Mitsubishi FH: the powerful and very reliable locally assembled medium duty king of the road
“A powerful engine and a functionally designed interior emphasizing comfort and enhanced operation serve to reduce driver fatigue and adds to safety,” Mutua stresses
In the local medium passenger and cargo transport business, the name Mitsubishi FH has become synonymous with entrepreneurs in the transport sector.
To many, this is the most reliable most powerful locally built medium duty truck and bus chassis which has literally moved to win the hearts of horticultural farmers, matatu owners’ and general transport service operators alike.
So popular is the Mitsubishi FH 215, that in the entire new vehicle models range sold
in Kenya, it remains the single largest selling vehicle model commanding a nearly 70% market share of the 7-10 ton Gross Vehicle Weight (G.V.W.) medium duty trucks market
As a product of the world renowned Japan based Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Company (MFTBC) which is an integral part of the Daimler Trucks Division of Germany’s Daimler AG, the runaway success of this vehicle model locally sold and serviced exclusively by Simba Colt Motors (SCM) has been attributed to its superior engineering and extensive tropicalisation to meet local road and operational conditions.
Under the supervision of MFTBC, the Mitsubishi FH 215 is one of the premium products assembled at the Mombasa based Associated Vehicle Assemblers (AVA) plant to further confirm Kenya’s world class manufacturing capacity.
Back at the Simba Colt Motors (SCM) Showroom along Nairobi’s Mombasa Road dual carriage way, Senior Sales Executive Mr. Antony Mutua is busy attending to existing customers and potential ones alike literally waxing lyrical about the salient features of the Mitsubishi FH 215.
Having sold Mitsubishi FH to thousands of customers countrywide, largely on referrals, Mutua is now fondly known among his workmates and customers as Baba FH!
Alongside his colleagues, Baba FH has literally overseen the heralding of a new dawn within the last decade which has seen the placing of more than 10,000 Mitsubishi FH units on our roads.
With standard features including, a luxury driver’s Cab and 20-ft chassis with a five speed direct injection diesel engine, Mutua notes that the Mitsubishi FH 215 is by far a compact workhorse. Other peerless features loaded on the model include: Power Steering and exhaust braking system.
Today, the Mitsubishi FH 215 is sold at SCM and through a countrywide dealer network and is by far the preferred public transport vehicle on upcountry routes to Machakos, Kitui, Kinangop and North Coast among other areas. In the fish landing bays along Lake Victoria, Mitsubishi FH remains the preferred refrigerated truck with the same story replicating itself in virtually all the flower farms in Kenya, Mutua reckons.
So, how did such a model get to such a coveted position? Mutua is quick to attribute the Mitsubishi FH’s road success on superior engineering while factoring in local demands.
“Kenyans are very clear on what they need from a medium duty truck and whereas getting such a model on the global market is still a challenge, Simba Colt Motors association with MFTBC and AVA has proven that teamwork can produce a model to literally take the market by storm,” Mutua explains.
And adds: “that’s the same story with the Mitsubishi Fuso lorry which is the preferred transport truck in Northern Kenya!”
Back to the Mitsbushi FH215, Mutua outlines the bare facts leading to its success. Firstly, he sums up this medium duty truck as simply powerful, practical and the best value for money in Kenya’s transportation industry.
With a 160PS engine offering upgraded levels of power performance, Mitsubishi FH also features a newly-designed short cab that increases the overall load capacity. The 6D 14-3A direct injection diesel engine adopting a new Inertia Charging System offers greater power output and torque and is perfect for both short and medium distance operation, as well as applications in special purpose vehicles.
With such a great engine, Mutua explains that the integration of a stronger and longer chassis dramatically upgrades its durability effectively presenting a medium-duty truck that changes the standards of its generation.
For driver comfort, the cabin is compact, yet not confining to the driver, and also styled to reduce air resistance and improve on fuel economy. For the customers’ sake, Mutua reckons that practicality is also about style, the cab’s flush surfaces look great, they also reduce air resistance and that means improved fuel economy.
“A powerful engine and a functionally designed interior emphasizing comfort and enhanced operation serve to reduce driver fatigue and adds to safety,” Mutua stresses.
Further, the newly adopted frame construction assures chassis rigidity, dramatically upgrading durability while offering greater load capacity and improved maneuverability that’s changing the standards for medium-duty trucks.
For the matatu or medium haul driver, the Mitsubishi FH drivers cabin offers a matchless standard of comfort and drive ability. Its wide seats with a long seat slide adjustment and the tilt steering are all standard features that provide for an optimum driving position.
Further adding to driver comfort, the gear shift and the parking brake levers are centrally located for extra ease of operation. In total and in detail, the Mitsubishi FH 215 has been designed with the driver in mind. The result is a comfortable fatigue reducing environment that enhances overall operational safety and leads to greater productivity.
Structurally, Baba FH adds that the newly designed frame offers superior overall reliability, durability and strength against torsional stress. Loaded and on the move, the reinforced chassis adopted in the Mitsubishi FH 215 assures upgraded load handling and maneuverability.
To help dissipate torsional stress, the side rails and cross member connections are web riveted at the sides. The new frame offers rivetless top surfaces to simplify rear body mounting. “The result is a frame with outstanding rigidity and balance even under severe operating conditions,” Mutua assures.
To enhance its safety and efficient operation, the Mitsubishi FH also features an exhaust brake system. Exhaust braking which complements the foot brake pedal is just a simple flick of the switch located on the conveniently located multi-use lever and the driver engages the exhaust brake for slowing down on long downhill grades or arresting speed during a high speed run.