MAN Automotive South Africa had a phenomenal year in 2020 despite the well-documented challenges.
The company is particularly proud of its net sales volumes from its premium TG product range, which enabled it to achieve its best extra-heavy truck market share since 2006.
2020 also saw MAN Automotive's extra-heavy TGM, TGS and TGX models take the company onto the local sales podium.
Since 2014, MAN Automotive has risen from the number seven market position to the number three market position.
The company's EfficientLine on-highway and XHD on-off highway 6x4 truck tractors have led the way – proving both payload productivity and fuel-efficiency consistently – and often setting the benchmark for Total Cost of Ownership in those industry segments.
From May 2020 onwards, MAN performed month-on-month better than in 2019 in both volume of used sales and used sales prices.
It ended the year with the lowest stock level in years and healthy demand for its used vehicles.
Furthermore, the rental business more than doubled in size from 2019 to 2020. The manufacturer has also embarked on bus rentals with huge success.
MAN Automotive has taken ownership of George, PE and East London to run these facilities as wholly-owned subsidiary territories rather than through private capital dealerships.
The manufacturer also undertook facility expansions at the Centurion and Pietermaritzburg sites.
Centurion now hosts the full MAN Training Academy, while Pietermaritzburg hosts the value-adding Truck Modification Centre.
The 54,000 sqm MAN Truck and Bus assembly plant is located in Pinetown, KwaZulu-Natal.
The plant was established in 1962 and is instrumental in assembling MAN Truck and Bus chassis for South Africa and the SAE region.
MAN assembles different TGS and TGM models in the truck segment. These vehicles have different ratings based on customer needs and applications.
MAN also assembles both front and rear-engined bus chassis here as required.
The plant imports kits from Germany and Brazil and receives some local materials to complete the chassis. It is a very lean set up and has the capacity to make 14 chassis per shift.
While being an operations plant, the MAN team works in different directions to support the environment and localization efforts.
The plant generates electricity through solar panels, which are installed on the roof.
Excess energy is fed back into the power grid. MAN Automotive has also started reducing the consumption of diesel to minimize pollution by shifting to electrical energy.
Water conservation and recycling is a routine activity. The focus here is on continuous improvement in all areas.
The plant has won awards at the international level for many years with good practices implemented.
The company also supports community development through Corporate Social Responsibility activity, assists some schools/families, and trains students to develop further.
Covid-19 has severely impacted some transport operators and logistics service providers.
MAN and its financing arm, MAN Financial Services, have supported many customers by refinancing their rolling assets over longer periods or restructuring their maintenance contracts.
While the Rate of Exchange severely impacted the brand, it managed to help many customers with existing contract adjustments in the spirit of partnership.
Given the current economic climate, striving for the lowest possible total cost of ownership is now more relevant than ever before.
MAN had to train its front-line staff to unpack all fixed and variable cost aspects much more transparently for its customers and hone every cost element to the most competitive position possible.
This remains MAN's mission, and it continues to improve on every component of the cost calculation.
Entry-level requirements to be a serious player in heavy-duty trucking include:
- Having the full package of truck specification hardware
- Finance and funding instruments
- Various product warranties
- Repair and maintenance contracts
- Life asset management
- Telematics and fleet management services
- End-of-term guaranteed residual value linked to specific vehicle return conditions
MAN says all of its front-line sales and support staff know and understand these offerings to a tee.
This is crucial since communication and training bring a clear differentiating edge in the marketplace.
MAN will continue to move towards its vision of being the first choice in transportation for its customers.
To ensure it keeps itself honest to this cause, it continues to embrace the strategic pillars which it deems enablers for success.
The company says it foresees that 2021 will be the most successful year ever for its current TG product range.
Watch: The New MAN Truck Generation
And, the latest generation of MAN trucks launched in Spain in 2020 will arrive in South Africa in late 2021.
Only a few minutes in the company of this totally re-designed vehicle makes it abundantly clear why MAN's TGX is the European Truck of the Year for 2021.
With MAN customers rating it the best performing European OEM in the competitive Customer Satisfaction Index over the last half of 2020, the future looks bright for 2022 and beyond.