by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

Daimler helps out with 50 vehicles in Japan


- Daimler to provide off-road commercial vehicles for use in the disaster area in Japan
- Highly mobile Mercedes-Benz and Fuso off-road-capable trucks ideal for rubble clearance operations in severely affected areas
- Mercedes-Benz vehicles air-lifted in two Antonov 124s – the world’s largest cargo aircraft
- Daimler employee donation campaign raises well over half a million euros for Japan so far

Stuttgart, Germany, Apr 19, 2011 – Following Daimler’s immediate donation of two million euros as short-term assistance for the earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan, 50 Daimler vehicles, representing a combined value of around four million euros, have now been made available to the Tokyo-based Japanese aid organisation Nippon Foundation. The vehicles will be used for aid and clearance operations, particularly in the tsunami-affected area in northeastern Japan.

Recognising the rescue effort as a worthy challenge for its transport mobility skills, Daimler is to provide assistance in the form of 50 Fuso and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. These include eight Mercedes-Benz Zetros trucks, four Mercedes-Benz Unimog vehicles and eight Mercedes-Benz G-Class off-roaders. The fleet will also include 30 Fuso Canter trucks produced in Japan. Service support in Japan will be organised via the Mercedes-Benz and Fuso dealership networks. The Mercedes-Benz vehicles are to be air-freighted from Stuttgart to Japan in two of the world’s largest cargo aircraft, the Antonov 124, to be deployed in the disaster area together with the Fuso trucks from Japan.

Fast, global “emergency” logistics operation

Air-freighting this valuable cargo in two Antonov 124s, the world’s largest cargo aircraft, is an outstanding example of fast and efficient logistics in a time of need. Air transport capability is built into the design of these off-road Mercedes-Benz vehicles, so an airlift is clearly the fastest way to get them to the disaster area. They will be used to transport aid materials quickly and efficiently from local ports to the aid bases, and to distribute the items to local inhabitants in areas where road access has been lost. The Mercedes-Benz off-road capable vehicles will also be supported by the global Mercedes-Benz service network, comprising over 5,000 Mercedes-Benz authorised workshops in more than 160 countries.

Design advantages of Mercedes-Benz high-mobility off-roaders

The design features of these Mercedes-Benz off-road-capable vehicles make them ideal for aid distribution tasks and for supporting rubble clearance operations. Their outstanding manoeuvrability and off-road performance ensure reliable access to the deployment zone. Contrary to the special machines used for rescue and clearance operations, the Mercedes-Benz vehicles can also be used for high-speed transport from Narita airport near Tokyo over the still-intact motorway network to the disaster zone in the north of the country. From there they can deliver the much-needed materials to reception points and into the worst-affected areas, driving at walking pace over piles of rubble and around impassable sections of road.

The Mercedes-Benz all-wheel-drive G-Class, Unimog and Zetros vehicles are specifically designed for maximum off-road capability. All-wheel-drive, inter-wheel and inter-axle differential locks and high-torque engines provide the performance required to handle even the most extreme driving situations. The technology of Mercedes-Benz all-wheel-drive vehicles enables them to cope with gradients of up to 80 percent, or even 100 percent in the case of the Unimog.

Wherever road access is difficult, and a vehicle’s route is dictated by the gradients or terrain it can negotiate, as is the case for disaster aid in the Japanese earthquake zone, Mercedes-Benz off-road vehicles are the ideal solution.

The Mercedes-Benz Zetros continues the tradition of the worldwide legendary reputation of Mercedes-Benz CBE (cab-before-engine) trucks, as a robust and reliable vehicle, with design features perfectly adapted for steep slopes and rough terrain. The low overall height characteristic of a CBE truck allows transportation by rail or air.

Thanks to the low cab design, Zetros 4x4 and 6x6 trucks can be loaded into transport aircraft such as the Hercules C 130 or Transall C 160 – and now the Antonov 124 – after only minimal preparation time. Compliance with international rail cargo dimensions also provides full rail transport capability.

The high-mobility Unimog U 5000 off-roader series is a legend in its own time, with unmatched performance in difficult terrain away from any roads or tracks. The Unimog is the world’s most outstanding off-road vehicle in the weight class between 7.5 t and 14.1 t GVWR. This makes the Unimog ideal for missions in the toughest terrain and conditions across all continents of the world. The high-mobility Unimog off-road model series is therefore widely used by humanitarian aid organisations, fire brigades and civil defence organisations, and for missions in the world’s more remote regions. All Unimog vehicles have a short-bonnet cab, and are extremely manoeuvrable, thanks to their compact dimensions. The Unimog can ford depths of up to 1000 mm.

The Unimog U 5000 is already well known in Japan. It is used as a fire engine by the fire brigades in many prefectures, particularly for fighting forest fires and emergency assistance in the event of the earthquakes than can strike at any time in any part of Japan.

The Mercedes-Benz G-Class off-roader has closely related genes to those of the Unimog, and it too offers unbeatable performance in off-road situations. Civil defence organisations use it for guide and reconnaissance purposes, and also as a highly manoeuvrable “first aid” vehicle.

Generous donations from Daimler employees

The donation campaign organised by Daimler AG has been supported by more than 10,000 Daimler employees throughout Germany, with total donations of well over half a million euros. The funds are to be channelled through the Japanese Red Cross.

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