Record growth for truck, bus company
Education|MAN Automotive|MAN Truck & Bus|Angola|Austria|Germany|Kenya|South Africa|Zambia|Bus Solution|Retail Areas|Transport|Transport Equipment|Dave Van Graan|Trucknology
© Reuse this
Original transport equipment manufacturing company MAN Truck & Bus is currently experiencing an unprecedented growth rate, locally and in an international context.
MAN management board member for marketing Dave van Graan says that the company is operating in an industry which is currently going through its fifth year of growth, where the growth rate is exceeding 20% on a year-on-year basis.
MAN attributes this growth to five factors. Firstly, the government’s macroeconomic policy is seen as really trying to drive general economic growth, and this means economic growth for most industry sectors. Secondly, transport is a derived market need, meaning that as consumer demand grows, goods need to be delivered to the retail areas and trucks are needed for that purpose. Thirdly, because of the infrastrucure boom, building material and other infrastructural material need to be transported to building sites.
Van Graan says that the com-modities markets also play a big role. Export commodities need to be delivered to the harbours and local commodities, such as coal, need to be transported from the mines to the power stations. To a lesser extent, transport and logistics companies have become more professional, meaning that their replacement policies have improved.
“This means that transportation fleets get replaced every three to six years, as opposed to the previous replacement plan of every five to ten years,” he explains.
MAN currently owns a 35% to 50% share of the local bus market. Van Graan says that this is due to the one-stop bus solution offered by the company. He explains that the company is the only original-equipment manu-factuer in South Africa to wholly manufacture the chassis, and coachwork (body) components of a complete bus.
“There is a definite advantage to supplying the body and the chassis from one company, and having your own factories to assemble the parts means that the company can customise its products to meet varying customer demand,” he says.
The company is constantly develop- ing its Trucknology product range. Van Graan says that the Trucknology product means that MAN trucks have the latest common-rail diesel engines, automated-shift gearboxes, ABS braking systems and electronically controlled suspensions, making them safer, reliable and more durable. Consequently, this translates into better economy. The technology was sourced from MAN’s plants in Germany and Austria.
Ninety per cent of MAN’s bus chassis are imported from Germany, meaning that 10% of the chassis com- ponents are sourced locally, but are also 100% refined and adapted in South Africa to adhere to local speci- fications and operating conditions. Van Graan says that the company is currently enjoying the benefits of a buoyant bus and truck industry.
“With the huge growth in the volumes of vehicle sales, MAN has to develop a strategy where it will have not only the infrastructure, but also the necessary people to cope with the demand. “Capacity expansion is a big issue, because MAN has to make sure that it has sufficient capacity in its factories, which assemble the base vehicles, and also in its dealer network, which supports the vehicles through parts and service supply,” he points out.
Van Graan says that to deliver on its customer promises, MAN needs to constantly develop its IT-systems and strive to apply ‘best practice’ business processes.
The company is positive about current local economic conditions and has expanded into the north-eastern and north-western areas of the African continent. Van Graan says that countries such as Angola, Zambia and Kenya are exciting prospective markets, and that MAN has established a dealership footprint in those countries to ensure that after-sales support is in place prior to selling vehicles into those territories. He says investments and strategies are currently under way to further expand this support base in the 15 Southern African countries looked after by the South African office.
“Locally, government policy is very encouraging. For MAN, as a manufacturer, it is encouraging that government is looking at a sustainable public transport system, with strategic thinking going into various intermodal transport models. “As the company moves to provide better public transport, it is also an opportunity to supply trucks for the infrastructure development required to support such a system. “As it is, MAN sees this growth continuing until 2014, even through at a slightly slower rate than we have experienced in the last five years” Van Graan comments.
He says that one of MAN’s most successful projects was the launch of the company’s Trucknology range of products, which include the TG FOC, TGA, TGM and TGL models.
“At first, there was a question whether the vehicles were not too sophisticated for local conditions, but after the vehicles had been developed overseas, they were tested in South Africa for an intensive three-year period, prior to the local launch. “Small adjustments were made to the systems to adapt to local conditions, giving the customer the benefit of 100% Trucknology. “The customer gets a real optimisation of reliability when electronic control is coupled with the mechanics of the vehicles,” Van Graan comments.
MAN plans to sell about 2 600 Truck-nology products to the local market this year. Van Graan says that the vehicles are better equipped to deal with local conditions and keep operating costs lower, because they are more fuel efficient.
