MAN boss Tostmann: “There is absolutely no reason to be afraid” – economy

When longtime VW manager Andreas Tostmann switched to trucks over a year ago and became MAN boss, many were surprised to wonder: could it also be a 40 ton truck? MAN, of all places, who had been rebuilding and saving over and over again for years. And precisely in these turbulent times when everything is in motion in the VW holding Traton truck, to which MAN and its Swedish sister company Scania belong. When Scania boss Christian Levin was recently appointed boss of Traton and therefore de facto top Tostmann, it could be understood as an announcement: the Swedes now want to take action in Munich. Is the boss of MAN now disempowered? On a rainy October afternoon, Tostmann sits confidently in his office. Does he expect further turmoil? No, he’s counting on peace.

SZ: Mr Tostmann, Traton boss Matthias Gründler left overnight, the new one is outgoing Scania boss Christian Levin, and many MAN employees in Munich are now afraid to step under the wheels.

Andreas Tostmann: There is absolutely no reason to be afraid. Christian Levin knows brands from his position on the Board of Traton. Cooperation is already underway and is getting closer and closer, as concrete projects as a common driving force show. I see great opportunities there for all of the Group’s brands.

MAN and Scania, but it was also a rivalry for years. Will the Swedes not take power if the boss of Scania is now also the boss of the holding company?

I don’t see it like that at all. We have mapped out a very clear path, and it says that we are now going to deal with the reconstruction and restructuring that is necessary. This will keep us occupied for a while.

Do you expect other surprising personal details?

No. I count on calm.

Also at the top of MAN?

We have a vacant position in finance, that’s all.

Does this mean that you are preparing to remain the boss of MAN for longer?

My mandate, which has been coordinated with the Supervisory Board, is to complete the restructuring here, and I will.

Christian Levin is now your supervisor. How are you as the boss of MAN?

Good. I know and appreciate Christian Levin as a competent and experienced manager and therefore look forward to continuing our collaboration.

For real? Don’t you feel a little surprised that the boss of the partner company is superior to you?

No. I have known Christian Levin for some time, we have already worked well together on the Board of Directors. We have the same issues at Scania and MAN, and now it’s the brands that work even more closely together.

But that is what it has been about for many years.

Yes, but now it is about the new technologies that present themselves to us, and with them new opportunities. Battery drives for trucks and buses, automated driving – all of this is now available and requires a new look at the possibilities of cooperation.

It’s not so new now, cooperation opportunities were explored earlier.

It is true, and much has been accomplished in the past. Take, for example, the common engine CBE. From 2024, the engines will also be manufactured at MAN in Nuremberg.

Open detailed view

The teams’ truck at the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Istanbul: “But we assume that 40% of trucks in long-haul transport will be electric by the end of this decade,” Tostmann said.

(Photo: imago images)

You were Automotive Director at VW until a year ago. Where was MAN when you came to Munich last year?

Great know-how, great products, great team, great technology.

But something must have gone wrong. Was it too slow?

In fact, MAN was not doing well economically even before the Corona crisis. The crisis has made our situation worse. That is why we have undertaken reconstruction and restructuring.

Christian Levin has announced that he now wants to transfer Scania’s production method, the so-called Lego principle, to the entire group. What awaits MAN?

These are modules, kits – and we have been talking about this for a long time: how can we use the same modules in vehicles of different brands? Engines, gearboxes, charging options for batteries and other components.

In all of this, what will come from Scania in the future, what will come from MAN?

We have a preliminary breakdown. Scania is currently leading the development of electric drives, MAN is developing the charging environment in the vehicle and for the battery, the two brands are developing together.

Change costs jobs: MAN cuts 3,500 jobs, Steyr truck plant with around 1,400 employees goes to former Magna boss Siegfried Wolf. What can he do better than MAN?

He has a different business model than ours so I don’t want to speak for him, you have to ask him yourself. For us, it was an important part of the realignment to abandon Steyr’s location.

MAN has been considered a refurbishment case for years, especially when viewed from Scania’s headquarters in Södertälje. Why was it always better at Scania, what was missing at MAN?

Let’s look to the future rather than the past. We are currently pursuing a comprehensive implementation plan.

And when will you be done?

We will have to wait until 2023 before we can say: the renovation is completely finished.

So are you going to cut other posts?

We have agreed on a plan with the staff representatives and we are sticking to it. The conversion will indeed occupy us for a long time.

And then there is the lack of chips, which leads to huge production losses, especially in the automotive industry.

We handled this pretty well in the first half of the year. Due to persistent bottlenecks, production interruptions may also occur at our various production sites.

When are you going to produce the last diesel truck?

At MAN, we have not yet defined the end of the diesel engine. However, we assume that 60 percent of trucks in regional and distribution transportation and 40 percent in long-haul transportation will be electric by the end of this decade. In cities, 90% of our city buses will be battery powered by 2030.

Would you really choose the profession of a truck driver today if you were still young?

I worked as a truck driver as a student and made money with it. I always had a lot of fun.

Long distances?

My tours were in the evening, replacing the regular drivers, from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Why is there a shortage of 80,000 drivers in Germany today? Do we now need more self-driving trucks very quickly?

I think there are other adjustments to be made along the way. We need to make the trucks even more comfortable, and provide the drivers with the best possible support with assistance systems so that work becomes more attractive. It is also our job as a truck manufacturer.

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