Masters of mobility
As one of the few manufacturers to enjoy success in both the truck and bus transport sectors, MAN Truck & Bus has perfected the art of providing the right transport solutions for its clients. FOCUS chats to the company’s management about its six nominations in this year’s FOCUS on Excellence Awards.
“The fact that we have been nominated in all four product categories that we participate in, namely heavy and extra heavy commercial vehicles, commuter buses and touring coaches, is a clear indication of the strength and quality of our product ranges in respect of performance and quality manufacturing,” says Thomas Hemmerich, CEO, MAN South Africa.
South Africa is one of three countries outside of Germany in which MAN vehicles are produced, attesting to the level of quality at their local production plants.
To truly be the best requires much more than simply a good product. MAN has also been nominated for Vehicle Distributor with Best Sales Support and Vehicle Distributor with Best Parts Support, a product cannot be nominated as potentially best in its class without strong overall support.
“Our motto is that if it belongs together, MAN can make it happen through innovative, reliable vehicles and competent pre-sales and after-sales services,” confirms Hemmerich. “Our integrated, comprehensive transport solutions mean that our customers have the best possible tools at their disposal to increase the performance and cost effectiveness of their fleets, which is of course the goal of any operator – and our job is to help them achieve it.”
A strong contender in the local top-end truck market, MAN’s sophisticated heavy and extra-heavy vehicles have proven more than a match for South Africa’s tough operating conditions.
Similarly, MAN has been the leading bus manufacturer in South Africa for many years. In a market that currently totals 1 500 vehicles per annum, current plans call for MAN to sell nearly 500 vehicles during the course of 2009, which is the equivalent of around 30% market share.
“It’s this combination of product and support that makes MAN the company it is,” says Hemmerich. “We are very proud of our attention to detail, from choosing the right products for the South African market, to advising operators on which vehicles would best suit their needs, to tailoring after-sales support structures to our customers’ specific needs. Alone, each is an art form in its own right, but together they shape one of the leading commercial vehicle manufacturers in the world.
MAN Lion’s Explorer heralds a new era in local urban public transport
As South Africa begins its final preparations for the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, MAN is further expanding its presence on the nation’s market, with MAN Truck & Bus South Africa receiving an order for 110 Lion’s Explorer intercity buses from the Public Rail Agency of South Africa (PRASA).
The vehicles are initially to be operated as general spectator buses by subsidiary Autopax, and later in the Autopax “City to City” fleet. The order also includes a service level agreement through the MAN dealer network. Intensive training of more than 220 Autopax drivers will be conducted before the World Cup, including the MAN ProfiDrive programme, to ensure a maximum of reliability and safety once the buses go onto the road.
At the signing of the bus procurement agreement in September 2009, Thomas Hemmerich, CEO of MAN Truck & Bus South Africa, said: “We are proud of the fact that we have secured this major order in conjunction with the World Cup. The vehicles boast excellent chassis that are made in Germany and first-class bodies tailored to suit the needs of the market and produced locally at our plant in Olifantsfontein. Through our extensive service network, we’ll devote all our efforts to ensuring high availability of the vehicles.”
Tshepo Montana, group CEO of transport agency, PRASA, said the order marked a “major innovation in local transport in South Africa, satisfying the requirements of the World Cup and subsequently the need for urban public transport renewal in the country”.
Sakhenzi Zamxaka, CEO of subsidiary, Autopax, also indicated that he was looking forward to receiving the new vehicles at the signing in Pretoria: “In an open and very hard-fought bidding procedure, the MAN buses proved to be the most reliable, safest and most economical. MAN Service, too, convinced us all along that this was the right package for the World Cup.”