Q&A: MAN profits from truck sales boom

Munich. The German commercial truck manufacturer MAN sold 37,300 trucks and buses in the first half of 2004 - a 23 percent increase on last year's first half. MAN sales director Fred van Putten talked to Automobilwoche's Pia Krix about MAN's success.

Mr. van Putten, what is your explanation for the boom in truck sales?

It is difficult to explain. Our customers seem to have different reasons. On one hand the demand for transport has grown. Then there is an increased demand for second hand vehicles due to the European Union expansion eastwards. And thirdly there is a lot of catching up to do because many companies kept putting off buying new trucks or buses.

Can you give us some idea of what the second half will be like?

We expect a further increase in unit sales due to our good order situation. This also applies to the first half of 2005. This year we will sell approximately 71,200 vehicles. Around 63,800 of those will be trucks and 7,400 will be busses.

Which markets are the reason for this order increase?

In regard to trucks we had a high order increase in Germany, which is our largest market. Also in Austria, where our market share is more than 40 percent.

In Spain we are approaching a market share of 15 percent.

What is your view on the development on the Chinese market?

You cannot compare the trucks market to the automobile market in China. The automobile industry is booming like crazy but compared to that the demand for commercial vehicles still is within limits. If the Chinese economy continues to develop at this incredible speed then customers' demands will also soon rise. They will no longer want to sit in cheap buses with small engines. That is when we will receive more orders.

How is your cooperation with the Indian trucks manufacturer Bajaj Tempo Ltd. going?

We are still at the very beginning. The Indian market has a large potential, but here too one needs to plan on a long-term basis. Doing business is only possible through cooperation and joint ventures.

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