Time goes so fast when you’re having fun. This saying can be aptly applied to the Mercedes-Benz Actros which this year celebrates the 25th anniversary of the launch of the first generation Actros onto the South African market.
When the first Actros arrived on our shores in 1998, FleetWatch headlined it as the advent of the new electronic era for the South Africa truck market. This was due to it being the first-ever computerized truck designed specifically for long-distance and distribution haulage with innovative features such as the Electronically Controlled Air Brake System with disc brakes on both front and rear axles. It also heralded the introduction of the Controller Area Network (CAN) technology for the chassis and drivetrain. From the bygone era of mechanical trucks, the dawn of the modern era of computerised trucks was upon us.
Unlike today, when South Africa receives new models from Europe soon after they are launched, back then we had to wait a while after their introduction in Europe. In the case of the Actros, it was launched in Europe in 1996 with grand fanfare at the Hannover truck show which FleetWatch was privileged to attend. There was a huge hoo-hah around the launch of this first generation Actros and it quickly gained popularity, taking only one year for it to be recognized as the 1997 International Truck of the Year.
This accolade is bestowed by top commercial vehicle journalists from all around the globe to the truck that makes the biggest contribution towards road transport innovation which is advantageous to the efficiency, emissions, safety, drivability, and comfort of vehicles.
Since the launch of the first generation Actros, four more Actros generations have been produced from the Daimler Truck Southern Africa (DTSA) assembly plant in East London and each Actros generation has won the title of “International Truck of the Year”.
Commenting on the 25 anniversary Maretha Gerber, Vice President: Sales & Marketing Daimler Truck Southern Africa says: “We’re gratified by the huge strides we’ve made as a trusted truck brand in the last quarter of a century. Not only does this milestone attest to our relentless efforts to produce the best-in-class trucks, but it is also a testament to our ongoing commitment to the region. Thank you to our customers, dealer partners and employees for withstanding the test of time. We’re excited about what lies ahead as the commercial vehicle industry progresses.”
FleetWatch extends a huge congratulations to the Mercedes-Benz Trucks team for this significant trucking milestone. It’s been a fun ride and here’s to the next 25 years of continual safety and innovation excellence in South Africa.