MAN – A BRAND WITH A REPUTATION FOR RELIABILITY AND EFFICIENCY
“The price of a truck or bus is no longer what’s important. It’s the life cycle cost over the vehicle’s lifespan”, says Ernst Thatcher, Senior Sales Executive of Autohaus Truck and Bus – the private capital dealer for MAN trucks and buses in Namibia.
Thatcher points out that although MAN vehicles are more expensive than some transport vehicles on the market, the vehicles are priced very competitively when compared to European standard competitors. “The current state of the economy is forcing transport companies to look for cost-saving measures. Savings can be made on operational costs which are exactly where low operational life-cycle costs becomes a factor,” says Thatcher.
Autohaus Truck and Bus, which has been an accredited private capital dealer for MAN vehicles since February 2010, operates from its headquarters in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area. It offers the full range of MAN and Volkswagen trucks and buses, ranging from long- and medium- haul and distribution trucks to construction and all-terrain vehicles for all segments of the transport industry.
For the Autohaus Truck and Bus team it’s not just a matter of selling a vehicle to a prospective client. “We become a partner in our clients’ business,” says Dealer Principal Gert du Preez, adding that this approach saves their clients money.
“We need to make sure that we sell the correct product for the client’s needs,” says Thatcher, as he explains that an operating cost analysis is done for each client according to the customer’s specific needs. The analysis takes into account the expected annual kilometres and hours the vehicle will be on the road, the types of terrain (gravel roads as opposed to tar roads), the expected annual kilogramme load and the number of trips.
Based on this, the fixed and variable costs are calculated. Fixed cost includes finance cost, salaries, insurance and licence fees. Variable costs include fuel and lubricants, tyres and maintenance. The analysis provides an estimate not only of the cost per kilometre, but also options for cost per trip, per kilogramme or even per pallet.
Financing in a sluggish economy is a major consideration for any prospective client. To this end Autohaus Truck and Bus has negotiated special tailor-made finance packages with banks, as well as service and maintenance plans to meet client’s needs. This includes fixed maintenance rates over the term of term of the purchase and guaranteed buy-backs.
Green technology has become an important statutory requirement in the European Union where stringent emission standards to limit pollution have been introduced. MAN has invested heavily in developing eco-friendly engines to improve the fuel efficiency of its vehicles’ engines and has an excellent reputation for the efficiency of its vehicles which results in low operating cost, safety and reliability.
Driver training is an important part of the process of selling vehicles and on delivery of any vehicle the driver is given training to familiarize himself with the vehicle to ensure optimal performance at the most efficient fuel consumption.
Factory warranties on new vehicles vary according to the model, but are very competitive when compared to other brands. MAN is the only manufacturer that offers a two year warranty on genuine MAN parts fitted in an authorized workshop, irrespective of the age of the vehicle. This gives security and peace of mind to customers.
After-sales service is provided at the company’s parts distribution centre and workshop in Windhoek’s Northern Industrial Area. “Down time costs our clients money,” says Du Preez, adding that the workshop with eight service bays can accommodate multiple vehicles at any time.
In addition to the workshop in Windhoek, the division also has dual-branded workshops in Swakopmund and Ondangwa, as well as third party respondents in Keetmanshoop and Katima Mulilo.
Another competitive edge the MAN brand is its impeccable track record for reliability, but in the event of a breakdown, Autohaus Truck and Bus provides 24/7 roadside assistance. “The response time in the event of a breakdown is important”, says Du Preez, adding that the longer the vehicle is standing the more it costs the operator.
A major advantage of the MAN brand is the strong dealership network in 17 sub-Equatorial African countries. “This is a major advantage for long-haul cross border transport operators as they are assured of assistance and service when they operate beyond Namibia’s borders,” says Du Preez.
MAN is the market leader for city commuter busses and luxury coaches in neighbouring South Africa where it has about 60% market share. It has increased its market share in Namibia substantially during the past eight years and ranks among the top five bus brands. Clients have the option of ordering MAN chassis and bus bodies which comes with a standard warranty, or they can opt for third-party body builders in which case only the chassis is guaranteed.
Authohaus Truck and Bus is one of six automotive divisions of the Metje + Ziegler group of companies which has a history in Namibia going back more than a century.
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The headquarters of MAN, an abbreviation of Maschinenfabrik Augsburg-Nürnberg, is situated in Munich, Germany. The production of commercial vehicles dates back to 1915 and the company produced the world’s first diesel engine with fuel injection in 1924.
The MAN brand has been part of the South African transport industry since the early 1960s when it was represented by agents. MAN Automotive (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of MAN Truck and Bus AG, acquired its truck and bus assembly plant at Pinetown, Kwazulu Natal, in 1974 and its bus body manufacturing plant at Olifantsfontein in northern Gauteng in 1999 and the first busses rolled off the assembly line the following year.
The MAN brand logo, the lion, the heraldic animal of Braunschweig, featured for the first time on the vehicles produced by the Büssing company, which began its operations in Braunschweig in 1913. When the Büssing company was acquired by MAN in 1971 the logo, which represents strength, was adopted as the MAN logo and still represents the company of the radiator grilles of its vehicles.
To avoid invoking the wrath of a MAN man or woman, MAN is not pronounced as one word, but as three separate letters!