Thursday November 15 2012

Renault re-enters East African market

A mobile training team will be used in five East African countries to train World Food Programme mechanics in the most advanced maintenance and servicing techniques.

On Saturday, Victoria Motors passed out mechanics after completing a week’s Heavy Goods Vehicle (HGV) training. The training was aimed at helping them acquire more knowledge about the new Renault Kerax trucks which the World Food Programme (WFP) will be using.

Besides, the training, the event also marked Renault Trucks’ entry into the market. Sam Kibuuka, the group finance director at General Machinery Group, under .which Victoria Motors falls, says Renault is re-entering the East African market. Victoria Motors are suppliers of Mitsubishi products and have now added Renault trucks as a new product.

“They used to be here but left for reasons unknown to us. We approached them because we were looking for a truck that will complement our Mitsubishi dealership. Renault does medium and heavy trucks unlike Mitsubishi that does small ones,”he said.

“We noticed there was a market for big trucks. The United Nations evaluated trucks and selected Renault. They have been using Renault for 12 years but they have been doing their own servicing; now we will do the servicing,” Kibuuka said.
There are over 100 Renault trucks in the WFP’s fleet. A Kerax 6x6 configured as a mobile training unit and a team of technicians have been sent out to instruct the WFP’s mechanics in East Africa, passing on their expertise in HGV maintenance and repair.

From Kenya to Uganda, Southern Sudan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and finally Burundi, this adventure will last for three months, during which the WFP’s staff will be trained practically on site.

The Kerax is a vehicle acknowledged for its robustness and mobility. One of the triners, Redoine Zouitin, based in Lyon, France and working in the electrical problems department, said the mobile truck used for training is based on the same truck used in Paris-Dakar rallies. Paul Caley, another trainer, said it was a joint partnership and the first of this kind in Uganda.

“We do the same training in France. They are new engines and there is new technology involved so it calls for training because the truck has many electronics. For the reliability of the engine, we have to do this training. It is an over heat cam engine, six injectors, six pumps for better control of fuel. It has different drive options 8x4, 8x6, you can have rear or front wheel drive (optional front drive), it is very adaptable for off-road conditions,” Caley explains.

Kibuuka adds that four supervisors and six support staff were trained. Three trucks to government and private entities have so far been supplied. “We have been working with commercial banks for asset leasing. Stanbic Bank, Standard Chartered, DFCU, Bank of Africa, among others,” he says. The trucks have diesel engines and tropicalised to handle our terrain.