Al Naboodah Group Enterprises and DAF Trucks explain how they each bring value to the recently announced partnership between the two companies, and what it means for the UAE truck industry...
DAF Trucks saw sizeable sales in the Gulf in the 1990s, until upheaval at home caused it to retrench its operations. In the last five years, however, the brand has been planning a comeback, with new dealers in tow in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and now the UAE.
In the UAE, DAF Trucks has partnered with Al Naboodah Group Enterprises (ANGE), and it was at an ANGE event that PMV Middle East caught up with the both companies to discuss this dramatic re-entry into the region — a little over two decades since DAF trucks and buses were last major contenders in the UAE’s commercial vehicles market, when they were well represented in governmental fleets.
As Ajit Kumar, COO for the commercial vehicle division at ANGE, notes: “DAF trucks previously contributed significantly to the UAE economy. The first buses to be operated as UAE public transport 20 years ago were from DAF, and some of those are still in operation.”
DAF trucks were also sold to municipal fleets in the UAE in significant numbers, and when ANGE conducted a survey of the active population of the vehicles — which again dated back to the 1990s — it found 1,000 vehicles still being operated across the emirates.
Indeed, even in the absence of direct support in the region from DAF Trucks, the trucks that had previously been sold stood as testament to the hardiness of the vehicles.
The late 1980s and early 1990s, however, were a troubled time for DAF that saw it sell DAF Bus to United Bus in 1990, before filing for bankruptcy in 1993, following difficulties in the British market. The brand was then bought in its entirety by Paccar, the Fortune 500, US-based commercial vehicle manufacturer.
The subsequent decade saw DAF Trucks, under the aegis of Paccar, refocus its efforts in the European market. Michiel Kuijs, director of sales operations for DAF Trucks, says: “We have to be honest: we neglected the Middle East a little bit at the end of the 2000s, because the organisation was so busy with its ramping up of production in Europe.
“But a lot has since changed in the Paccar organisation: we now have clear focus on the Middle East — as demonstrated through our development of a dedicated product programme for the region.”
This product programme for the region involves the distribution by DAF of heavy-duty variants of its LF, CF and XF lines, which cater to light and heavy duty applications — from urban distribution through to construction and long or heavy haulage operations.
Kuijs explains: “The CF is our top performer in general applications, and is suited to everything from garbage collection to bulk transportation and heavy duty work in the construction industry. Smooth roads or rough terrain, it’s all the same to the CF series, and the trucks are available either as tractors or rigid body chassis, in two-, three- or four-axle versions.