KEVIN Dennis believes the early buzz around the new MAN XXL cab is just the start of bigger things to come in Australia.
Just back from a European industry sortie where every third rig he saw on the road was a MAN, the managing director of Penske Commercial Vehicles said the market frontrunner in Europe had the potential to be just as big here.
"We're up 23 per cent on last year, and all the orders are looking very, very strong,” said Kevin, who is confident Penske will sell well over 400 MANs in Australia this year alone.
"It's looking good going into next year as well. We're excited about it. Finally, we're starting to do some good stuff in the market for the brand.”
Penske recently handed over the initial XXL cab prime mover in Australia to G1 Logistics.
Offered in MAN's TGX range, the spacious XXL cab is more than 200mm taller than the XLX cab, and almost 500mm taller than the XL cab.
The prime mover delivered to G1 Logistics also boasts the first MAN 640hp Euro 6c engine, transitioning the flagship D38 model, which was introduced in October 2016 into the 600-plus hp bracket.
Available in a 6x4 configuration, the D38 640hp Euro 6c engine produces 3000Nm of torque at 930-1350rpm.
The larger cab is a response to market demand for improved, roomier working environments for drivers, particularly in the long haul segment.
"The feedback we have received from the market is clear - both fleet managers and owner-operators want larger cabs, providing their drivers with premium conditions,” Kevin said.
"The D38 has always delivered outstanding safety features, low whole-of-life costs, and maximum performance and efficiency. And now with the 640hp option, drivers that are after the extra power will have that, too.
"The latest in European technology, the Euro 6c, with tighter on-board diagnostics, results in improved fluid consumption and, in some cases, longer oil drain intervals, yielding even lower whole-of-life costs.”
Kevin believes the market is moving more toward the European cabover product, a trend reinforced by driver feedback here.
"What we're finding is that you take a traditional diehard American truck driver, and put him in a MAN, and the first thing they'll do when they come out of the truck, is to say, 'Hey don't tell anyone, but that's a bloody good truck'.
"And we think the value proposition we have as Penske is that we have built our own dealer network here so from a customer point of view we have become a single entity in select locations.
"This is further bolstered by our trusted, independent dealer network.
"Customers can take a product into one of our independent dealers, or one of our facilities in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, or Darwin.
"We give them consistency of service and delivery and pricing.
"We're investing millions and millions of dollars into building our network and facilities here.”
MAN's Euro 6c engine is now available in 580hp, with the 640hp Euro 6c to be made widely available at a later date.