CLA: a decade on
The MAN Cargo Line A range – or CLA as it’s better known – turns ten this year. We find out what has contributed to its success locally and in other developing markets.
In 2006, MAN Truck & Bus laid the foundations for modern, sustainable freight and passenger transport in India with the MAN CLA; paving the way for further expansion into non-European markets.
It was only a year later that the first units came to South Africa, with the pilot build unit being signed off at the time of the 2007 Rugby World Cup final.
“CLA is German engineering based on the tried and tested M and F 2000 ranges, optimised with some ‘trucknology’,” says Dave van Graan, head of truck sales, MAN Truck & Bus SA. “It is targeted at the so-called ‘budget’ truck segment where our customers do not wish to pay the premium for high-end products and longer-term total cost of ownership is beneficial,” he adds.
In the local market, the CLA currently represents about 20 percent of MAN South Africa’s truck sales – with strong market-share growth in the heavy segment, thanks to the popularity of the 15.220 4×2 distribution unit.
South Africa is, however, not the only market outside of India where the CLA struts its stuff … About half of the vehicles that come out of the production facility in Pithampur, India, are intended for the domestic market, while the other half are divided between 40 different export markets across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
In the first five years of the joint venture, the development and localisation of the extensive MAN CLA portfolio took centre stage, together with the establishment of a nationwide sales network.
As a logical consequence of this increasing commitment, MAN Truck & Bus assumed the remaining shares in the cooperation in 2012 and founded the current MAN Trucks India pvt. Ltd.
The product range of the modern CLA series comprises semitrailer tractors, with various axle variations and chassis, with or without bodywork. It currently covers tonnages from 15 to 37 t gross vehicle weight. The cabs originate from the proven LE2000 series.
The modest, yet reliable, engines and robust chassis, designed to make light work of poor road conditions, mean the CLA series is ideally suited to its target markets. Just like the engines with high-sulphur tolerance and Eaton ES09306A and 9S-1110 ZF gearboxes,
The CLA series is powered by a 6,9-litre, six-cylinder engine with optimised power and torque characteristics.
The global spec for local and distribution transport, is the proven MAN AP axles, while hypoid axles are available for some of the models in the long-haul version. Locally, all of the 26.280 models currently utilise AP axles for traction and distribution transport, while the 15.220 model utilises hypoid axles.
“Locally, the CLA chassis is ideal for use in five and ten-cube tipper applications, potable and non-potable water tanker operations, concrete mixer, drop-side crane, as well as specialised volume body areas such as prisoner transportation,” Van Graan elaborates.
What’s next for the CLA? “Our parent company, MAN Truck & Bus AG, our production organisation, MAN Trucks India, and our full executive board have pledged further investments into the product development and range expansion of CLA.
“Consequently, we see a great era of growth of these product sales into sub-equatorial Africa,” Van Graan concludes.
MAN dealers awarded
With 26 proprietary and privately owned MAN Truck & Bus dealerships in South Africa, the company’s 2016 Dealer of the Year awards recognised robust enterprise-wide performances, while exhibiting distinct areas of excellence that augur well for the organisation’s plans for future growth in market share.
MAN’s Dealer of the Year awards form part of the organisation’s global Network Development programme, which strives to improve overall customer satisfaction throughout its value chain. The 2016 Dealer of the Year awards spanned ten categories to include back-office functionaries.
According to MAN Truck & Bus SA MD, Markus Geyer: “It is important for us to acknowledge those people who deal with customers on a daily basis, be they in the workshop, parts department or sales office, as well as our people who operate in the background in our purchasing, finance and central service departments.”
Ian Seethal, head of Network Development, Marketing and Communication at MAN Truck & Bus SA, explains: “All audited metrics in the scoring process for the awards are monitored on a cumulative basis according to specific criteria. Results are released quarterly and dealerships are ranked according to their achievements in every aspect measured. The rankings are then converted to a total score; the highest determining the winners in each category.”
Independent MAN dealer Hatfield Truck & Bus won the prestigious Dealer of the Year award, with runners-up Alpine Truck & Bus and Port Elizabeth Truck & Bus.
The Service Dealer of the Year award went to Hatfield Truck & Bus, while Port Elizabeth Truck & Bus and Pinetown Truck & Bus lifted the two runner-up accolades.
Alpine Truck & Bus won Parts Dealer of the Year with runners-up, Kimberley Truck & Bus and Hatfield Truck & Bus.
Bus Salesman of the Year was awarded to Gary Aliphon, with runners-up Gerhard van Wyk and Lourens van Stander.
Top honours in the MAN Truck Salesman category went to Runga Moodley, with Henk Dique and Quentin Theron in runner-up positions. The MAN TopUsed Salesman of the Year Award went to Emile Matlou, with runners-up David Pretorius and Elliot Twani.
The Volkswagen Truck Salesman award went to Ryno Blignaut, with Roelf Lewis in the runner-up slot. In the New Sales Manager category, top position was awarded to Tiago Dias, with Deon Otto and Greg Erian as runners-up.
MAN Financial Services awarded its top Business Development Managers. Rudi Le Roux received the top award with Hester Page and Renier Meyer in runner-up positions.
The Chairman’s Customer Service Excellence awards went to joint-winners, Claudio Fernandes and Gerhard Hepburn. Nivadni Mooloo, Lyle Everton and Deon Otto garnered runner-up awards in the category.
“It is our MAN people who make the difference in these challenging times, through honest hard work and by taking ownership of their duties with passion and accountability. The 2016 Dealer of the Year awards have proved unequivocally that by improving vehicle uptime through streamlined after-sales processes, overall customer satisfaction ratings can be significantly boosted,” Geyer concludes.