UD Trucks Southern Africa’s head office and GTO assembly plant in Rosslyn recently bid a bittersweet farewell to the company’s legendary MCV range. The last of the U41 range, a UD 40, left the assembly line after more than 13 000 units of the range were sold since its introduction in 1996.
To celebrate the end of an era, UD Trucks donated the last unit to the Legends Rhino Orphanage in Limpopo. This non-profit organisation will utilise the truck as an animal ambulance to transport and care for baby rhinos that were left orphaned after their mothers were killed for their horns.
UD Trucks’ MCV range enjoyed a loyal following among local fleet owners as it had a reputation for being a versatile, tough, easy-to-maintain and dependable truck. The U41 range was predominantly sold in southern Africa, with a small number of units also sold in Thailand and Malaysia later on.
“Although this might be the end of our current MCV range, UD Trucks has an exciting future ahead of it. From 2015, we will be introducing various new models over the next number of years, which is set to not just renew our product offering to our customers but also challenge the way one thinks about the local transport industry,” says Rory Schulz, acting managing director of UD Trucks.
As one of the world’s leading truck manufacturers, UD trucks is continually investing a great deal in developing vehicles that offer better efficiency, fuel economy and environmental responsibility.
“Our strategy is to continually adapt to the changing dynamics of our market which, in future, will require more operationally-practical vehicles of good quality and offer customers more profitability per Rand spent,” says Schulz.
In the company’s tradition of celebrating the last unit coming off the assembly line, management and staff wanted to mark the occasion in a significant way.
“Seeing that the legendary U41 range is now extinct – so to speak – we wanted to help the Rhino Orphanage prevent a living legend, the rhino, from going extinct as well,” says Schutz.
According to Aubrey Rambau, general manager of manufacturing at the assembly plant, it is a privilege to get involved in an issue that affects the local community.
“Many of our staff members working on the assembly line have been part of the U41’s journey since its introduction 18 years ago. We are all proud to play a role in the production of this legendary range and even prouder that one of our vehicles will be used for such a good cause,” says Rambau.
The Rhino Orphanage is a registered non-profit company based in the Limpopo Province. It was founded by Arrie van Deventer in 2012. The orphanage is the first specialist, dedicated, non-commercial centre that cares for orphaned or injured baby rhinos with the only aim of releasing them back into the wild.
“UD Trucks and its staff truly have hearts of gold,” says Van Deventer. “This donated UD40 is greatly valued and will go a long way in supporting our activities to save baby rhinos from certain death. Thank you to everyone at UD Trucks who played a part in assembling and donating this very special vehicle.”