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Kamaz: The Russian Heavy Truck Brand that Wins Dakar Rallies

October 14, 2016       Muscle Machines
Kamaz: The 13-Time
Rally Champion
from Russia

You've probably seen one of them hauling cargo around Manila or delivering stuff around the city or in the provinces.

KAMAZ is a heavy-duty truck that might be the new workhorse of Filipino cargo businesses if President Duterte continues his economic trade overtures with Russia and drop the U.S. as the Philippines primary trading partner.

Chinese heavy truck brands are known to be serviceable workhorses for a third of the price of western high-end brands like Mercedes-Benz, MAN, and Scania or Japanese brands like Hino and Fuso.

Image Credit: KAMAZ press photo

President Roddy Duterte has assumed an interest in expanding trade and economic ties with Russia instead of relying on long-time partner, the United States.  Because of this we can start looking at Russian products that have made their name in the world as quality brands recognized for their quality and exemplary performance.  Russian brand goods have a reputation to be of high quality craftsmanship and being easy to repair or maintain. 

KAMAZ used to be an exclusive provider of military heavy-duty trucks to the Soviet army, but since Perestroika in the early 90s, the brand has made its ubiquitous products available to the world.  KAMAZ heavy-duty workhorse trucks can provide for safe transport of goods even in the most inhospitable road and off-road conditions.  KAMAZ is heavily used even by ASEAN and East Asia in mining operations and also for cargo delivery and security armored vehicles.

Image Credit:  Vitaly V. Kuzmin  for WikiCommons CC  BY-SA 4.0
A modern KAMAZ 6560 cargo truck.

As part of its brand pedigree, KAMAZ has been winning the Paris-Dakar endurance rally race consistently as a manufacturer brand against the best of western and Japanese heavy truck makers like MAN, Scania, Mercedes-Benz, and Hino who also compete on-and-off in the desert endurance rally.  The KAMAZ master series, off-road rally heavy truck has consistently won the Dakar endurance race for 13 times over the past 15 years!

Image Credit: KAMAZ press photo

The KAMAZ-Master team started off-road racing in 1988 with the 10 000 km, Paris-Dakar rally.  To their credit, the Russian truck racing team has never missed a race even when financial setbacks and political changes burdened Russia and could have shut down the team. 

Since 2000, KAMAZ-Master has been winning either first or second place in the desert endurance rally.
KAMAZ even won all three categories in the racing division of trucks weighing over 3,500 kg.

Anyone who says Russian products are shoddy should just look at their magnificent brands like Ural Motorcycles (this motorcycle is exclusively distritbuted by Ropali Classics in the Philippines), all of their watch brands like Raketa, Poljot, and Vostok, as well as our current example, KAMAZ trucks.

KAMAZ Team: Smart Ideas and Practical Design

KAMAZ trucks are still the same heavy military transport designs from the mid-70s that have achieved far more success than the hight-tech, western heavy truck brands in the Dakar rally.  Which proves that the best brand you can count on if you want a heavy-duty vehicle that performs better than expected under the most rigorous road conditions may be Russian.

First generation KAMAZ heavy cargo truck  from 1976-2000  shown
here carrying stuff in Afghanistan.

It has been a serviceable workhorse for the Soviet and Russian military that has been made available as a commercial cargo vehicle and a series-produced truck line.  As part of its efforts to continue improving the brand, KAMAZ partners with proven brands like Cummins from the U.S, a proven manufacturer of reliable, heavy duty engines for heavy vehicles.  The relationship has proven fruitful because aside from their own in-house engine technology, KAMAZ is getting the best components to enhance its brand performance and reliability.

Image Credit: KAMAZ press photo

The Paris-Dakar endurance rally experience has allowed the KAMAZ design team to try out new truck components in the most stressful off-road conditions. Most of the great ideas for upgrading the truck's make, engine and suspension were made by KAMAZ-Master racing team which has a workshop  with 100 technical and engineering pros calibrating the truck to perform better.  All the new technology developed via testing in the Dakar race are then implemented in building KAMAZ's series-produced commercial cargo trucks.

Image Credit:  Andshel for WikiCommons  CC BY-SA 3.0
The 4th Generation Kamaz Truck Cabin

On their website, KAMAZ has a configurator option for custom makes so you can choose the kind of heavy cargo truck (4x4, 6x5--wheel types, and cab configurations) or any-purpose truck you want to purchase from them.    

If relations with long-time ally, America, get sour, and President Duterte chooses to get our country's needs with a better ally, like Russia, KAMAZ trucks may be one of the world's finest brands for the country to invest in.  Both as military truck choice and as worktool for local truck cargo businesses.


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