By Farezza Hanum Rashid
MAN Truck & Bus technicians recently had a rare opportunity of working on two LE 10.220 trucks, a model not available in Malaysia.
The two trucks, which were converted into motorhomes, were a part of the ‘Abenteuer Osten’ group’s Germany-Australia road tour, which also included 30 other vehicles of different types. The first truck to arrive in Rawang needed an unscheduled suspension replacement while the second needed a new windshield.
The former, driven by 70-year-old German Rudi Bangert, was a 14-year-old truck whose suspension was worn out to its maximum usage. Bangert started hearing noise that indicated suspension issues when the group was travelling through Kazakhstan. He then called MAN Germany to deliver the part, as well as a set of tyres, to Thailand where he collected them when the group arrived in the Land of Smiles.
MAN Truck & Bus (M) Sdn Bhd Parts Manager Mohd Azizy Mohd Aris said it was a wise move because the parts were not available locally, especially the 20-inch tyres which were manufactured specially for the LE 10.220 trucks and only available in Germany. The wear and tear of the suspension was made worse by the roads in India which Bangert described as ‘very bad.’
“Malaysia so far is the best country for us to travel in because the drivers follow road regulations. In India, traffic was a mess and people are constantly honking,” Bangert said. He had also wanted to change the engine oil while he was still in Malaysia as it was cheaper here but was advised against it as it was feared that the Malaysian oil would not be compatible with his LE 10.220.
The second truck was driven by Carsten Fischer. The truck had some very bad cracks in its windshield and knowing it would take some time for the part to arrive, they called the Rawang centre one month in advance while they were in Thailand.
“We made the order from Germany for them and the spare windshield arrived in two weeks via air freight, without extra charges to the customer. We took a big risk in ordering this windshield as it is a very fragile part. If anything happened to it during delivery, the customer could reject it and we would be left with an expensive part that nobody here could use,” Azizy said. The windshield however, arrived in mint condition and was just waiting for Fischer’s arrival.
Although the parts were different from what the Malaysian mechanics were used to, Azizy said this was not a problem as they had access to a system where they could see specifications and instructions related to all MAN parts.
“This is testament to MAN’s two-year international parts warranty. We can support our worldwide customers, even though we do not carry their model line-ups here. Also, if they experience problems with the parts that they had changed while in another country, they can make their claims from there without having to contact us,” he told this correspondent.
To facilitate communication, the easiest and fastest way to get in touch with the German travellers was via the WhatsApp messaging application, especially as they moved from one country to another. Azizy said the WhatsApp technology enabled them to communicate wherever the customers were.
The MAN team also had to work fast. Speed was crucial as the customers had very specific time frame that they needed to stick to. Each truck took not more than two days to get fixed up. There was also no chance for error and the team was committed to do quality job, considering the customers had a long way to go and their journey was not without unpredictable challenges and conditions.
To accommodate the customers who preferred to stay in their motorhomes instead of hotels while their trucks were getting serviced, MAN prepared space for them to park within the compound and provided external electrical supply.
Fischer and the rest of the Abenteuer Osten crew arrived in Australia by the end of July where they would stay for a year. Bangert, however, was unable to complete his journey as he met with an accident in Thailand and sustained some injuries. He drove to Singapore where he and his truck were ferried back to Germany by sea.
Fischer, an avid traveller and a huge MAN fan, has two other MAN truck models: TGL 10.220 and the TGM 13.290. He started travelling in 2013 when he went to Iceland during summer and in 2016, he travelled to Oman with the LE 10.220. In April last year, he went to Iceland again and in August, he started this current trip. He was introduced to MAN by another customer and after doing some research, he decided that MAN had the best eight- to 12-tonne vehicles.
MAN Truck & Bus (M) Sdn Bhd stocks a wide range of spare parts for all MAN vehicles in the country. Its newly constructed spare parts racking houses over 9,000-line items valued at approximately RM6.0 million (about 1.48 million USD). MAN’s Central Spare Parts Centre allows the world to be connected by its Internet Business Information System (IBIS). This on-line system makes information search and ordering swift and efficient. The company also strengthened its dealer network nationwide by furnishing service facilities and distributing original MAN spare parts in Alor Setar, Prai, Kuantan, Rawang, Johor Bahru, Sibu and Bintulu. MAN has an ‘On-The-Road Aid’ service consisting of two 24-hour emergency teams.