12 June, 2015
UD Trucks Celebrates 80TH Anniversary
During 2015, UD Trucks will
be celebrating its 80th
anniversary of its foundation in 1935.
Founder Kenzo Adachi believed that trucks must be durable, fuel
efficient, offer high uptime and ample loading capacity. Over the past 80
years, UD Trucks has developed products that meet these
criteria, while also reducing the total cost of ownership.
"All of us at UD Trucks, from product development to manufacturing and
sales, have been united in applying our founder's passion for trucks," said UD Trucks president, Yos hihiro
Murakami. "Always providing the best
solutions to transportation challenges, UD Trucks will continue to support the
development of the logistics industry and contribute to the economic growth of the
countries it operates in for the next 80 years, by introducing the best
solutions and utilizing the cutting-edge technologies of the time."
With the brand promise of "Going the Extra Mile", UD Trucks offers
products with a high level of fuel efficiency, uptime, reliability, durability,
drivability, while meeting today's demanding safety and environmental standards
with modern technology.
To celebrate UD Trucks 80th
anniversary, a brand new UD
Experience Center will be opened in May in
Japan and its new headquarters building will be completed in July, both at
the main factory site in Ageo, Japan.
UD Trucks has been present in
South Africa since 1962, and over the past 53 years it has been the
professionalism, passion and dependability of the people who have been part of
the UD Trucks family, that have carried the brand to reach multiple milestones and
"Throughout its rich and diverse
history in the region, UD Trucks has produced legendary vehicles that have
built an outstanding reputation in the local transport industry. This is mainly due to their unrelenting reliability,
versatile performance and suitability to local road and operating conditions,"
said Rory Schulz, managing director of UD Trucks Southern Africa.
|Momentous 3 000km test run
||Kenzo Adachi founded Nihon
Diesel Industries (later UD Trucks) in December 1935. The company developed the
first Japanese-made diesel truck engine in 1938, followed by the first
Japanese-made diesel truck, LD1, in November 1939. Dedicated to ensuring
ultimate dependability, Adachi himself took the LD1 on a legendary test drive
of 3 000km in the same year. Although Japan's roads at the
time were unpaved and the country was full of narrow roads and bridges, not a
single bolt came loose and not one spring broke on the LD1 on
|Birth of the original UD
||At the start of the 1950s, construction of infrastructure that included
power sources, roads, railways, ports and large-scale plants led to rising
demand for large, high-horsepower trucks. In January 1955, two new diesel UD
engines were released: the three-cylinder 110-horse-power UD3 and the
four-cylinder 150-horsepower UD4. The six-cylinder 230-horsepower UD6, launched
in June, was the most powerful in Japan, and acclaimed as the lightest engine per
horsepower in the world at the time.
||The engines used pioneering ‘uniflow scavenging diesel engine'
technology - abbreviated "UD" - and the UD name and symbol has been on all
engines and trucks the company has released ever since.
||The 6TW, launched in 1958,
contributed to infrastructure development, during rapid economic growth. The
truck was used in the construction of Kurobe Dam, a famously challenging dam to
build. With the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, 6TW also played an important role in
construction of infrastructure that ran from high-speed expressways to the
bullet train, and high-rise hotels. The T80 2-axle export version also became a
popular workhorse in Asia and around the
In South Africa, the first UD Trucks vehicles were
imported into the country by Stanley Motors in Johannesburg n 1962. This model series was originally known as the
T80 and T81, both 4x2 units.
The decades that followed saw
numerous local introductions of now legendary models, like the UG780,
CK10 and CK20, the UG780 engine during the ADE era in the 1980's, as
well as the CM range which consisted of the CM10, 12, 14 and 16
Debut of the
|In the 70s, there was a shift from the mass production of single
products to high-mix, low-volume production and the expansion of cold chain
logistics for transporting fresh products and frozen foods in the food
||Consequently, there was
greater demand for medium-duty trucks capable of economical and efficient
transportation over short and medium haul. Condor, launched in Japan
in 1975, met those needs, and the
model has developed over the years and went through a full model change in 2011
In South Africa, UD Trucks remains
the top-selling Heavy Commercial
Vehicle with its UD60 to UD100 model range.
|Evolving Product Range
From 1998 to 1999, the company
launched its Extra Heavy Vehicle range with OE engines in South Africa namely
the PF6 series, and in the process became the first manufacturer to complete
the transition back to Original Equipment. The company also embarked on its
first venture into the 6x4 high-end truck-tractor market segment with the UD
430 WT featuring a RF8 engine.
The launch of the UD 440 series
signaled the start of a new age in the history of the company, making serious
inroads into the upper end of the market - the first Japanese manufacturer to
do so locally.
In 2002, Nissan Diesel South
Africa formally separated from the passenger car operations to become a
dedicated trucking company, with 80% of the company owned by Nissan Diesel
Motor Corporation in Japan and the balance held by Mitsui.
The innovative Escot transmission
was first introduced into the market on the UD 290 WM and UD 400 KT during 2004
and at the same time, the then Nissan Diesel South Africa first offered
maintenance contracts to customers.
The state-of-the-art Quon extra
heavy truck range was launched in 2008, utilizing new-generation technology
across the model line-up. The assembly
plant was also revamped to double its capacity, while the Parts Warehouse and
Training Academy were upgraded to meet growing demand.
In 2010, the company's entire range
met Euro II emission standards with the launch of the company's new HCV engine
New UD Trucks
As a means of unifying its
identity as a global brand with a worldwide presence and as one of the leading
brands in the Volvo Group, in 2010 the company name was changed from Nissan
Diesel to UD Trucks Corporation along with adopting UD Trucks as its unified
In 2012, UD Trucks Southern
Africa again moved the benchmark higher with the launch of the new generation Quon extra heavy
||UD Trucks launched "Quester" -
the first Japanese truck developed uniquely for growth markets around the
world. With excellent fuel efficiency, reliability and durability, providing
modern, affordable efficiency for modernizing and professional customers in
these markets, the Quester was made to go the extra mile.
The Quester range was launched in South Africa in
|"UD Trucks continues to
go the extra mile to provide our
customers with ultimately dependable trucks and services," said
Schulz. "We are committed to this journey, travelling on this road to success with our customers."
View a special 80th
Anniversary Video at: https://youtu.be/72dl-y8Q_z4
|UD Trucks is a total transport
solution provider dedicated to delivering optimized total cost of ownership to
its customers. It sells and serves light, medium and heavy duty trucks as well
as special vehicles. UD Trucks was established in Japan in 1935 and became part
of the Volvo Group in 2007. With its headquarters located in Ageo, Japan, UD
Trucks supports sales and services in more than 60 countries through a