Scania R450 used in Berlin Terror Attack
Terrorists have again used a commercial semi truck to commit acts of mass violence, this time in Germany’s capital city of Berlin on December 19, 2016. The truck drove through a crowded town square full of people shopping the Christmas booths set up along a pedestrian area, killing 12 people and injuring 48 more. The act was done in a similar fashion as the truck attack in Nice, France on July 14, 2016.
The dozens of photos taken of the scene clearly show the horrific aftermath. Also clearly visible is the make of the semi truck. It is a Scania R450 with the R-Sleeper-Topline cab. Scania, a Swedish brand with a rich history, is 70-percent owned by Volkswagen and 17 percent owned by MAN, which itself is also heavily owned by Volkswagen.
The particular truck features a short wheelbase, and according to specifications on Scania’s website, likely has a 6x4 drive configuration, meaning the four rear tires drive the truck while the front tires only steer. The full-length trailer has six wheels, three on each side, and has canvas sides. The truck was reportedly stolen from the Polish trucking company Ariel Zurawski, named after its founder and current owner.
Reports say it was Zurawski’s cousin who was operating the truck on a route from Italy to Berlin when it was purportedly hijacked. Zurawski’s cousin was found shot to death inside the truck when authorities reached the scene. The hijacker has not been found. The truck was loaded with 25 tons of steel.
We will update this story if further details come to light regarding the truck.
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Volkswagen’s automotive diversity makes it the European General Motors. VW announced it has cleared the last anti-trust hurdle and will up its ownership of Swedish the truck manufacturer from 20.9% to a majority 68.6%. The total value of deal is worth 2.8 billion euros ($4.4 billion). In fact, the this merger may help set up VW for an even larger merger with Man - a commercial truck builder that is Scania’s next largest shareholder and is already partially owned by VW.
Although merger news is not usually exciting, especially commercial truck merger news, this is showing how large of an automotive juggernaut VW is. Just like GM, VW has many passenger car brands, and now this merger is a big step in expanding its already extensive commercial vehicle business. But unlike GM, Volkswagen is less centralized. According to Volkswagen Chief Executive Martin Winterkorn, "As with all of our group brands, Scania will retain its own corporate headquarters, its own culture and its own profile." Keeping all the companies out of Wolfsburg has worked well for VW so far, but as BMW proved with Rover in the 90s, it’s a tough one to get right.
While this is happening, Porsche is actively working with European regulators to finish acquiring a majority stake in Volkswagen. So, maybe it’s more appropriate say that Porsche is Europe’s General Motors.
Scania OmniCity has been something of a trendsetter when it comes to new city bus design, with its gentle rounded contours and large glass panels. The OmniCity has an all-through low floor and it is available in both normal 12-metre guise and as a three-axle articulated bus measuring 18 metres.