After 20 years, truck maker MAN launches a completely new generation of trucks. "The entire model range at once," as CEO joachim drees said in bilbao.
It’s as if VW were to renew the golf, the polo and the passat all at once. Freight forwarders and transport companies from all over europe came to the spanish port city for the presentation of the new model.
At first glance, the timing of the model change is unfavorable: the economy is weak, MAN is cutting shifts and sending temporary workers home. "We expect truck demand in europe to fall by 10 to 20 percent this year," said drees. But industry experts at swiss bank UBS expect MAN to gain market share with the model change. And in the next 20 years, transport volumes in the EU are expected to increase by 40 percent.
MAN sells most of its trucks here and is number two behind mercedes with a 17 percent market share. "We want to increase our market share with the new truck – but not at any price," said drees: "only if it is also profitable."
Car buyers care about the look and price of their vehicle. A transport company, on the other hand, has to earn money with it and looks above all at the costs over the entire service life, as martin bulheller from the german association of road haulage, logistics and waste disposal (BGL) explains. This is where MAN wants to score.
The new generation of trucks from munich consumes up to eight percent less fuel – thanks to a diesel engine with new software, better aerodynamics and digital aids for a more efficient driving style. In addition, maintenance is simpler and faster thanks to new components and networking with the central office and workshop – which also saves operating costs. Updates for new digital services on the way.
But total cost is no longer the only sticking point, says bulheller. Today’s drivers have a say in the matter. Because in germany alone, there will be a shortage of 150.000 professional drivers. "In the past, many transport companies had a single brand. Today, fleets are mixed. The shortage of drivers has brought movement into this," says bulheller. A driver today could say: "I’ll come to you if you give me a scania"." Or a mercedes, volvo, DAF or MAN: "every brand has its fans."
To find out firsthand what the ideal workplace and living space in a truck should look like, MAN developers visited truck stops and rest areas and showed 700 drivers various prototypes. The feedback from the professionals and their personal wishes were directly incorporated into the new model series. The driver "sits like in a car, the operation is simple and clear, the living comfort is almost like at home," said drees.
In contrast to the mercedes-actros, the new MAN-TGX still has hood mirrors instead of hood cameras. Many buttons and slider controls were deliberately left as they are, rather than being moved to the display. Lane change and congestion assist systems will make life easier for drivers and ensure greater safety – as will a factory-fitted turn-off assistant to protect cyclists and pedestrians. But it is not mass-produced.
The new MAN truck runs on diesel, but all the new powertrains could be easily integrated. The EU obliges truck manufacturers to cut CO2 emissions by 15 percent by 2025. Otherwise there is a risk of fines. "To fully meet EU targets in 2025, we need e-vehicles. We are currently developing an e-generation of up to 26 tons for factory and urban distribution transport," says drees.
BCG expects heavy electric trucks to be on the road by 2030. Drees is skeptical: "we don’t see battery-powered electric trucks in long-distance transport at the moment," he said. "On the rasthofen it goes today already drunter and druber. It is difficult to imagine how the charging infrastructure is to be set up there. Hydrogen would, however, be a possibility in long-distance transport, with an electric motor and fuel cell or as a hydrogen burner."
The new MAN trucks are built at the parent plant in munich, steyr, krakow and later also in st. Petersburg. The engines come from nurnberg. Well over 6,000 employees worked on the new trucks, and the trend was upward, the company said.
MAN has good 95 in 2018.000 trucks sold – the vast majority in europe – generating 9.1 billion euros in sales. With the swedish manufacturer scania and the south american VW caminhoes, MAN belongs to the VW subsidiary traton. MAN is not active in the two largest truck markets, china and the USA. Traton has a stake in china only in the manufacturer sinotruk. In the U.S., traton wants to completely take over the U.S. Manufacturer navistar.