In Iveco, February 20209 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 24, 2020

Russia‘s truck market is wide and varied – with a multitude of local manufacturers little known to the rest of the world. These are some of the latest and greatest from this unique market.

The Comtrans show is Russia‘s premier commercial vehicle trade fair and is held biennially in the capital Moscow. In 2019 more than 265 companies from 13 countries showed their newest products. All the well-known European manufacturers were present, plus a selection from Asian countries, as well as most commercial vehicle makers from Russia. Interestingly, Comtrans was also chosen by some manufacturers to celebrate a jubilee: the giant Kamaz plant founded 50 years ago in the city of Naberezhnye Chelny; the Belarusian truck manufacturer MAZ celebrated its 75th birthday, and last but not least, Renault Trucks had been in business for 125 years. These festivities could not hide the fact the current situation in the Russian truck market is not very promising. In the first half of 2019 only 38,844 new medium and heavy trucks were registered. That is 6.4% less than the year before. The main factors in declining sales were the worldwide recession, reduction and closures of enterprises, and the West-instigated sanctions on doing business with Russia.

Photo: The new Kamaz 54901 is available with Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesel engines up to 550hp.

Kamaz is still Russia‘s main truck manufacturer, with a market share of more than 33%, followed by the GAZ Group, with locally assembled Volvo Trucks third. Mercedes-Benz is number one in the imported market. Daimler-Benz is also responsible for the step forward that Kamaz has made in recent years when it comes to heavy trucks for long-distance work. The all-new Kamaz 54901 tractor is equipped with a modified Mercedes Actros MP4 sleeper cab. It is not only a good-looking model, but also sports a modern interior with a flat floor and offers good comfort and safety features. Power comes from a 12-litre 6-cylinder Kamaz P6 Euro 5 or Euro 6 diesel engine of 335kW (450hp). But engines with either less or more horsepower (up to 410kW/550hp) are also offered.

Photo: The modern and well-equipped cab of the Kamaz 54901 is based on the Mercedes Actros MP4 structure.

Interestingly, the new Kamaz P6 diesel engine was developed together with engineers from Liebherr in Germany. The transmission fitted is a 12-speed automated ZF TraXon. Series production started at the end of 2019 and a standard Kamaz 54901 tractor will cost around €90,000 (NZ$151,672). This price includes a mandatory three-year service contract. Also new from Kamaz is the ‘Arctic‘, an 8×8 off-road truck that is developed for operation in the far north of Siberia where temperatures can go down to -50°C. Its 335kW (450hp) 12-litre Euro 5 diesel is matched to a 6-speed Allison 4500 hydrostatic transmission. It does not have a normal chassis, but bends in the middle like an articulated off-road dumper. Special extra-wide tyres guarantee a very low footprint in snow or marshy conditions. A third Kamaz exhibit was a Model 5490 tractor that had a Chinese Weichai Power Euro 5 LNG engine of 298kW (400hp) and 16-speed ZF transmission under the modified Mercedes Axor cab.

Photo: With its articulated frame and huge balloon tyres, the Kamaz 6355 ‘Arctic‘ can master the toughest of muddy or snowy conditions.

Photos: A real attention grabber was this 12-metre-long Kamaz 6355 ‘Arctic‘ with 8×8 drive for off-road operation in Siberia.

Belarus truck maker MAZ also showed a tractor fitted with the Weichai WP12NG liquefied gas diesel engine and ZF 16-speed box. With a combined tank capacity of 700 litres, it can drive approximately 500km before refuelling. The GAZ Group exhibited its new truck range at the IAA Commercial Vehicles in Hanover last year, and in Moscow displayed a new addition in the form of a 10-tonne GAZon NEXT model that can run on LNG/CNG gas. This truck was primarily designed for fast long-distance work in the medium-weight sector. With its 126kW (170hp) 6-cylinder Euro 5 diesel engine and 9-speed transmission, it can easily top 105kph.

Photo: New Kamaz 5490 tractor with LNG engine for long-distance work.

UraLAZ unveiled yet another update of its longstanding forward-control truck with old Iveco TurboStar cab. It is amazing how much a basic cab can still be transformed into something much more up to date in looks. For many years Chinese truck manufacturers have been real masters in this respect. The Ural C26.328R 6×4 dump truck at the show definitely looked utilitarian. It is equipped with a 244kW (328hp) YAMZ Euro 5 diesel engine with a 9-speed ZF gearbox behind. The drive axles are a Chinese product. Iveco is a major player in Russia thanks to a long standing joint venture with AMT. They showed a 6×6 heavy-duty Trakker for a train weight of 97 tonnes. It was powered by a 13-litre Cursor diesel engine developing 335kW (450hp), and behind it a ZF 16-speed transmission. As well as a FH460 with a liquefied natural gas engine, Volvo showed the autonomous Vera concept vehicle in Moscow.

Photo: The new GAZon NEXT 10-tonner with LNG/CNG engine is specially built for long-haul express goods haulage.

A fully new entrant on the market is the Almatruck made by the Saktagan Company in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 6×4 truck is a joint project with China‘s C&C Trucks and uses a 6-cylinder Yuchai Euro 5 engine matched to a 12-speed Fast transmission. Thanks to the modern cab that was designed by Torino in Italy, the newcomer attracted a lot of attention. Although not yet as familiar as in the West, the show proved that the Russians are definitely encouraging the use of alternative fuels for commercial vehicles. New LNG and CNG vehicles dominated at Comtrans 2019 and this clearly demonstrated that such trucks and buses also have a future on this continent.

Photo: This Ural C26.328 6×4 dump truck is fitted with a cleverly disguised 1980‘s Iveco TurboStar cab.

Photo: The MAZ 54A02 tractor is powered by a Chinese Weichai LNG engine.

Photo: Iveco-AMT showed this heavy-duty 6×6 Trakker chassis with a gross weight of 97 tonnes.

Photo: The Romanian ATP Trucks Automobile presented its first truck under the name TRUSTON. The cab is based on a Chinese Shaanxi X3000 structure. Engine is a Weichai Power WP12 Euro 6 diesel of 320kW (430hp). Transmission is a Fast 16-speed box. Using Chinese components, the Romanians can offer this 8×4 chassis for €85,000 (NZ$143,246), the lowest price for a dump truck on the European market.