The new Fuso Canter: revolutionary Duonic dual-clutch transmission, more economical, more functional and more comfortable
Nov 08, 2011
  • Duonic: fully automated dual-clutch transmission available for trucks for the first time
  • Modern Euro 5 engines with very wide effective engine speed range
  • Start/stop function reduces fuel consumption
  • Maintenance costs reduced
  • Front axle with independent suspension for the 3.5-tonne model
  • New design, new cockpit
  • Long-term corrosion protection
  • More variants, payload increased further
  • New wheelbases, new frames, enhanced body mounting ability
  • Tramagal: the Canter for Europe – quality from Portugal and Japan

Stuttgart/Ludwigsburg – The new Fuso Canter is all set to enter into its next generation. The internal abbreviation for the global bestseller from Daimler Trucks is now TF (as successor of the successful TD). Fuso is consolidating its technical leadership in the light truck segment with Duonic, the first dual-clutch transmission for trucks. In conjunction with extended service intervals, an increased payload and much lower maintenance costs, the new Fuso Canter is now even more economical than before. The chassis of the 3.5-tonne variant features independent suspension on the front axle for the first time. The heavier models now have an Electronic Stability Program (ESP) available as an option. The driver’s cab, which has been redesigned inside and out, now offers even greater operating comfort. Deliveries of the new Canter for Europe will commence from the plant in Tramagal, Portugal, in October.
Duonic: fully automated dual-clutch transmission available for trucks for the first time
The Duonic dual-clutch transmission is one of the new Fuso Canter’s outstanding technical innovations: it is the first truck in the world to feature this technology. In addition to lower fuel consumption, the direct-shift transmission, well known from its use in passenger cars, causes less wear to auxiliary equipment, reduces the burden on the driver, particularly on short trips, and combines the convenience benefits of an automatic transmission with the economy of a manual transmission.
The compact Duonic dual-clutch transmission is based on a mechanical six-gear manual transmission, with two hydraulic wet clutches and electronic control. The two maintenance-free clutches are arranged concentrically and integrated into the gearbox housing. Clutch number one is used for forward gears one, three and five, while clutch two handles gears two, four and six. The great advantage of a dual-clutch transmission is that the next gear is already engaged while driving, allowing extremely fast and completely smooth gear shifting.
Fast and completely smooth gear shifting, high level of efficiency
In comparison with a standard automatic transmission with torque converter, the Duonic dual-clutch transmission with wear-free clutch offers significant advantages: gear changing is more comfortable, since it is completely smooth and there is no interruption in the flow of power. The inevitable torque losses of an automatic transmission are also eliminated, since the Duonic dual-clutch transmission operates with the high level of efficiency of a mechanical transmission.
However, the Duonic dual-clutch transmission borrows the practical creep function from the automatic transmission. This allows manoeuvring at low speed, controlling the vehicle’s movement with just the brake pedal. The transmission system also features a parking position.
Simple to operate, manual gear change possible at any time
As with a standard automatic transmission, or a modern automatic transmission with torque converter, it is possible to change gears manually at any time with the Duonic dual-clutch transmission by briefly pressing the joystick selector lever on the instrument panel.
Moving the selector lever briefly to the left allows the driver to shift between automatic and manual gearshift modes. The selector lever moves in two gates: in the left-hand gate, the selector lever is in position “D” for the fully automatic mode. If necessary, the driver can change to manual gearshift by briefly pushing the lever up or down. If the lever is pushed to the right, the selector lever in the right-hand gate moves into position “N” for neutral. From this position, pushing the lever up engages the parking position, while pushing it down engages reverse gear.
Comparison measurements have demonstrated that the Duonic dual-clutch transmission operates as economically as the manual Canter transmission. In fact, with inexperienced drivers, the Duonic dual-clutch transmission almost invariably results in a significant reduction in fuel consumption. The same is true for the optional Eco mode, which has shift points for optimum fuel consumption. This mode is engaged by pressing a button.
With ratios of 5.397 (first gear) to 0.701 (sixth gear), the underlying six-speed transmission is widely spread. In practice, this means a lot of power is available when driving off, and fuel-efficient manoeuvring is possible at low speed in the highest gear. Thanks to the system’s tight gear ratios, the right gear is available for every driving situation.