MAN Automotive is a holding company in South Africa and contains two divisions, namely MAN Truck & Bus and MAN Bus & Coach. The two divisions employ about 1 000 people. Two manufacturing plants assemble the truck and bus components for MAN in South Africa. The Pinetown plant assembles the vehicle chassis, while the bodies are manufactured at the Olifantsfontein plant. The company also owns eight dealerships, with 35 dealerships belonging to independent shareholders. MAN Automotive had a turnover of R2,6-billion in 2006 and produced and sold about 2 500 trucks and buses.
MAN is also involved in social responsibility projects throughout South Africa. The company embarked on a programme in which it will invest €1-million over the next three years into the Southern African industry in support of its corporate social investment strategy. Projects supported will include education programmes to train technical, engineering and supporting staff, education support of street children and a variety of driver training programmes aimed at enhancing skills of professional drivers.
The company has also embarked on a programme to provide shelter and education for street childern.
Edited by: Laura Tyrer
© Reuse this
Other Automotive News
Peugeot Citroën South Africa (PCSA) is “fighting as a team” to secure local assembly of the Peugeot 301 in South Africa, says PCSA MD Francis Harnie. He says the entry-level sedan is only available in left-hand drive at the moment, and that PCSA wants the...
Hyundai Automotive South Africa (HASA) sold around 50 000 new vehicles in 2013, a 5% drop from 2012 volumes. This decline follows an almost meteoric rise in sales over the last few years as South Africans warmed to the imported Korean brand. The total new vehicle...
Major changes have been announced at PSA Peugeot Citroën as it continues the fight to return to profitability and increase sales. It is especially the overseas markets that have taken a pummelling for the French manufacturer at the beginning of 2014, with the...
Article contains comments
Few would argue with the notion that unemployment, which stands at around 25% on the narrow definition as reported by Statistics South Africa, remains one of the country’s most pressing challenges. Fewer still could contest the view that South Africa’s education...
Renewable-energy projects, such as this Northern Cape solar farm, seen as key to low‐carbon energy supply.
Upfront investment costs will and should remain a critical consideration as South Africa moves to upscale and accelerate its infrastructure programmes. But one of the lead authors of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) argues that the...
The barrier to efficient water service delivery in South Africa was not of a technological nature but rather related to legal and Constitutional challenges, Water Research Commission (WRC) CEO Dhesigen Naidoo said on Thursday. Opening a WRC debate under the theme...
Recent Research Reports
Steel 2014: A review of South Africa's steel sector (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Steel 2014 report provides an overview of the global steel industry and particularly of South Africa’s steel sector over the past year, including details of production and consumption, as well as the country's primary carbon steel and stainless...
Projects in Progress 2014 - First Edition (PDF Report)
This publication contains insight into progress at the delayed Medupi and Kusile coal-fired projects, in Mpumalanga and Limpopo respectively, as well as at the Ingula pumped-storage scheme, which is under construction on the border between the Free State and...
Automotive 2014: A review of South Africa's automotive sector (PDF Report)
The report provides insight into the business environment, the key participants in the sector, local construction demand, geographic diversification, competition within the sector, corporate activity, skills, safety, environmental considerations and the challenges...
Construction 2014: A review of South Africa's construction sector (PDF Report)
Construction data released during 2013 hints at a halt to the decline in the industry during the last few years, with some commentators averring that the industry could be poised for recovery. However, others have urged caution, noting that the prospects for a...
Electricity 2014: A Review of South Africa's Electricity Sector (PDF Report)
This report provides an overview of the state of electricity generation and transmission in South Africa and examines electricity planning, investment in generation capacity, electricity tariffs, the role of independent power producers and demand-focused initiatives,...
Defence 2013: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s 2013 Defence Report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key players in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the defence sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial...
This Week's Magazine
The Electronic Systems Laboratory (ESL) of the Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Stellenbosch University is strongly reaffirming its position as one of South Africa’s leading centres for satellite technology and expertise. It is currently...
MORE IN SA Phase 2 should see local content on the mainline locomotive increase from 65% to 80% by the end of 2014
The world’s lowest-cost diesel-electric locomotive is not made in China, but in Pretoria, at RRL Grindrod Locomotives’ newly upgraded 30 000 m2 plant. The company’s locomotive pricing is “more competitive than any other original-equipment manufacturer (OEM)...
The South African Defence Review 2012, released to the public at the end of last month (despite the year given in its title) recommends the creation of the post of Chief Defence Scientist. This official would be responsible for the management of defence technology...
AltX-listed engineering technology company Ansys has been awarded an R188-million contract by Transnet to supply integrated dashboard display systems to the freight rail utility’s locomotives. Black-owned and controlled Ansys developed the bespoke integrated system...
South Africa’s sole nuclear power station Koeberg, which is located in the Western Cape, breached a major operations milestone on April 4, which marked the thirtieth anniversary of Unit 1 having been connected to the grid. Eskom, which operates the two-unit plant,...