The MAN TGS continues to do well in the long haul distribution segment. Picture: MAN TRUCK AND BUS SA
The MAN TGS continues to do well in the long haul distribution segment. Picture: MAN TRUCK AND BUS SA

The heavy commercial vehicle market has registered a decline this year compared with previous years, but some companies are managing to make the best of the situation.

"We see that the demand for buses and coaches in the South African Common Customs Union has declined by almost 10% year on year, causing much-needed fleet renewals to be delayed and bigger tenders for expanded fleets to be postponed by a number of months into the future," says Dave van Graan, head of special sales projects at MAN Truck & Bus SA.

"The truck market over 8.5 tonnes in the Common Customs Union has shown better fortunes with only a decline of 1.8% year on year.

Markus Geyer, MD of MAN Automotive SA. Picture: QUICKPIC
Markus Geyer, MD of MAN Automotive SA. Picture: QUICKPIC

"However, this volume uptake seems a lot more buoyant than much of the feedback we get from certain subsegments of the industry — where we often hear of declines in kilometre utilisations of about 10% year on year and consequently assets being sweated for one year longer than their original replacement point. High stock reserves, innovative sales support packages and new model introductions have certainly brought about a positive impact on overall registrations of heavy and extra heavy trucks," he says.

With 180 units more delivered into the over 16.5 tonne extra-heavy category, compared with the same period (January to August) last year, MAN says it has improved its market share in this strongly contested sector by 2.3%. With a 10.4% market share of this sector on a year-to-date basis, it would appear the brand is moving strongly towards being a regular podium finisher.

With 37.1% market share in the heavy bus market over 8.5 tonnes, the company has remained the dominant market leader for a number of years running now. The bus market, too, is in a state of decline, with the market shrinking almost 10% year on year.

Talking to these successes, MAN Automotive MD Markus Geyer says: "We express sincere gratitude for our truck and bus customers who are choosing our offerings in growing numbers. This is the best accolade we can get, and is testimony to the efforts of the entire team at MAN who have worked on improvements to many aspects of our business. We have made a lot of effort to optimise our used vehicle business and are investing strongly to improve our customers’ after-sales experience at the point of sale."

Truck sales division head Eren Gunduz adds: "Our TGS long-haul trucks are proving to set the fuel consumption benchmark in many applications, and the technical enhancements made a few years ago are proving to demonstrate reliable, cost-effective transport solutions. Of course, we also play in the shorter-haul distribution and construction segments, where MAN Trucknology, CLA and Volkswagen products are proving successful too."

Head of bus sales at MAN/VW SA, Philip Kalil-Zackey, says: "The addition of the first-class RR4 480 horsepower coach chassis, the new CLA 280hp commuter chassis and the fantastic new Lion’s Explorer Generation 2 bus body all add to our success in the local market. We are able to offer our bus customers a wide range of custom-made solutions for the demanding passenger transport environment. We have grown our MAN market share by just on 2% year on year, with the VW market share to be restored in the next month or two."

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