As good as new

As good as new
Published: 30 May 2019 - 1 p.m.
By: Dennis Daniel

Used trucks represent a strategic sector for Renault Trucks, which offers the product line and after-sales service through its business division ‘Used Trucks by Renault Trucks’. Renault Trucks has seen year-on-year growth in sales of its used trucks since 2017 when the manufacturer opened a used trucks factory at its Bourg-en-Bresse plant in France to recondition vehicles. In 2018, Renault Trucks invoiced 8,500 used trucks, globally, a 23% increase over the previous year. Renault estimates that sales will increase to over 9,000 units in 2019.

The Renault Used Trucks Centre in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Industrial Area offers a selection of used tractor and rigid Renault trucks for the Middle East and Africa. The year-on-year sales of used trucks in the Middle East and Africa have doubled since 2017. Some of the biggest customers in the region have been fleet operators in Sudan and Bahrain that procured 90 and 30 units of the Renault T X-Road tractor, respectively.

Belkacem Sakou, regional business manager, Renault Trucks International – Used Trucks, says: “There is an emerging market for used trucks in the region. We anticipated this need by offering used trucks converted in Europe and adapted to the different road and environmental conditions in the Middle East and Africa. As a manufacturer, we also maintain the quality of new Renault Trucks on used vehicles,” says Sakou.

One of the challenges Renault has had to tackle since launching the used trucks division in the UAE is customer perception. Common misconceptions about used trucks include: buyers of used trucks cannot afford new trucks and that they would have to compromise on performance and safety features when opting for used trucks. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, Sakou points out, indicating that fleet operators of all sizes and budgets are investing in used trucks.

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Belkacem Sakou, regional business manager, Renault Trucks International – Used Trucks

Sakou explains the profile of used truck customers in the Middle East and Africa. “Our customers can easily afford new trucks but opt for used trucks for specific reasons. For example, a trucking business might see a sudden growth in orders and new projects which create an immediate requirement for several trucks. However, the lead time for new trucks could range from three to six months. In such cases, used trucks is the best option to expand a fleet because they can be delivered within 1–2 days because we maintain an inventory of used trucks, locally.”

“Some of these customers win contracts ranging from a few months to a year. They wouldn’t want to invest in new trucks because they wouldn’t be able to justify the higher investment after the expiry of the contracts. Buying used trucks at less than 50% of the price of new trucks is a more attractive proposition for such customers,” he adds.

Another category of used truck customers are entrepreneurs who want to start a business with the lowest fixed costs possible.

“These kind of customers choose used trucks because it’s the fastest and easiest way for market entry. They do not bear any risk because they deal with official Renault dealers and sometimes with Renault directly and benefit from the warranty and after sales services that unofficial used truck traders cannot provide,” says Sakou.
Refurbished trucks also serve as entry-level models in terms of pricing. This helps Renault Trucks offer a superior alternative to brands that compete only on price.

“Customers can buy a used Renault Truck at the same or lower price than a new truck from a cheaper, low-quality brand. They also get the performance and after-sales service of a new Renault truck with the full support of Renault Trucks and its importers,” says Sakou.

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The Renault Used Trucks Centre in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Industrial Area.

Renault Trucks eliminates the risks of investing in used trucks by allocating the same resources and expertise used in the production of new trucks for refurbishment of trucks. The manufacturing process and quality control during refurbishment meet the same demanding standards as those applied when manufacturing a new vehicle.

The used truck production line at Renault’s Bourg-en-Bresse plant follows the same quality processes as those of new trucks. All the trucks refurbished in France are vehicles originally manufactured and sold in Europe and returned through a buy-back programme. This closed-loop cycle enables Renault Trucks to keep track of the utilisation of a truck during its first life and provide the full history of the truck to potential used truck buyers.
The trucks selected for refurbishment are thoroughly inspected against a 200-point checklist in accordance with Renault Trucks’ standards and procedures.

Two main types of refurbishment happens at the Bourg-en-Bresse plant: tractors converted into carriers and long road vehicles converted into worksite supply trucks.

