MAN Truck: Changes in Regulation Will Boost CompetitivenessBy MBN Staff | Tue, 01/01/2019 - 20:09
Q: How is Volkswagen’s collaboration with Navistar impacting MAN Truck & Bus’ operations?
A: We have established a great collaboration in terms of sourcing strategies and technology development. Already, Navistar is using our engine technology in the US. Volkswagen formed a new entity called Traton Group to manage this and other joint projects. Thanks to this collaboration, our development process will accelerate and time-to-market for any new technology will reduce. Synergies between brands will also make production costs much more attractive, although it is important to mention that all brands will continue to be managed separately and autonomously.
Besides our 16.6 percent investment in Navistar through Traton Group, we also have a 25 percent share in the Chinese manufacturer Sinotruk and we signed a technology agreement with Hino Motors. Our agreement with Sinotruk will give us access to the Chinese market, while our collaboration with Hino Motors is much more oriented to developing alternative motorizations, mainly focusing on hybrid and electric units, as well as digital services.
Q: How important will alternative motorizations and clean-energy implementation be for MAN Truck & Bus in Mexico?
A: Mexico will soon go through a significant transition. Starting in July 2019, Euro V technology became mandatory for new-vehicle sales and we are very comfortable with this change. Of all brands in the country, we have the most experience in Euro V engines, having introduced the first units with this technology in 2013. At first, we expect an increase in competitiveness since all other companies that deal with Euro IV technology will have to improve their offering, which will entail an adjustment in terms of price.
Regarding hybrid and electric technology, we do see an opportunity for these units in Mexico, particularly in the urban segment. We have the technology but we must be also aware of the potential demand in the market at the moment. Costs related to this technology are considerably higher when compared to traditional internal-combustion units. Still, we do expect to see an electrification plan for the country in the long run, probably in the next five or six years.
Q: How has MAN Truck & Bus’ CNG efforts evolved in Mexico?
A: We already have two CNG models available here, both of which are being tested by our clients. The only challenge we see for these units is complete gas availability throughout the country. There has been significant growth in the number of gas charging stations in the last few years but it is still not enough to cover the needs of the national fleet, especially if it is to boost further CNG adoption.
Q: Considering cabover units are a key element in MAN Truck & Bus’ strategy, what is your expectation for these units in the Mexican market?
A: We still see cultural resistance to cabover units in the heavy-truck segment. The Class 8 segment represents 80 percent of the truck market, which means there is a great opportunity to increase our participation with cabovers. We expect demand to grow for these units although we do not expect them to become the new normal in Mexico. At most, we think cabovers will account for 10 percent of the entire truck market. In the light-truck market, however, we have already seen a shift in consumer preference. Gradually, more and more competitors are offering cabover units in this segment due to the advantages they can offer regarding safety and maneuverability.
Q: How have you showcased the advantages of these units among new and existing clients?
A: We have been very active in arranging tests with our clients through our dealerships. At the same time, we maintain an aggressive strategy of investment in our product portfolio. With the Delivery family, for example, we are now able to participate in all segments of the market, ranging from 4 tons to 80 tons. Apart from Freightliner, we will be the only competitor in the market capable of offering such a complete portfolio.
Another pillar in our development strategy has been our capability to build tailor-made products for each of our clients. We opened a modifications center in Queretaro in 2017, which helps us address any special requests clients might have. Heineken’s fleet was a success story arising from this new center. Last year, we started working on a unit specifically designed for Heineken and we are already moving on to the second generation of the vehicle.
MAN Truck & Bus is a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group. Headquartered in Germany, the company focuses on the production of buses and both light and heavy trucks. In Mexico, it manages the Volkswagen and MAN brands