Leonardo Soloaga
Managing Director
MAN Truck & Bus México
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View from the Top

Working Toward a Stronger Market Presence

Fri, 09/01/2017 - 10:09

Q: MAN has set goals for 5 percent market share in the truck segment and 18 percent in the bus segment. How successful have you been?

A: Between January and April 2017, we reached a 2.7 percent market share in trucks and a 16.4 percent share in the bus segment. There are still areas of opportunity for the company but we are well on track to reach our proposed goals by the end of 2018.

In past years, we have grown at a rate of 15-20 percent year-on-year both in sales and production in our plant in Queretaro. We expect to continue delivering the same results in 2017 and in the near future. Although we currently do not plan to export to the US, our operations in MAN Latin America are promoting our exports. Twenty Latin American countries have increased their exports by 40 percent so far, including Mexico.

Q: How has the company evolved in terms of client relationships and what new contracts have you closed?

A: Grupo IAMSA is one of our main clients at the moment and we are working to strengthen our relationship by offering new products and services. We are in the final stages of delivery for the last contract we signed with the company. We have also closed other major negotiations in 2017. Two of the most important contracts were with ADO and Heineken.

Q: What development plans does the company have to achieve 30-40 percent national content in its production?

A: We are restructuring our engineering and purchasing divisions in an effort to make them more oriented toward the development of Mexican suppliers. We are already in contact with several local companies who are now participating in the development of some of our components. Mexico is one of the most important heavy-vehicle manufacturers in the world. In 2015, the country was the largest truck exporter globally. The supplier network is strong and extensive and we are confident that local players are capable enough to address all our requirements regarding quality. Our strategy is to keep growing our local content, understanding the needs of our customers.

Thanks to the arrival of BMB Mode Center to Mexico, we will now be able to transform vehicles to suit the needs of our local customers. We will perform these changes with local supplies, guaranteeing the same quality as if these vehicles were originally manufactured with these specifications.

Q: How have the traditional VW and MAN families evolved and how are you integrating the latest additions to the company’s product portfolio?

A: We are developing new vehicles with our body manufacturing partners, always integrating the latest advances in technology, innovation and alternative fuel applications, such as natural gas. The goal is to complement our existing product line by identifying the best opportunities in the market. In 2016, we released six new models to the market and by the end of 2017 we expect to deliver two or three more. As a result, MAN Truck & Bus México will have one of the most complete portfolios in the market.

BRT models will be one of our new alternatives and we expect our vehicles to be available by the end of 2017. That being said, midibus models are still a crucial part of our portfolio. Our 15.190 model, for example, doubled its sales in the first months of the year.

Q: What goals does the company have in the natural gas segment after presenting its Volksbus 17.280 OT chassis at Expo Foro?

A: Among our new projects, natural gas units are also a focus for this year and we are currently in the testing phase for some of our new models. We believe that natural gas units will be a relevant alternative for Mexico’s transportation landscape and we are preparing to take advantage of this opportunity. 

Q: How successful have cab-over models been in Mexico and how are regulations promoting the adoption of these units?

A: Mexican operators are gradually accepting cab-over models because they understand the benefits the vehicle can offer in terms of cargo volume, maneuverability and visibility. Cab-over trucks are also more versatile when it comes to inner-city deliveries and are safer than conventional models. In the light-truck segment, acceptance for these vehicles is growing considerably and we expect that trend to translate to the heavy-vehicle market.

Q: What strategies has MAN implemented in the cargo sector to achieve a greater position in the market?

A: We are participating in different events organized by transport associations such as CANACAR and ANTP. We target shows oriented toward owner-operators, as well as SMEs and large companies, so they can understand what kind of solutions we can offer their business and the integral service portfolio we offer to cover all their fleet and transporting needs. We are also participating in the Logistics Summit & Expo because it is an excellent opportunity to show our products and technology to companies participating in the logistics sector. Expo Transporte ANPACT in Guadalajara is also a priority for the company. This is the biggest event in the region for transportation companies and we are ready to show our latest innovations and our most recent launches in November.

Q: What are the main advances the company has worked on in terms of driver and passenger safety and connectivity?

A: In terms of safety, MAN units can currently be equipped with three systems. First, our adaptive cruise control (ACC) technology, powered by the “MAN Tempomat” system, constantly monitors the area in front of the vehicles, helping the driver maintain a safe distance between the truck and the vehicle in front. The system can adjust speed when it detects the vehicle in front slowing down. Second, the lane guard system (LGS) can alert the driver when the vehicle is leaving its programmed lane, ensuring timely maneuverability and avoiding potential accidents. Third, the emergency brake assist (EBA), together with the ACC and LGS systems, helps the driver if the truck approaches an obstacle. EBA alerts the driver and activates the braking system, minimizing and in ideal conditions, avoiding an accident.

The company has also made connectivity one of its main objectives. All units are equipped with our CAN LOGGER fleet-management system, which allows the client to monitor the performance and physical condition of every vehicle. This helps the company track its shipments, improving fuel consumption and anticipating maintenance procedures, thus reducing operating costs. The system can be configured according to the needs of each client and the platform can be escalated to perform telematics operations, helping the client consult information remotely.