Modern engines with extremely wide effective engine speed range
The particular transmission is connected to the tried-and-tested Euro 5 four-cylinder turbo diesel engine. The drive unit with a displacement of 3.0 l is now available in three power units: 96 kW (130 hp), 110 kW (150 hp) and 129 kW (175 hp). The modern, long-stroke engine with the internal code 4P10 showcases the latest technology: two robust chain-driven overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, an exhaust gas turbocharger with variable turbine geometry, common rail injection system and piezo injectors for precise metering of fuel.
The top and bottom power units have remained unchanged in the new model. The middle engine variant has a nominal increase in output from 107 kW (145 hp) to 110 kW (150 hp). The maximum torque remains unchanged at 370 Nm, but is now available over an exceptionally wide engine speed range between 1320 and 2840 rpm. This makes the new Canter with this engine an outstanding example of pulling power and driveability.
The following are the output and torque figures for new Canter:
- 96 kW (130 hp) at 3000–3500 rpm, 300 Nm at 1300–3050 rpm
- 110 kW (150 hp) at 3500 rpm, 370 Nm at 1320–2840 rpm
- 129 kW (175 hp) at 3500 rpm, 430 Nm at 1600–2860 rpm
Lower fuel consumption – high economic efficiency
The new Canter is also available with a start/stop function as an optional extra, with both the Duonic dual clutch and manual transmissions. The increase in the payload and reduction of maintenance costs both help increase in a significant way the economic efficiency.
Likewise, an increase in the maintenance interval from 30,000 to 40,000 km further enhances the outstanding economic efficiency of the Fuso Canter.
Exhaust gas aftertreatment: exhaust gas recirculation and particulate filter
As in the previous Canter, there are two exhaust gas aftertreatment systems. A combination of exhaust gas recirculation and particulate filter purifies the exhaust in the models with gross vehicle weights of 3.5 t and 6.0 t, and in the lower of the two power units with a gross vehicle weight of 7.5 t.
The most powerful engine version, developing 129 kW (175 hp), is available in the gross vehicle weight class of 7.5 t and, as before, additionally features AdBlue injection with SCR technology. This promising combination, which is also being used in heavy-duty commercial vehicles, delivers greater output along with reduced fuel consumption. The AdBlue tank in the Canter is housed on the left-hand side, immediately adjacent to the fuel tank, and holds 12 l. The low fuel consumption figures that become possible with AdBlue give the vehicle a range of around 8000 km.
An automatic regeneration of the particulate filter is standard. Manual regeneration of the particulate filter may be required if the vehicle is used mainly for extremely short trips. A control lamp shows the driver when regeneration is needed by hand. The regeneration by hand is to be activated by a switch.
The new Canter with 7.5 t gross vehicle weight currently meets the strictest EEV voluntary emissions level. All other models meet the Euro 5 and optional EEV standards.
Front axle with independent suspension for the 3.5-tonne model
In conjunction with the new engines, the Fuso Canter raises standards of driving safety and convenience to a new level. The front axle of the 3.5 t variant now features independent suspension with coil springs – bringing tangible improvements in terms of handling and ride comfort.
All Canter models have disc brakes on both axles, and, as a new feature, an electronic brake system. The Canter is now available in the two higher weight categories with an electronic stability programme (ESP) as an optional extra. The following features are integrated into the ESP: acceleration skid control (ASR), hydraulic brake assist, hydraulic brake booster in case of a leak in the vacuum brake booster, and a torque reduction activated by the engine control module to prevent wheel spin or wheel locking when changing gear on slippery road surfaces. As an optional extra, the new Canter is also available with driver and front seat passenger airbags.
New cockpit offers even greater comfort and enhanced functionality
The substantially revised cab in the new Canter defines a new level of comfort in the light truck segment. The highly functional cab-over-engine concept in the Canter features a new, two-colour, harmoniously designed cockpit. High-quality materials have been used with improved haptic qualities. Driver and front seat passenger enjoy even better access from left to right through the cab.
Round ventilation nozzles surround the instrument panel. The new circular instruments can be easily read. The economy range on the rev counter is clearly marked. The new multifunction display between the instruments provides information such as time and distance travelled, and includes a trip computer to calculate fuel consumption, a display showing the status of the particulate filter, a warning lamp for the fuel level and a display showing the transmission gear currently engaged. The control buttons are distributed within easy reach around the steering wheel.
The new storage concept focuses fully on the needs of the driver and front seat passenger. The central console contains two DIN slots, a storage compartment with a hatch and a pull-out drinks holder for two containers. An open receptacle and a lockable glove compartment on the front seat passenger side can be used to store items. A stowage facility for documents and a compartment for a mobile phone or small items underline the practical focus of the dashboard. Roof stowage boxes, door storage bins and stowage facilities behind and between the seats round off the stowage space options.
