‘Efficient’ is the name

‘Efficient’ is the name

MAN Truck & Bus didn’t disappoint at this year’s Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS), with its massive and varied display area, all tied together with the theme of “Consistently Efficient”

As European legislation marches on at a relentless pace, culling emissions and making vehicles more fuel efficient, South Africa is still sitting behind in the dark age of sooty, noxious diesel fumes. The mandatory implementation of Euro-6 emission standards is imminent in the region, while our local industry only needs to meet Euro-2. This has not, however, caused MAN Truck & Bus South Africa to rest on its laurels until such time that our legislation gears-up to international trends.

At JIMS, MAN focussed all attention on its vision for the local road transport industry, combining its current range of products and services with a host of new developments from Europe and South Africa. According to Bruce Dickson, deputy CEO, MAN Truck & Bus South Africa, these eco-friendly transport solutions are designed to keep fleet operators “Consistently Efficient” while meeting environmental responsibility objectives based on European standards.

“MAN helps limit fleet carbon emissions by offering fuel efficiency solutions at an affordable price,” says Dickson. “Because carbon footprint is directly related to how much fuel is consumed by a vehicle, fuel efficient vehicles piloted by skilled drivers help save money while conserving our environment.”

Consistently Efficient is MAN’s proprietary programme that integrates vehicle economy and efficiency with environmental impact mitigation, using a blend of MAN technology and driver training from MAN’s Driver Training Team. A further upshot is enhanced operator profitability through lower total-cost-of-ownership.

Through its Consistently Efficient programme, MAN is providing solutions to both current and future challenges, both locally and abroad. According to Markus Geyer, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus, the technology exists locally for customers to use the current range of Euro-5 vehicles and MAN will gladly supply this spec of vehicle.

This option exists in the built-to-order Euro-5 TGS 26.480 6×4 truck-tractor. Equipped with a Euro-5 MAN D26 engine with MAN AdBlue and Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) technology, the truck can effectively operate in South Africa using standard 500 ppm sulphur-content diesel.

However, Geyer points out that, as with any emerging technology, cost is the limiting factor. MAN claims, though, that this is one of the most fuel efficient vehicles on local soil. It was also shown with several optional features such as ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), ESP (Electronic Stabilisation Program) and LGS (Lane Guard System), highlighting MAN’s driver assistance and safety systems.

MAN’s current range of vehicles also benefits from the Consistently Efficient programme through the MAN EfficientLine Package. This is a suite of technologically-advanced truck products designed to be retrofitted to assist in the reduction of fuel costs. It is based on fuel-saving elements found on the MAN TGX, MAN’s European flagship, and comprises aero-kits to reduce drag, an air-pressure management system to optimise compressor application, and a tyre pressure management system to reduce rolling resistance.

Fitments for truck trailers can also be part of the package. This includes alloy wheels, energy tyres and aero-kits with side-skirts. This package was shown fitted to an MAN TGS WW 26.440 6×4 BLS, with ‘LuxLine’ Cab. Following extensive testing to make sure the vehicle is up to standard for South Africa’s unique operating factors (high altitudes; long and high-speed distances; and high average temperatures), the EfficientLine Package will be available during the first quarter of 2012.

Supporting these two showstoppers was the full range of MAN products. First among these was the entry-level MAN CLA range, which has recently undergone extensive upgrading. This range of vehicles, which features older generation technology in a robust and simple package at a 10% lower price than its competition, is a range MAN feels is absolutely necessary to have alongside its “first-world” products.

Notable improvements to meet specific customer requirements are a diff-ratio option for mixer applications and a crawler gear for deep traction in muddy conditions. Three popular derivatives – the 15.220 BB 4×2 freight carrier, 26.280 BB 6×4 tipper and 26.280 BB mixer – were on show.

Yet another interesting vehicle was the TGM 18.240 4×4 BB SWA with M-Cab. With a “deep crawler” gear, long wheel base (4 500 mm), and dis-engageable all-wheel drive for more economic transport on the open road, this 4×4 single-wheel rigid truck chassis allows for customised body fitment and is ideal for off-road duty such as forestry, fire-fighting, as a service/support vehicle, a personnel carrier or even a game viewing vehicle.

MAN’s popular TGS WW range was also present in full force: the on-highway TGS WW 27.480 6×4 BBS with LX HighLine cab; the long-haul TGS WW 27.440 6×4 BBS with L HighLine cab; the TGS WW 33.360 6×4 BB with M-cab heavy-duty tipper chassis; the specialised TGS WW 41.440 8×4 BB with M-cab; and the tough-as-nails TGS WW 33.440 6×6 BB SWA with M-cab.

“MAN’s integrated and holistic approach to sustainable road transport is unique, as is its commitment to continually improving its customer proximity,” says Geyer of the exhibit. “Visitors to the MAN building experienced, at first hand, how Consistently Efficient works in practice and how automotive engineering innovation dramatically improves economy and uptime.”

Improving the breed
As the representative responsible for VW trucks in South Africa, MAN has made some improvements to the steadfast Constellation range.

Although a consistent seller since being introduced to the South African truck market just on five years ago, the VW Constellation range has met with the odd criticism from time to time. MAN, recently announced some important upgrades to the range, which it showed off at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) in early October.

The range is a top seller in South America and continues to fill the gap between budget and premium-class trucks in our market. It consists of both truck-tractor and rigid (freight carrier) derivatives. The most notable upgrades to the range include up-rated front axle specifications and an extended warranty.

Four derivatives, in their own section of MAN’s vast stand, were showcased at JIMS. These were: the new 13.180 4×2 freight carrier, the VW Constellation’s new entry level model, the 17.250 4×2 freight carrier; the 24.250 6×2 freight carrier; and the 19.320 4×2 truck-tractor. In order to show the versatile nature of the range, the 17.250 (BB) was also fitted with a skip loader.

The new baby of MAN’s VW Constellation range, the 13.180 4x2, made its debut at the Johannesburg International Motor Show.Importantly, the improvements to the range have allowed an increase in the gross combination mass (GCM) for the 17.250 and 24.250 – from 27 tonnes to 35 tonnes. MAN notes that this improvement will allow the Constellation range to better service the agricultural sector. All rigid models now include a newly-developed lock-out device that allows for easier down-shifting and improving driver comfort. A Telma retarder is included as an option on the 17.250, 24.250 and 19.320.

“The range has established itself over time in South Africa and we’ve listened long and hard to what our customers are demanding,” says Livingstone Mulaudzi, senior product manager at MAN Truck & Bus South Africa. “These axle upgrades, along with wheelbase optimisation on all models, makes the range more versatile and efficient, especially for medium to occasional long-haul distribution applications, as well as the tipper and waste market.”

Always a highly competitively-priced range, MAN is further focusing on increasing the Constellation’s value for money proposition. In order to lower the total cost of ownership, MAN has extended the warranty – all models now come with a 12-month/unlimited mileage warranty on the entire vehicle and a 24-month/unlimited mileage driveline warranty.

With the new upgrades, the appeal of the VW Constellation range should further open it up to new markets – and make it an obvious choice, at that.

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