When UD Trucks (aka Nissan) dropped an 8x4 option from its New Zealand model lineup, it gave lots of customers no choice but to go elsewhere.
That, even in a small market like ours (or maybe moreso, because every sale counts), can be a persuasive way of influencing head office.
And so it’s apparently been with the missing UD/Nissan twin-steer, as Kiwi UD brand manager John Gerbich freely concedes: When the decision was made to exit the 470-horsepower/350 kilowatts 8x4 from the market here in 2013, “I don’t think anyone understood the significance of an 8x4 in NZ.” Except, no doubt, the Kiwi distributor and its salesmen!
But, notwithstanding the tiny size of our market on the global stage, UD Trucks did get to know about it.
It’s been a while since I was in a UD Trucks Quon cab – over two years, in fact – but there’s a lot that hasn’t changed at all.
There is though one very important difference: This truck I climb into under the shadow of Mount Taranaki is an 8x4 – the first UD twin-steer with what Grange Transport owner Brendon Molan refers to as “decent” horsepower in seven or eight years.
The climb up into the cab I find a little difficult because of the fact there are only two widely-spaced steps. Regular driver Angela Haket reckons that you quickly get used to it – and then it’s not a problem. You are aided by good grabhandles on each side and a nice wide-opening door.
Once in the cab it’s a very nice layout – helped by being seated in an ISRI air-suspended seat with integrated seatbelt and left-hand armrest…standard spec in new Quons. Can you get any more European influence in Japanese trucks than that!