MAN Trucks India Betting High on Long Haulage Segment
German truck maker announces new initiative to enhance customer connect and satisfaction; aspires strong growth in the tractor-trailer segment.
The illustrious ‘Roaring Lion’ product logo of MAN Trucks and Buses AG signifies the distinctive hallmark of its products for well over forty years. The daring emblem, along with the three initials, symbolically communicates a spirited belligerent appeal and premium quality. The company’s product line is such that it caters to specialized applications and higher-side of the spectrum, may it be trucks, buses, vans, or powertrains.
However, for MAN Trucks India, unlike its parent company, the attitude and priorities are very different. Indian market is cost-conscious and competitive, while marketing and customer engagement challenges are quite unique. It is only now, post-GST regime, that the climate for long-distance and higher-tonnage haulage appears favorable. Customer are yet to shift to revenue model of trucking, in which vehicle utilization and total cost of ownership (TCO) will gain prominence.
Moreover, the company is just eleven years old in India. It has to devise its strategic planning and ambitions realistically so as to sustain the fray. Its growth must be in-sync with that of the industry. That’s perhaps why Mr. Joerg Mommertz, Chairman and MD, MAN Trucks India and his team are banking on a pragmatic approach to the domestic market, with a fine-tuned business blue-print set by their parent company to suit changing local demands.
The team wants MAN to be identified as a mass-market marque in India that is price-competitive, so down-to-earth, unlike its global exclusiveness attitude. Yet, the company also wants to en cash on the legacy of their parent company by projecting their products as superlative in terms of technology and reliability. Is that why they culled-out the ‘roaring lion’ from the logo trim on the radiator grille of their face-lifted CLA EVO trucks? Making a humble impression, aren’t they?
New Initiative for Sustainable Growth
In fact, the MAN CLA (stands for ‘Cargo Line Asia’) truck and bus chassis platform is specifically designed for the challenging demands of developing markets like India. They cater to the ‘value segment’ by offering semi-premium products that are fairly equipped with premium technologies but at affordable prices. “The CLA EVO platform rightly meets the changing needs of the trucking industry in India, with higher payload and efficiency ratings, while also being cost-effective” comments Mr. Joerg Mommertz. The highly-localised platform underpins all their products on offer – haulage trucks, tippers, and bus chassis in the 16-49 tonne category.
Mr. Mommertz is also quite certain on the focus area and target group. “With road infra development, GST calibration, and GDP growth, the haulage segment is growing up. And that’s going to be our prime focus, as we want sustainable growth” he says, while acknowledging that MAN already enjoy comfortable market position in the mining and construction truck segment. He is apparently not interested in segments below 16-tonnage for trucks, nor interested to invest in fully-built buses. “Bringing down products from our global line-up may not work for India, as the customer needs and market dynamics are different” he added.
MAN Trucks India expressed a mixed feeling with regard to 2017. “Sales figures were less than our target, thanks to market and policy changes, especially BS III stock pile, but we expect demand for long-distance tractor-trailers to surge-up in the coming months” said Mr. S. Somasundaram, Head (Sales), MAN Trucks India. The year saw company launching the BS IV-compliant CLA ‘EVO’ series of trucks, along with a slew of improved aftersales support efforts by way of five new dealerships and brand awareness campaigns.
For 2018, the truck maker is fully prepared with new initiatives to improve its market reach and customer engagement. First is ‘Mobile24’, a 24×7 roadside assistance to MAN vehicles across the country. The company is also ready for repair maintenance contracts (RMC) that can be customised to suit specific customer requirements. MAN will also offer customer solutions using digital platform that will make the interaction with the company more value-driven and efficient.
Second is the ‘MAN ProfiDrive’, a global programme of training and all-round support for business owners, fleet managers and drivers undertaken by MAN Trucks and Buses AG in over 67 countries worldwide. It has continuously improved and expanded in terms of its daily dealings with customers as well as the available training portfolio. The company will provide training to drivers to help them operate with better safety and deliver greater fuel efficiency in Indian context.
Speaking on the new initiatives, Mr. Mommertz said, “We have always offered solutions that improve customer experience with MAN. Digitisation is increasingly becoming a tool of convenience for customers, making it easier for them to connect with us. I am confident that these initiatives will make the overall association of customers with MAN more value driven.”
Recently, MAN Trucks India ran an expedition campaign to create brand awareness and demonstrate the capabilities of its CLA EVO haulage range for long-distance applications.
Next, would you like to read more on MAN CLA EVO?
*An edited version of this article has been published in the February 2018 edition of MotorIndia Magazine.