Big MAN in town


Two years after MAN brought us the 560hp 15-litre TGX D38, the brand has released the new XXL Cab, a big-cab option with more than 600hp on tap. Cobey Bartels writes

 

 

The new MAN TGX big cab model boasts up to 640hp

The MAN XXL Cab was unveiled for Owner//Driver at the Penske Commercial Vehicles facility in Brisbane on May 30, with the very first being handed over to an eager customer.

Initially, the XXL cab looks much the same, but step inside and you’d need to be seven-foot tall to have headroom issues – this is a true walk-through cab. The XXL Cab offers 2,030mm of in-cab height, 210mm more than the XLX Cab and 490mm more than the standard XL Cab within the TGX range.

A plus for the new model, perhaps even bigger than the cab itself, is an increase in engine power with the proven D38 now offered in Euro 6c 640hp (477kW) guise. The 640hp variant produces its peak torque of 3,000Nm from a low 930rpm, up 100Nm over the lower-spec 580hp option.

Penske Commercial Vehicles managing director Kevin Dennis says the decision to bring the XXL Cab to Australia is one that comes at a time the MAN brand needs a true flagship model.

"I’ve always believed every brand should have a flagship truck and on the Western Star side we have the 6900," Dennis says. "The XXL cab is that flagship that we need for the MAN brand and 640hp makes us very competitive in terms of the power stakes. Plus, there is a very good business case for having a big-size cab in Australia."

MAN TGX D38

The added horsepower is something Dennis says customers do occasionally ask for, but the decision to bring the uprated D38 engine to market is more about setting a high standard in line with the flagship big cab.

"It was introduced in response to demand for a flagship cab needing a flagship horsepower rating as a well," he says. "We had a few operators say they’d like that sort of 600hp mark but I think if you segment the market for any brand, high horsepower is a low percentage of the business.

"I think the MAN is very much what we see as a fleet truck, and that’s that 560hp [418kW], 580hp [433 kW] rating. Where we have the owner-drivers or companies wanting to reward their drivers, that’s where the 640hp will come in."

Big cab fan

G1 Logistics managing director Damien Matthews was the aforementioned customer taking delivery of the first Australian-delivered XXL Cab at the unveiling. In addition, he has another 30 of the big-cab models on the way.

Matthews welcomed 10 of the 560hp MAN D38 trucks into his fleet late last year, after trialling one of the 2016 models for a full year and deciding to take on more. Despite his fleet of more than 150 trucks consisting of just about every brand under the sun, Matthews is open in admitting the MAN D38 engine is difficult to beat in terms of fuel efficiency.

"The fuel economy has been exceptional, the product itself works, and the beauty about it is that Penske stand behind it," Matthews said when speaking about the D38. Their fuel economy is best in the business; we constantly monitor our trucks and they’re on top of the charts every month.

"The emissions are also good for us, Euro 6c, the emissions are a standout. When you are dealing in the supermarket industry, the expectation is to operate as safe and green as possible."

First buyer: G1 Logistics MD Damien Matthews (right) with Penske Commercial Vehicles MD Kevin Dennis at the handover of the new MAN TGX XXL Cab

When asked if he foresees more MAN trucks entering his fleet into the future, Matthews was quick to praise the various benefits of the brand and backed Penske’s commitment to reducing customer downtime.

"Without a doubt, if they keep performing and standing behind their product why wouldn’t you buy them?" he says. "It’s the whole deal; it’s buy price, fuel economy, contract maintenance, and they minimise my downtime.

"When you do have issues it’s easy to communicate with them because they have a can-do attitude of wanting to help and support."

In-house rivalry

On the truck sales side, Dennis confirms that for the first time ever MAN is set to shake up the difficult to crack Australia market, sitting on track to overtake sister brand Western Star.

"The numbers will be close, but looking at my forward order plan MAN should be ahead of Western Star this year," he says. "That’s really just reflective of the change in the marketplace overall, with the growth of the cab-over product."

With its sights set firmly on the Australian heavy-duty cab-over market, MAN is aiming to double its market share here, citing the brand’s proven success in Europe.

"I think our plan is to capture more market share; MAN in Europe is the number-one or number-two brand in almost every country," Dennis says. "I’d like to see us [MAN] capture a percentage of market share here that’s about double what we are today.

"We are at four percent and I’d like to see 8 per cent over time. I’m about balance and harmony and we plan to grow the brand at a rate that matches our network."

The new XXL Cab comes as MAN is expected to overtake Western Star in Australia

In terms of delivery dates for the vehicles, the first has already been fitted out and delivered to Matthews of G1 Logistics and Dennis tells us plenty more are on the water.

In summarising MAN’s current position down under and future outlook, Dennis says it’s never been better here for the brand and looks forward to growing the Penske dealer network.

"Overall the MAN order board is the healthiest it’s ever been in the history of the brand in Australia," he says. "As an organisation we are exceptionally focused on delivering and exceeding our customer expectation and over time growing to have the largest network in the country."

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