More than 300,000 tourists are drawn each year to Sicily, Italy by the prospect of climbing Mount Etna. The Unimog 5000 is used between May and October each year to carry the streams of tourists from the Etna cable car station at 2500 metres up to the Torre del Filosofo. Here, at 2935 metres above sea level, is where the hiking trail begins for those tourists who want to be as close as possible to the lava fields.
The Unimog range, which has been built since 2002 at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth, is the ideal candidate for use in the harsh conditions that prevail on Etna: the only vehicle concept of this type in the world, it guarantees the ultimate off-road capability. A flexible ladder frame, all-wheel drive with differential locks in both axles, which are in fact portal axles, and the central tire inflation system Tirecontrol – every single technical detail plays its part in ensuring that the Unimog remains a dependable partner on the rough tracks and ash fields of Europe’s highest active volcano.
The extremely versatile Unimog carries out vital duties against a spectacular backdrop: a bus body on the U 5000 provides seats for the tourists, carrying them safely from the cable car station all the way up the steep track. Also in service on Etna is a U1550 L, fitted with the necessary attachments for its task of clearing snow or ash from the tracks. The versatility of the Unimog has also come into its own during the building of a new cable car to replace one that was destroyed by volcanic eruptions.