MAN boosts its African truck range

MAN boosts its African truck range

Does MAN have another winner on its hands? UDO RYPSTRA attends the South African launch of the MAN TGS WW truck series and comes away impressed …

The ambition of German truck and bus manufacturer MAN Nutzfahrzeuge to play a dominant role in the African truck market reached another milestone last month with the launch of its new competitively priced TGS WW truck series in South Africa.

Add to this its Volkswagen Constellation range (one model actually ran out of stock last month!), plus the CLA range from MAN Force India, and it now has an even more formidable product line-up than before to address Africa’s market needs from the south.

But it doesn’t end there
Sinotruk, in which MAN has a 25% plus one share stake, has confirmed it is developing, in partnership with MAN, a new truck range, to be branded separately, for the continent for release in 2012. FOCUS understands that much of this truck range will be based on TG technology.

MAN Nutzfahrzeuge itself has been restructuring its African operations. Its new, charismatic and articulate CEO for the Middle East and Africa, Markus Geyer, flew in to supervise the local launch of the TGS WW series and mixed extremely well with dealers, customers and the media alike.

He made it abundantly clear that MAN understood that the needs of the African market were different from those of the more refined (and expensive) European market and that the new, more robust truck range would address local requirements perfectly.

He was introduced by Johan Cloete, MAN’s local management board member (strategic accounts), who heads the VW truck division and also introduced the new MAN truck range at the Sky Raiders soundstage at Germiston’s Rand Airport.

It was a three-hour, well-organised event, complete with performances by an acrobatic dance troupe and well-known comedian Mark Banks.

The new truck range, which received rave reviews at the recent Bauma exhibition in Germany and was exhibited at the IAA show in Hannover, was displayed at the perimeter of the airport.

The range is based on its immediate predecessor, the MAN TGA, released locally in 2005. It is available in 14 local derivatives as a truck tractor, chassis-cab or tipper derivative, some of which were displayed with a Roland tipper, Afrit forestry harvesting superstructure and in combination with a GRW Engineering aluminium tanker.

The TGS WW range is based on a modular design principle which, MAN says, brings exceptional versatility to the new range, affording greater configuration possibilities than its predecessor.

While the term “facelift” could be applied to the TGS WW range, each derivative has its proven TGA lineage and has undergone extensive development and testingMAN boosts its African truck range in South Africa to ensure optimum performance in diverse local applications.

The TGS WW range includes vehicles with GVM ratings from 19 to 41 tons. Euro 2 and 3-rated D20 and D26 in-line six-cylinder common-rail engines deliver between 257 kW and 353 kW (350 hp to 480 hp) of power and 1 750 to 2 300 Nm of torque delivered between 1 000 and 1 400 r/min, providing a platform for powerful yet economical transport.

The company says a high level of shifting comfort is provided by the 12-speed MAN TipMatic automatic transmission. For off-road vehicles there is the MAN TipMatic with off-road shift strategy, which provides maximum traction and fast turnaround times. A precision 16-speed electronically controlled (manual) transmission is also available on selected models.

The vehicles are said to be competitively priced between just under R1 million for a 19.360 4×2 BLS truck-tractor (D20) to the R1.4 million 6×4 Abnormal BBS truck-tractor (D26). MAN underwrites its faith in the TGS WW with an impressive three-year/600 000 km warranty.

The show vehicles attracted considerable interest from existing and potential customers, with at least one deal being clinched at the launch event. The improvements in driver comfort drew several comments.

Perhaps the best remarks came from a well-known, knowledgeable industry personality, Peter Wraight, now working for Voith, who – after inspecting some of the vehicles – alighted from one of the cabs and said: “I think they’ve got a winner here.” He could not have put it better.

TGS WW range
The TGS WW series includes two, three and four-axle truck tractor and rigid-chassis options with gross vehicle weights ranging from 19 to 41 tons. Axle variants include 4×2 and 6×4 configurations with leaf/leaf as well as leaf/air suspension; a 6×2 two leaf/air suspension with single trailing axle and an 8×4 option with leaf suspension.

Hypoid axles with maintenance-free hub units, disc brakes and air suspension are available for on-road operations. Off-road applications are also well-catered for in the TGS WW range with 6×2, 6×4, 6×6 and 8×4 configurations on offer. Medium or high-body designs allow for greater ground clearance beneath the planetary (hub reduction) axles if required.

Aerodynamic fine-tuning has improved the drag coefficient, effectively reducing fuel consumption, while a side-window and mirror redesign limits soiling by mud for better vision and greater safety in off-road applications.

“The sum of these small details makes the MAN TGS WW an exceptionally reliable and economical tool. For example, a robust stone-guard now protects a new radiator built specifically for high-temperature applications. Protective grilles on the headlights and an air intake directed upwards with a pre-filter bring greater robustness and reliability to the new TGS WW models,” the company says.

The MAN TGS WW sports a completely redesigned cab interior fitted with high-grade materials, easy-to-reach controls and instruments, clearly arranged to always be within the driver’s field of vision. The new 2.24 m-wide cabs set high ergonomic standards and come in three sizes to suit specific application requirements.

According to the company statement, the compact M-cab is designed for construction, municipal and short-haul duties. The 400 mm longer L-cab has a comfortable 2.05 m x 0.75 m bunk. The high LX-cab can accommodate two wider bunks.  Both longer cabs, the L and the LX, have two large stowage compartments that can be accessed from the outside via upward-opening flaps. The high roof results in an internal standing height of 1 925 mm in front of the co-driver’s seat. Bunks in the LX-cab have high-quality slatted frames and mattresses with five hardness zones.

Active safety features available for the MAN TGS WW include an electronic stability program (ESP), lane guard system (LGS) and adaptive cruise control (ACC). The high-strength safety cell meets the stringent EU crash-test requirements. Passive safety upgrades include a buckled-up seatbelt and a seat belt warning system as standard fitments.

“The new TGS WW has an unprecedented power-to-weight ratio, enabling greater payload productivity and fuel efficiency. These are hard business imperatives that MAN has made possible in the TGS WW through constructive engagement with its TGA customers in South Africa and other emerging economies.

“By the same token, the TGS WW gives drivers what they need to improve their efficiency, like the latest electronic driver assistance systems to help prevent accidents,” says MAN.

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