Actively involved in the Dakar for almost 30 years, Renault Trucks once again took part in the 2010 edition, the second to be organised in South America, between Chile and Argentina. Mainly involved in assisting competing customers, the Renault Kerax vehicles on the Dakar fulfilled their role with flawless reliability, supplying spare parts to competitors as required at every bivouac. Renault Trucks once again took advantage of this Dakar in South America to meet its customers all along the route, reflecting the increasingly closer contact it is establishing with them, particularly via a newly-opened Argentinian dealership located in the Buenos Aires region. This means there are now a total of 14 dealers in Argentina and 12 in Chile.
With 16 Renault Kerax involved in various capacities during the Rally (competition, assistance, vehicles operated by the organising body, etc.) and a Sherpa making a "guest appearance" as a press car for local journalists, Renault Trucks once again played a key role in the Dakar 2010. The strength, reliability and robustness of the Renault Kerax have made it the ideal partner for the Dakar over the years. For the second time running, it was accompanied by the Renault Sherpa, an adaptation of a military vehicle, specially fitted out for the Rally after taking part in the Cape to Cape expedition. As always, it was one of the major attractions of the event, generating a great deal of admiration and curiosity from all the South American spectators, particularly car enthusiasts and motor racing fans. This fervent interest was not however limited to spectators, for Renault Trucks took advantage of the Rally to strengthen its ties with customers before, during and after the event.
A few weeks before the departure, Renault Trucks launched the "Renault Trucks Special Correspondent" competition for its dealership personnel and customers, the prizes being two seats in the assistance truck during the Rally. So many wanted to take part that very stringent selection criteria concerning motivation, driving skills and entrants’ technical knowledge had to be applied, with only two finally being selected. This process was keenly followed by all the enthusiasts, as was the entire Rally, via the http://rally-renault-trucks.com/fr/ blog, available in three languages (French, English and Spanish) and still active.
At the same time, at all points along the route, Renault Trucks made contact with its customers to meet those who use its vehicles on a day-to-day basis and are, therefore, best qualified to talk about them. "Seeing the Kerax taking part in the Dakar helped me decide to buy one," explains Julios Cesar Puebla, President of Minor SA (Argentina). "We tested it for a year in our limestone quarries that have gradients of 9%. And as it gave the driver confidence and security, we bought more and now operate about 10 of them!" Good news for Alerto Mortio, a driver at Minar SA: "This truck is very comfortable and manoeuvrable and very reassuring with its extremely efficient dual position retarder. In fact, it's almost like driving a modern car and really stands out from all the other trucks I've ever driven!" Further on down the route, Rodolfo Sanchez, who runs Sanchez-Huertas SRL at San Juan in Argentina, confirms this opinion: "We've been using the Kerax for a year now. We first of all chose it for its power, one of the highest on the market. And we're very pleased with it. The Kerax is tough and powerful, while at the same time manageable, which gives the drivers confidence. We’re thinking of buying 6 or 7 more in 2010."
In neighbouring Chile, Juan Mercado, a driver with Transportes Verasay in Copiapo, heaps praise on the Kerax "beast of burden": "We carry minerals and the truck has been working around the clock 365 days a year for the past three years. The roads here are in very poor condition and there isn't much space for turning, but the Kerax is perfect for this type of terrain because it is powerful and also manoeuvrable. Particularly since the gearbox is so smooth - making it very comfortable to drive. In the three years we’ve been using it, it has never let us down!" Over the next few weeks, we can bank on hearing more comments like these, for Renault Trucks has decided to extend the Dakar by sending the Kerax and "Dakar" Sherpa on a tour of its sales outlets during the entire month of March.
In particular, this caravan will call in on the most recent Renault Trucks dealership, at Logibal in the Buenos Aires region, inaugurated at the end of 2009 at a ceremony attended by 250 customers and journalists, as well as Frédéric Mouret, Senior Vice-President of Renault Trucks International and Patrick Gardier, Senior-Vice President in charge of quality. This new dealership brings the number of Renault Trucks sales and service outlets in South America up to 26 (14 in Argentina and 12 in Chile). It boosts Renault Trucks' network and sales capacity in these countries, reasserting the brand's determination to conquer new markets.