Tractors from the Premium Route and T range are converted into rigid versions. To carry out the conversion, the cab, drive chain and suspension are removed in order to change the rails. This method enables the manufacturer to offer long wheelbases and ensure the robustness of the vehicle for all types of bodies and use.

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The T X-Road, the flagship model of Renault Used Trucks, is a T range truck transformed and adapted for tipper or semi-tipper applications in construction and heavy material transportation. The T X-Road is refurbished only in the Bourg-en-Bresse plant in France and shipped as a finished product. The T X-Road model is modified with reinforced body parts, ground clearance increased by up to 60 mm to overcome obstacles, engine with off-road mode gearbox, hand throttle and differential lock for maximum traction and mobility. Customers can configure the T X-Road with tailor made options to fit their business needs, by including a hydraulic kit, radiator protective skid, rear axle ratio, LED rotating beacon lighting, additional tanks and fifth wheel height.

“We do not compromise on safety, and therefore, we will repair and replace all critical parts required to comply with the highest safety and emission standards and regulations. We also take into account the lack of load regulations in certain markets in the MEA region and shortage of skilled drivers, and therefore, make the trucks more robust and adapted specifically for working conditions in this region,” says Sakou.

“For non-critical parts such as a torn driver seat or a scratched surface, we share the 200-point checklist with our customers so that they can decide the extent of refurbishment according to their budgets. At any point in time, we have refurbished trucks ready for shipment from several locations in Europe, in addition to our stock in the UAE. If a truck is not available in stock in the UAE, we deliver it within six weeks,” he adds.

The after-sales services available for Renault used trucks are the same as that of its new trucks. Renault Trucks offers a standard international warranty of six months on its refurbished models. The T X-Road refurbished model, however, comes an extended warranty of 12 months or 120,000 km on the drivetrain including engine, gearbox and bridge.

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The Renault Used Trucks Centre in Dubai’s Jebel Ali Industrial Area.

To serve its growing market demand, Renault aims to refurbish 10% of its total used trucks at the Bourg-en-Bresse used trucks factory. From 2017–18, the number of trucks reconditioned at the factory increased from 230 to 400. Renault estimates the production will increase to 600 units in 2019 and 800–1000 units in 2020.
In the UAE, Renault Trucks handles a small portion of its used truck sales directly and maintains a team of sales staff dedicated for the used truck business. However, the bulk of its orders are fulfilled through its local importers.

“Our importers are responsible for the majority of used truck sales. In 2018, our importers delivered 80% of the sales of used trucks, compared to 60% in 2017. The increase in their share of the Renault used truck business indicates that the market for used trucks is growing every year,” says Sakou.

Renault Trucks supports its importers in the UAE with a trade-in option, which enables them to buy any brand of used truck from Renault Truck customers, provided the truck qualifies Renault’s minimum quality criteria. The trade-in trucks are refurbished at the Renault Used Trucks Centre in Dubai for the Middle East and Africa.

“We want to ensure that our customers opt for Renault, whether they are purchasing new or used trucks. Our importers who have the expertise in sales and after-sales of new Renault trucks are the ideal partners to also sell used vehicles. We do not need additional resources because our technicians and sales staff are fully trained to sell and service all new Renault Truck models and now they have an additional product line that complements their existing portfolio. Customers benefit from having more choice of products, pricing and delivery schedules,” says Sakou.

As Renault Trucks importers show more interest in the market for used trucks and promote them alongside new trucks, the manufacturer is planning to introduce financing services for used trucks.

“Our importers see used trucks as a new business opportunity for both customer retention and acquisition. Our dealers in Sudan and Kenya, for example, are displaying Renault used trucks alongside new trucks in their showrooms. As demand for used trucks grows, we intend to support our customers with financing services in the near future. A used truck business can be as professional as a new truck business. If Renault can deliver its brand promise for new trucks, customers will find that we can also deliver the same promise on used trucks,” says Sakou.

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