New seats with lumbar supports and integral head restraints
Driver and front seat passenger sit comfortably on new seats with integrated head restraints. The driver seat now features an adjustable lumbar support as standard. On the standard front seat passenger double bench seat, a special feature of the left-hand seat positioned in the direction of travel is the frame-type head restraint, offering better rearward visibility. This is also installed on the rear bench seats in the new Canter with crew cab. A sprung driver’s seat equipped with armrests is also available as an optional extra.
Automated air conditioning systems and more effective heating
The heating and air conditioning systems in the new Canter are also worthy of mention. The key features include a higher air flow rate in the footwell and head areas, and a new, highly efficient heat exchanger. There are separate controls for heating and ventilation in the rear of the crew cab. A further innovation is the more powerful air conditioning system. A fully automatic system is now available as an alternative to the manually controlled air conditioning unit. The air conditioning system for crew cabs operates with an extended cooling circuit and separate temperature and air-volume controls in the rear.
Cab: new, striking design, long-term corrosion protection
A distinctive feature of the new Fuso Canter is the newly designed front section, which means more aerodynamic efficiency. The eye is drawn immediately to the striking design of the V-shaped radiator grille, and the prominent position of the logo. The dynamic V motif continues above the large headlights as far as the door seam. As a result, the new Canter fits perfectly into the current design line for the brand. The painted area has now been extended as far as the lower edge of the windscreen, underlining the Canter’s sturdy and robust look. The three-part steel bumper now features practical anthracite-coloured plastic corner sections. Daytime running lamps have been integrated into the fog lamp housings. Fog lamps and daytime running lamps come as standard on all models.
The new cataphoretic dip priming (CDP) process for the driver cab and the powdercoated frame offer the highest standard of long-term corrosion protection. The new Canter is already highly individual ex factory: the cab is available in 87 different colours, including six metallic and pearl paint finishes.
More variants, payload increased further
The new Fuso Canter range will be readjusted as part of the change of model. With gross vehicle weights of 3.5 t, 6.0 t (new) and 7.5 t, it covers all the important light truck segments. The new six-tonne model with standard cab and engine output of 110 kW (150 hp) (6S15) replaces the previous model with gross vehicle weight of 5.5 tonnes. Another new addition to the range is the 3.5-tonne vehicle with standard cab and engine output of 110 kW (150 hp) (3S15), as well as a 3.5-tonne vehicle with comfort cab and output of 129 kW (175 hp) (3C18). The standard cab (S) is 1695 mm, and the comfort cab (C) 1995 mm wide.
The new Fuso Canter range:
- 3S13, 3.5 t GV, standard cabin, output 96 kW (130 hp),
wheelbase 2500–3400 mm,
- 3S15, 3.5 t GV, standard cab, output 110 kW (150 hp),
wheelbase 2500–3400 mm,
- 3C13/3C13D, 3.5 t GV, comfort single or comfort crew cab, output 96 kW (130 hp), wheelbase 2500–3850 mm,
- 3C15/3C15D, 3.5 t GV, comfort, single or comfort crew cab, output 110 kW (150 hp), wheelbase 2500–3850 mm,
- 3C18, 3.5 t GV, comfort or comfort crew cab, output 129 kW (175 hp),
wheelbase 2500–3850 mm,
- 6S15, 6.0 t GV, standard cab, output 110 kW (150 hp),
wheelbase 2500–3400 mm,
- 7C15/7C15D, 7.5 t GV, comfort or crew cab, output 110 kW (150 hp),
wheelbase 2800–4300 mm,
- 7C18/7C18D, 7.5 t GV, comfort or crew cab, output 129 kW (175 hp),
wheelbase 3400–4750 mm.
The versions shown are left-hand drive vehicles; some but not all versions are also available as right-hand drive models.
Significantly increased axle loads, record load carrying capacity for 7.5-tonne trucks
In addition to the gross vehicle weight categories, the permissible axle loads and frame layouts for the Canter have also been redefined. Along with this come payload gains of up to 85 kg for the 3.5 t models, and up to 95 kg for the 7.5 t models. A further outstanding feature is a rear axle with 6.0 t load carrying capacity for the Canter 7C with a gross vehicle weight of 7.5 t – a new record in this weight category. In any case, the Canter 7C holds the record for load carrying capacity and payload. Depending on the wheelbase, the figure is over 5.0 t for the chassis with cab – the best value by far in the category. The total of permissible axle loads for the 3.5-tonne vehicle is 4.4 t, for the 6-tonne model 6.66 t and for the 7.5-tonne model as much as 9.1 t.
