MAN Product Range Now Perfect for Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa’s diverse topography, extreme weather conditions and shifting demographics present ongoing challenges to commercial transporters who need suitable vehicles to deliver both people and cargo to their destinations safely and cost-effectively.
As a leading emerging nation with a weak rail infrastructure, South Africa is hugely reliant on road transport to sustain its position as the economic hub of the region. With billions of dollars in direct foreign investment and state expenditure on mining, oil and general infrastructural development projects in the sub-Saharan region, demand for reliable commercial vehicles is increasing, despite the global economic slump.
A global leader in this arena is MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG, supplying a broad range of trucks and buses to public and private fleets around the world. In Africa, this function is handled by MAN Truck & Bus Africa (MAN TBA), with its headquarters located in Isando, Johannesburg.
The Western Cape is one of Africa’s key growth points and MAN TBA services the commercial vehicle market in the province from its ‘Centre South’ dealership in Brakenfell, Cape Town.
According to MAN TBA Centre South sales manager, Warren Atkinson, “MAN now boasts not only its premium ranges of European trucks and buses, but also the MAN CLA truck range and, following MAN’s buyout of VW Brazil, new Volkswagen trucks and buses. The CLA and VW models, built in India and Brazil respectively, are price-competitive with quality Asian counterparts, bringing unprecedented levels of choice to the local commercial transporter across a broad spectrum of applications.”
The MAN brand is well known in the Western Cape and continues to provide best-of-breed truck and bus solutions for different transport applications like commuter and luxury coach transport, to trucking applications including construction, local and long-haul delivery services, waste management and refrigerated transport, adds Atkinson.
“With the MAN Lions Explorer bus fast becoming a household name amongst commuters in the Western Cape, its European-built truck siblings, the MAN TGA, TGM and TGL ranges are firm favourites amongst leading fleet operators in both public and private enterprises,” Atkinson says.
“The VW Constellation range of trucks and our new VW buses are perhaps not quite as well-known, but since coming to market two years ago, have made impressive progress in establishing a niche for themselves,” he adds. “Designed in Germany using the latest performance and safety technologies, the Brazil-built VW trucks and buses are rugged, reliable and economical – perfect for Africa’s harsh operating environment.”
By the same token, the MAN CLA range is proving extremely popular in the construction industry as a robust chassis-cab derivative for tipper and mixer applications. “The market is particularly price-sensitive right now and both VW and CLA ranges offer an affordable solution to credit restraints. Both comply with Euro 2 emissions standards and are highly fuel efficient. The VW trucks and buses are generating extremely positive customer feedback with regards to performance, reliability and comfort. Like the CLA range, VW trucks and busses are not equipped with advanced electronics and are therefore easy and cost-effective to maintain,” explains Atkinson.
South Africa was coincidentally the launch market for both the VW Constellation and the MAN CLA ranges (before MAN bought VW Brazil in 2008). “The immediate operating success and reliability of both ranges is nothing short of astonishing. It demonstrates the typical MAN commitment to product development and the company’s focus on offering attractive and efficient vehicles at competitive prices,” says Chris Newby-Fraser, MAN’s Strategic Account Manager.
“Our Cape Town dealership is a first class facility catering to the needs of both MAN and VW truck and bus customers. We offer a full spectrum of commercial vehicle services from new and used vehicle sales to parts and aftermarket product sales, to driver training. We also make purchasing a vehicle that much easier via in-house financing through MAN Financial Services,” concludes Atkinson.