovations, and these come in as standard in all of its trucks. Its background in cutting-edge technology derived from Formula 1 racing and proprietary technology from its tuning arm AMG offers efficiency in fuel and engine performance in engine that ensures smooth automatic transmission operations as well as suspension comfort and road handling dynamics. Aside from a good product, CATS Motors backs it up with a reliable after-sales strategy that has led them to invest on developing dedicated teams that will be available 24 hours on call and adequate facilities and equipment to assist all Mercedes-Benz truck owners.

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TAGS: 310 HP Actros 3, 350 HP Actros 3, CATS Motors, Motoring, Philippines, trucks
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