New wheelbases, new frames, enhanced body mounting ability
One of the particular strengths of the Canter with its ladder-type frame has traditionally been its body mounting ability. This has been further enhanced with the introduction of the new model. The wheelbases have also been completely reorganised. The range now includes six axle spacings: 2500 mm, 2800 mm, 3400 mm, 3850 mm, 4300 mm and the extra-long wheelbase of 4750 mm. This is suitable now for bodies up to 7 metres in length.
Fuso manufactures the new Canter with three different, fully newly developed frames, depending on the particular model. The weight can be reduced by around 20 kg, without any loss of stability. The frame is now shot-blasted in the pre-treatment phase, and later powder-coated, guaranteeing optimum corrosion protection.
The standard cab is based on a ladder-type frame with a constant width of 700 mm. The frame for models with comfort cab, with a wheelbase of between 2500 and 3850 mm, is 750 mm wide at the rear. The frame has a constant width of 850 mm in the new Canter with comfort cab and the two longest wheelbases. This guarantees high driving stability, even with large-volume bodies.
The uniform hole pattern for the frames simplifies work for bodybuilders. All chassis are now available on request with body consoles to facilitate assembly. It is no longer necessary to drill the ladder-type frame. To save space, the coolant expansion tank has also been moved to the right from its usual position behind the cab, into the wheel arch area. It can still be easily accessed there for maintenance purposes. This change allows the body to move closer to the driver cab, and it is no longer necessary to move the tank.
Ex factory, the new Canter is now available with three different power take-off variants, with or without flange. Its output is 31 kW or 62 kW. Ex factory, the Canter is also available with an external speed controller at the rear of the cab.
Electrics for bodies now more versatile and more powerful
As an optional extra, Fuso can deliver the new Canter equipped with a battery transformer. This guarantees the connection between the 12 V vehicle electrical system and a 24 V electrical system, as is frequently used in medium-­size truck bodies. Additionally, to guarantee the power supply, Fuso can deliver the new Canter with various alternators, adapted to the intended use.
Because of its high payload, the Canter is particularly suitable for use as a refrigerated vehicle. If the buyer chooses a cab air conditioning system at the same time, a console is required in the engine compartment for a second compressor. This can be factory-fitted in the new Canter as an optional extra.
The range of fuel tanks available with the Canter is as varied as the possible applications of the vehicle. Depending on the model, the tank can hold 70 l or 100 l. The models with a gross vehicle weight of 7.5 t are in some cases also available with a combination of 100 l and 70 l tanks. All tanks are lockable.
Traditional strengths of the Canter retained
The traditional strengths of the Canter have remained unchanged or have been consolidated: extreme manoeuvrability and the space-saving cab-over-engine design, good visibility with low windows and short front overhang, robust design, compact joystick shift lever in the cab, simple maintenance thanks to easy accessibility of the units with tilting cab, enhanced safety and lower wear as a result of the standard engine brake.
Safety given the highest priority
The highest priority is given to safety in the new Canter. The doors feature side impact protection as standard. As an optional extra, airbags are available for driver and front seat passenger. As before, the new Canter features the impressive Fuso RISE cab safety technology and a brake override system.
As has been the case to date, all Canter models come with an engine brake as standard. This generates braking power of up to 50 kW, is activated using the steering-column lever, improves the level of safety by protecting the service brake and reduces operating costs at the same time, thanks to the longer service life of the brake pads.
Tramagal: quality from Portugal and Japan – the Canter for Europe
The central production location for the Fuso Canter for Europe is in the town of Tramagal, roughly 150 km northeast of the Portuguese capital of Lisbon. The Fuso Canter, Daimler Trucks’ best-selling model, with a global production volume of some 150,000 units, is delivered to over 30 different countries from this location. The Tramagal plant is integrated into the Daimler Trucks production process and cooperates closely with Fuso in Japan on operational matters.
Production: bodyshell carefully executed manually
The bodyshell for the cab, which is carefully and precisely executed by hand, forms the basis for the high quality of the Canter. All metal sheets for all the production locations throughout the world are sourced centrally from Fuso’s Kawasaki plant in Japan. In addition to ensuring rational and favourably priced production, this guarantees standard high quality worldwide.
