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MAN’s steady plan for growth

POSTED BY Adela Megan Willy ON 20 May 2015

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RECENTLY, MAN Truck and Bus Malaysia introduced its latest tipper/mining truck, the MAN TGS 41.480. The launch is one of the key indications that the company is steadily expanding its footprint in Malaysia, among other a few other pipeline plans.

Its managing director Hartmut Mueller, spoke to us about what is in store for MAN this year, the drawbacks of the local logistics industry as well as the possibility for speedy business growth following the introduction of Euro 5 diesel, which is expected to begin very soon.

1. Moving forward into the end of 2015, what is the outlook of Malaysia’s trucking industry?

There are two major issues that the industry is currently experiencing. Firstly, we have to face budget cuts from the government and this has shown some serious impacts on customer demands.

A few projects are not financed and subsidised anymore. The production and sales of commercial vehicles including trucks are declining. Secondly, the implementation of the GST is also impacting the industry and businesses. For example, for customers who have ordered their trucks last December at RM**, they expect it to still be priced at RM** as stated in the invoice. But with the GST, we have to set the price higher.

There isn’t sufficient information for companies, therefore, investments are on hold for many of them because they don’t see the six percent tax being realised. Banks are having problems financing purchases, too, which is why companies have to pay the GST upfront and this in turn impacts their liquidity. There is a need for better transparency for the industry to deal with the GST, and the government needs to find a way to solve the problem.

2. Do you see the GST as a hindrance towards the expansion of MAN’s business, then?

No. In fact, our ultimate goal is to continue widening our network. We already have branches in Johor Bharu and Perai in Penang. We also have plans to grow in other regions within the next few years, and this includes the setting up of our workshops. We aim to establish at least one subsidiary every year across Malaysia.

In fact, we are starting a much closer cooperation with an associate, who is willing to set up service areas in Kuching and Bintulu in Sarawak.

3. In Europe, the MAN Lion’s City Hybrid bus can be seen on the roads. Are there any plans to introduce it in Malaysia?

It could be available here….if you are willing to pay for it. The technology is already there, but it is still more expensive than diesel technology. By next year, we hope to get more information on future bus technologies – what is available and what makes sense to the Malaysian market.

4. We understand that all MAN’s products are locally assembled. That said, has the assembly of the new TGS 41.480 truck begun?

It has started. We have received five orders for this truck and we expect to deliver them to our customers as soon as possible.

5. Euro 5 diesel is expected to be available at petrol stations in the Klang Valley soon. How will this benefit the country, the trucking industry and of course, MAN?

One of my big wishes for this country is to see the implementation of Euro 5 diesel as soon as possible. In Europe, you will never see a single truck emitting black smoke because they are using Euro 6 diesel. You can inhale the smoke from the exhaust pipe and not die! It would really be a big step into the right direction if the sales of the Euro 5 diesel are done with immediate effect.

There will be less pollution, the environment will be safe, and the technology is so highly sophisticated that the fuel consumption goes down. It would also be advantage for us at MAN because our trucks have longer service cycles, which means they require less service costs and less fuel consumption.

6. Once Euro 5 diesel is available in the region, will MAN actively introduce more models such as the TGX?

The TGX is a long haulage logistics truck and yes, we could manufacture it if clean diesel is available. The TGX truck is higher and larger than the TGS model, as drivers on long hauled trips would want to sleep in the truck, especially when their journeys take up to three weeks.

7. Could you tell us about the ProfiDrive driver safety programme?

The MAN ProfiDrive was first implemented in Europe over 25 years ago, and it has developed over the years. As at now, we have more than 120 trainers worldwide. We introduced the programme in Malaysia some time last year, and it consists of several training modules focusing on how to drive a modern truck efficiently. The training usually takes up to seven hours.