HEAVY HAULAGE SPECIALISTS HAVEN’T WARMED TO AUTOMATED MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS (AMTS) AS MUCH AS REGULAR 44-TONNE OPERATORS, GENERALLY PREFERRING MANUAL BOXES. HEAVY TORQUE HAS BEEN TO GERMANY AND DRIVEN SOMETHING THAT MAY CHANGE THEIR MINDS. IAN NORWELL REPORTS FROM MUNSINGEN
Truck manufacturers are caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to developing specialist chassis for niche markets. The numbers often just don’t stack up with the investment taking years to recoup. Truck factories that produce on a grand scale, and with in excess of 100,000 trucks a year coming off the line at Mercedes-Benz Wörth plant near Karslruhe, it is the biggest in Europe, often operate on economies of scale that do not favour specialist buyers.
Titan, an independent specialist in heavy industrial and mining vehicles, was appointed to build heavy haulage tractors under licence for Mercedes, and it has done so since 1996. But the arrival of Euro 6 marks the point where the SLT (Schwer Last Transport) comes home to a Mercedes factory. “Titan has done a great job for us since 1995, and it developed the heavy haulage version of our tractor product extremely well,” says Ulrich Bastert, head of truck sales for Europe and Latin America at Mercedes. “We’ve always said that as our custom tailored trucks operation in Molsheim developed, the SLT will come back to us.”