Scania trucks in Malaysia and Thailand will be serviced and maintained by a single service company following the launch last year of a common service and maintenance organisation for both countries.
“It is crucial for Malaysian and Thai bus and truck operators that they can have their vehicles promptly serviced in both countries,” explains Mr. Freddy Carlsson, Regional Product Director, Scania Siam.
“Another reason for the new organization is that the Asean Free Trade Arrangement, AFTA, makes it possible to export and import vehicles and spare parts at a lower duty than non AFTA members.”
In practice the new organisation means that for example a Malaysian truck in need of repair in Thailand can have that the vehicle serviced on the spot with the right parts and by mechanics that know how to fix the problem.
This save time and improves transport economy for the operator.
“There are differences, albeit slight, in vehicle specifications between buses and trucks delivered in Malaysia and in Thailand,” says Freddy Carlsson.
“But that does not matter any longer, from a service point of view.”
The Malaysian truck market has exploded since it was deregulated some years ago. Now Malaysia has around 50 private truck operators.
“It is a very tough market and I believe we will see a consolidation of truck operators in Malaysia.”
Meanwhile Thailand and Malaysia have their own Scania limited companies with separate management for each market.
“We have had a quite stable market position for a couple of years,” says Khun Vichai Jirathiyut, Managing Director Scania Siam.
“The heavy truck market in Thailand has sold some 1000 unites annually and the bus market is equally stable.”
Scania Siam has an installed base of plus 1000 vehicles in Thailand, about 250 of them are buses. The rest are plus 16-ton trucks.
“I expect that we will have sold around 100 vehicles, trucks an buses, when 2002 is summed up,” says Khun Vichai.
“For 2003 we predict to reach 150 vehicles.”
Japanese suppliers dominate the Thai truck market with Scania having a stable share in what one might call the premium segment.
“Our initial price tag is higher than the Japanese but the total transport economy with a Scania vehicle is better. So in the long run we are a cheaper alternative,” says Freddy Carlsson.
Tougher competition in Thailand and Malaysia should make total transport economy a more important sales argument now than ever before. Add to that passenger demand for more comfortable and safer bus rides.
“The level of safety and passenger comfort is always a customer choice. We can deliver extremely safe vehicles with all options if the customer asks for it. And for bus bodies we do have in house design and advise services for state of the art body work,” says Freddy Carlsson.