MAN of the moment!
MAN of the moment!
MAN Automotive (South Africa) had an excellent 2020. And the company’s new managing director, Oliver Klein, is banking on an even more successful 2021. He tells CHARLEEN CLARKE that the number one spot is his goal …
German-born Klein has had a long and diverse career path at MAN. “After studying mechanical engineering in Germany, I started my career within the commercial environment at MAN in 1996 as a trainee workshop manager. From 2009 until my current position as MD in South Africa, I took over various responsibilities within the retail environment, namely sales, after-sales and TopUsed, achieving over 3 000 trucks, 300 buses and 1000 TopUsed units sold each year during my time as the head of the region, South-West Germany,” he tells FOCUS.
His current role is his most demanding but also potentially his most fulfilling. “MAN Automotive (South Africa) is one of the most diverse national sales organisations within the MAN Group. South Africa has two production facilities, an own retail and private capital network, a fully functional Parts Distribution Centre and a diverse product range, namely MAN & Volkswagen. We don’t only operate within South Africa, but we also have responsibilities within our neighbouring countries,” Klein reveals.
Naturally, the timing of his appointment comes with its fair share of challenges. The South African economy is far from buoyant and the pandemic is still very much with us. But Klein isn’t unduly concerned. “For me, this is a new challenge, but South Africa has a very strong team, which has done an exceptional job when it comes to steering the company during the first 12 months of the Covid pandemic. This is thanks to strong partnerships – not only within the organisation but also with our loyal customers,” he says.
Klein notes with considerable pride that 2020 was an excellent year for MAN Automotive. “We had a remarkable year in 2020 – despite the well-documented challenges. We are particularly proud of our net sales volumes, which came from our premium TG product range, as well as our market leadership in the bus and coach segment. We are humbled by the fact that our customers rated us the best performing European OEM in the competitive customer satisfaction index (CSI) during the second half of 2020. This enabled us to achieve our best extra-heavy truck market share since 2006.
“I thank our customers for their vote of confidence in our brand and team. I would also like to thank all of our people who delivered on our vision – despite unprecedented challenges.”
And that team certainly won’t be resting on its laurels. “We want 2021 to be the most successful year ever for our current TG product range. Team MAN will continue moving towards its vision of being the first choice in transportation for our customers,” Klein says.
Of course, one development that certainly won’t harm the company in its quest for success is the launch of the reigning International Truck of the Year in South Africa. “We are very excited to be introducing the TG3, 2021 International Truck of the Year, to our market and customers! This all-new vehicle makes it abundantly clear why MAN’s TGX is the International Truck of the Year for 2021,” he enthuses. A new Volkswagen commuter bus range will also make its debut in South Africa.
Klein has high hopes for these new products and for the company in general. “We will also focus on our telematics drive, ProfiDrive and exciting tailor-made repair and maintenance solutions across the range,” he reveals.
One of the reasons for his optimism is his team. “MAN Automotive (South Africa) has a very strong team; we have superior products, and are close to our customers, thanks to our extensive dealer network.”
The local production facilities, he says, are also invaluable. “Having our own bus and coach facility has proven over the years to be a vital tool in our market leadership within the bus sales segment.”
And he wants nothing less than the number one position – irrespective of whether one is talking buses or trucks. “The future looks bright for MAN in 2021 and beyond. We will continue with our drive to be number one within the truck sales segment as well as maintaining our bus market leadership within the South African markets. We have strong relationships with our customers; this has been proven by our excellent CSI results. I am extremely proud to be a member of the MAN team in South Africa, building strong relationships with customers and I look forward to many successes together in this beautiful country.”
We wish Klein and his team all success in our country!