The metal sheets for the body are fully galvanised to ensure long-term corrosion protection. Single and crew cabs are produced in Tramagal on separate production lines. Using special equipment, employees connect the metal sheets with over 2000 welding points. The permitted deviation is as little as plus/minus 1.5 mm.
Paint: high-quality CDP coating as corrosion protection
Around 90 percent of all Canter models are white. However, 86 additional paints are used in addition to this classic neutral vehicle colour. The basis for the Canter’s high paint quality is comprehensive pre-treatment with the new cataphoretic dip priming (CDP) process, which has been used since the start of production for the new Canter.
Robots apply the final coat electrostatically, and with virtually no loss. To ensure perfect quality, the paint shop operates as a cleanroom with clean filtered air. Because of the high paint quality in cabs painted white, Fuso is now able to dispense with the primer coat. The coat thickness for the primer is at least 30 µm (1 µm corresponds to one thousandth of a mm), and for the final coat at least 40 µm.
Intensive control is a given: each individual cab is carefully scrutinised under high-intensity light. For example, no dust entrapment is permitted at the front or side, and only minimal entrapment on the cab roof and rear.
The frame, which is now shot-blasted in the pre-treatment phase and later powder-coated, guarantees optimum corrosion protection.
Assembly: detailed work in and around the cab
The following components are installed or mounted in sequence, with very close attention paid to detail: windscreen wiper linkage, window seals, wiring harnesses, door linings, the unit comprising the brake booster and pedals, interior trim and insulation, dashboard, windows, seats and the exterior mirror.
The seats are assembled in advance in a neighbouring hall by a supplier, and are then added precisely in the production sequence for the vehicles. After assembly, the cab is swung over to the next line to be connected with the chassis at a stage known as the wedding station.
Wedding station: frame and cab come together
This “wedding ceremony” is performed at the end of the chassis assembly line. The Canter frame is assembled in Tramagal from supplied, prefabricated parts in a new plant section. Preassembly of the frame and axles is performed separately. The components are fed into the chassis production line from the side.
Final inspection: careful control of all functions
Each Canter is then subjected to a detailed inspection. Specially trained staff check all of the functions in the new truck, covering engine and transmission, heating and air conditioning systems, down to the windscreen wipers. The wheel alignment and headlights are adjusted and set, along with the speedo­meter and tachograph. There is also a final, detailed visual inspection. The operation of the anti-lock braking system is also tested on a short test-drive circuit on the plant site.
But all this is still not enough: the plant checks two vehicles per day for leaks in a sprinkling system. New Canters are also tested under operating conditions at regular intervals. For this purpose, they are loaded up and must complete a standard 30-kilometre course over varied terrain. Each day, two new Canters undergo a thorough check-up in the course of a rigorous audit.
Around 50 percent of the parts for the new Canter sourced from Europe
In terms of value, roughly 50 percent of the parts for the Fuso Canter in Tramagal come from over 90 European suppliers; these include engines, axle components, springs, brakes, tyres, headlights and lamps, and also the seats and numerous interior linings. Fuso supplies parts from Japan, mainly for the cab and frame, but also axle parts, the steering system, heating and air conditioning systems and, following the model change, the innovative Duonic dual-clutch transmission. The Tramagal plant is certified to DIN EN/ISO 9001 and 14001.
Tramagal – a traditional plant with a wealth of experience
The Tramagal plant in Portugal has had a long and varied history. In 1964, the Portuguese family-run business Duarte Ferreira established the company as a CKD production site for French Berliet trucks intended for the Portuguese military. In 1980, the company began its cooperation with Mitsubishi Fuso. Up until 1996, the Tramagal plant performed assembly of CKD (completely knocked down) kits of the Fuso Canter and other Mitsubishi Fuso vehicles for the Portuguese market. In 1990, the plant was purchased by Mitsubishi Fuso from the Portuguese importer.
Part of the Daimler Group since 2003
In 1996, ownership of the Tramagal plant was transferred to Mitsubishi Fuso as the central production location for the Canter for western Europe. Since 2003, the plant has been owned by Daimler, following the latter’s acquisition of a majority shareholding in Mitsubishi Fuso. In detail: Mitsubishi Fuso Truck Europe (MFTE), including the Tramagal plant, is a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation (MFTBC). Daimler owns around 90 percent of shares in the latter company.
Since the start of Canter production in 1980, approximately 160,000 vehicles have been produced in Tramagal. Today, they are exported to every country in western, northern and central Europe, and also to southern and eastern Europe and Israel. The plant is well prepared for the future: the plant site covers an area of 110,000 sq. m, of which only one third has been developed to date.
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