Transport News Brief spoke to MAN UK Managing Director Simon Elliott about the challenges ahead.
A revised used truck sales plan and more Authorised Testing Facility (ATF) lanes are among the items on MAN UK Managing Director Simon Elliott’s to do list.
Used truck sales will be redeveloped under the company’s Top Used Customer Charter. The plan involves setting up a retail team, as well as developing three ‘super sites’ and five smaller sites dedicated to used vehicle sales. Refurbishing lanes will be included on each site.
“One super site will be in Manchester, one will probably be in Felixstowe and the other one along the M4 corridor, potentially in Swindon,” says Elliott. “The important thing is that they have to be large scale sites, obviously where the market potential is. The other five locations will be owned by MAN, in areas such as Nuneaton, Northampton or Bells Hill in Edinburgh.
“Then there will be Private Capital Dealers (PCDs) – individual dealers independently owned. At the moment we are looking to recruit six of those and we’ve got 13 interested parties. So we’re still fleshing those out but at this point, we haven’t decided or agreed where those locations will be.”
More jobs are on the way at MAN too. “We’re looking to increase the number of sales staff that we’ve got both in Top Used, fleet and in our new vehicle sales area as well,” he says. “Like every truck organisation, we’re desperately looking for more technicians to offer better customer service and satisfaction. We also need workshop controllers and administration people, so pretty much across the board we are looking to recruit at the moment. That’s not just in the 16 dealerships that we own, but right across our 70-strong dealer network, including PCDs.”
Elliott says no new MAN dealership will be built without ATF lanes. “Where’s there’s an opportunity for an obvious development of an ATF site, we’re engaging with our dealers right now. There’s a new site we’re looking at in Grangemouth, which will have an ATF lane as well as in Exeter, so all the new sites that we build will have an ATF.
“Where there’s the potential and an opportunity in terms of the building today, we’re engaging with our dealers. If they are building an extension to a workshop, we’ll talk about ATFs then. In terms of the final number, it’s fairly flexible at the moment.”
Around 100 apprentices begin training across the MAN dealer network every year. “We do an awful lot with them and we’re going to boost that this year, we’re going to do a lot more with our apprenticeships and we’re looking at taking more on next year.
“If we’re struggling with taking fully-fledged mechanics, you have to grow your own. We’re going out of our way to try and attract younger people into the industry.”