MAN ERF set to consolidate in UK
"We will chase quality business in order to make our existing customer base more profitable in 2004," said Dr Jürgen Knorpp, Chief Executive at MAN ERF UK Ltd, previewing the major truck manufacturer's dsisplay at CV 2004.He said, "2003 has been a transitional year for this company, and while we performed well under difficult circumstances, our focus this year is existing customers."
The announcement represents a fundamental change in strategy for MAN ERF UK, as it sets out to buck the trend of selling cut-price chassis in favour of increasing levels of service to its current customer base Dr Knorpp continued, "2004 will see our combined MAN ERF Network emerge as a real force in the UK - a Network of 110 locations that loyal ERF and MAN operators can look to for unrivalled levels of service. This is of particular importance to our ERF brand which, I am happy to say, has seen a great many operators return to the marque after a period of understandable uncertainty. For me, this is concrete evidence that operators now know the ERF brand is here to stay."
In another move that demonstrates a significant change in tactics for a UK manufacturer, MAN ERF UK has announced it is to review its commitments to buy-back arrangements on both new and quality-approved used vehicles.
"Buy-back agreements, and I know I speak on behalf of our competitors, almost always mean a loss on the sale of a truck," said the MAN ERF Chief Executive, "And I am quite prepared to suffer short term pain to secure long term security for quality operators and ourselves. I do not rule out the practice completely, and we will do all we can to meet serious operator's financial requirements, but we will not enter into a transaction in future knowing that there is a risk of losing money when the truck comes back a few years later."
MAN ERF UK's quality used vehicle business, MAN Diesel, is also to undergo a period of intense development. 2004 will see the introduction of new fewer than 40 strategically located franchised locations within the MAN ERF Network. This is expected to offer greater availability for both ERF and MAN chassis to a used truck customer base that continues to grow in size.
MAN ERF UK also reports that is has completed the integration of its two, formerly independent, customer support networks.Focus on waste & municipal
On the product front MAN ERF is gearing up to focus on the waste and construction and municipal and utility sectors within the overall commercial and haulage market. The group's approach is to offer the modular build options for the waste market and not to go for bespoke chassis.
The company considers that many of the vehicles in its range and on show at the NEC will appeal to the waste and municipal operator.
One of the major introductions on display at CV 2004 is the new and dedicated 6x4 TGA rigid chassis for the UK. At 26 tonnes GVW, the new 6x4 is being brought to the UK primarily to satisfy demand for the expanding range of applications both in the construction industry, and for operators who require a vehicle for maximum weight drawbar operation.
MAN ERF says that current 6x2 TGA operators have also shown great interest in the advantages of the additional traction and handling abilities of the 6x4.
The model complements the popular M2000 Evolution 6x4 stablemate, which offers a more compact, lighter chassis for solo tipper and mixer applications with exceptional payload potential. The new 6x4 TGA can also be operated solo at 26 tonnes GVW, although with a drawbar trailer, operators can run up to 44 tonnes GCW. Operators can chose between five cab and five engine options, plus the choice of steel or air suspension on the rear. Such a large range of spec options, coupled with the high image associated with TGA, will be a great attraction for many operators, the truck maker believes..
"The emphasis on specification is shifting in this sector," said Les Bishop, Product Marketing Manager for the MAN brand, "and we are reacting to those changes. The new 6x4 TGA offers the ideal solution for waste, construction and brick and block operators that run at maximum weight 44 tonnes GCW."