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RENAULT PREMIUM LONG DISTANCE LEADING IN GERMAN HAULIER’S THREE YEAR COMPARATIVE TEST

Carried out jointly by German haulier Joachim Fehrenkötter, owner of the Group with the same name, and the ETM-Verlag press group, the "Fehrenkötter" test pits seven trucks from the seven brands on the German market against each other over a three-year period. The aim is to judge which truck proves to be the most economical when driven under actual operating conditions during this time. All the criteria - reliability, consumption and manufacturer's aftersales services – are analysed and used to draw up ongoing rankings. Two years into the 3-year testing programme, the Renault Trucks Premium Long Distance is retaining its lead in the rankings due to its low consumption and standard-setting reliability.

A haulier operating for many years in Germany, the Fehrenkötter group is specialised in the international transport of farm machinery, camping cars and transport vehicles. It has a fleet of some 200 vehicles, for many years supplied by a single brand. Then, one day in 2007, the company's boss, Joachim Fehrenkötter, had the idea of buying a truck from each of the 7 brands supplying the German market and testing them over a three-year period. His aim was to determine, and then choose, the one which proved to be the best not only in terms of reliability and operating costs, but also services and customer relations. This private test is all the more representative since it is carried out with production vehicles, with equivalent power ratings and under this company's actual operating conditions. The seven trucks are all 6x2 rigids with power ratings ranging from 400 to 420 hp. The Renault Trucks vehicle is a Premium Long Distance 410.25 6x2 rigid. It is driven by a single driver for assignments in Germany and by two others for deliveries throughout Europe. It has already covered more than 350,000 km.

With two thirds of the three-year test period behind it, the Renault Premium Long Distance is outranking all its rivals. It is considered to be a champion in terms of cost savings, for its consumption is lower than any of the others and its operating costs are by far the most economical.

The test is being jointly organised by hauliers Spedition Fehrenkötter and the ETM Verlag publishing group. They are solely responsible for gathering the data - neither Renault Trucks nor any of the other manufacturers are involved in any way. All costs generated by the vehicles (purchases, maintenance, breakdowns, repairs, etc.) are recorded and incorporated into a global cost price which determines the order of rankings. The Premium Long Distance holds the record for the lowest consumption which is on average, 31.9 L. This is almost 1 L less per 100 km than its nearest rival. It is also the vehicle with the lowest operating costs per kilometre: 66.93 eurocents/km, of which 31.50 eurocents/km are fixed costs and 35.43 eurocents/km variable costs. When added up, these excellent results allow it to maintain the N° 1 position in the overall rankings.

In addition to the vehicles themselves, the haulier is also comparing each brand's aftersales services and the quality of the relationship they maintain with the customer. Every time each vehicle goes in for maintenance or repairs, the cost of the operation and spare parts are incorporated into the truck's overall operating costs. It should also be pointed out that all these trucks were purchased without any centralised maintenance contract.

Although this ranking is not a surprise for Renault Trucks, it is still something that the brand can be proud of, since the Premium Long Distance's qualities are here being demonstrated by a test carried out under real, everyday operating conditions. Even if we have to wait until the end of the test in September 2010 for a definitive result, this leading position already gives Renault Trucks cause for satisfaction. It is also an encouragement for the manufacturer to continue further improving the quality of its products and the services it provides to its customers.

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