- On sale from September, prices from £23,990
- Big emphasis on best possible aftersales service
- Three-year unlimited mileage warranty as standard
The MAN TGE is based on the latest Volkswagen Crafter – and built in the same factory – which means it’s already endowed with all the safety and efficiency innovations of the very newest large van on sale.
UPDATE: we have now driven the MAN TGE - click here to read the full Parkers Vans review
MAN is best known for building trucks, but in partnership with Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, 2017 will see the firm launch its first large van in the UK market.
Launching at the CV Show 2017, the TGE goes on sale in September, with prices starting from £23,990 for the entry-level 3.0-tonne version, and from £26,490 for a 3.5-tonne model – which is where MAN expects to do most of its business.
Where MAN is really hoping to make its mark among established light commercial vehicles is through its aftersales network and service, where it will call upon all its experience keeping trucks running to the maximum to minimise unscheduled downtime for van operators – and therefore reduce costs.
Helping make this point, the TGE will be sold with a three-year unlimited mileage warranty. Bespoke finance packages and residual value guarantees will also help keep running costs low for MAN’s first foray into the light commercial vehicle (LCV) sector.
Details and specification of the MAN TGE
The TGE has been on our radar for a little while now, and we’ve already covered its world premiere at the 2016 IAA commercial vehicle show in Hanover last year. But this is the first time it’s been seen in the UK, and the first time we’ve been given any pricing or warranty information (see above).
Like the VW Crafter that shares its basic structure, the TGE is a large van with a gross vehicle weight range from 3.0 tonnes to 5.5 tonnes (with 3.5 tonnes being the legal limit for a regular car driving licence, as usual).
Volume ranges from 9.3 to 18.4 cubic metres, and there’s a choice of two wheelbases, three roof heights and three body lengths.
It will compete against the likes of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter, Ford Transit and Renault Master, and in addition to the regular panel van, it will be available as a chassis cab and double cab as well, totalling 69 different variants.
It’s powered by the same 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines as the Volkswagen, offering 102hp, 122hp, 140hp or 177hp, with 280Nm, 300Nm, 340Nm and 410Nm, respectively. It will tow up to 3.5 tonnes, and offered with a choice of front- rear- and all-wheel drive, plus six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic transmissions.
Autonomous Emergency Brake Assis is fitted as standard on all MAN TGE models.
So, it’s a pretty comprehensive assault on what is still the biggest-selling van segment in the UK.
The MAN servicing and maintenance difference
MAN might be new to the van market but it’s a very well-established player in trucks, and is hoping to use its experience in this area to bring a more professional ‘truck culture’ to aftersales service.
Service and maintenance for the TGE will be available across MAN’s entire network of 65 UK dealers, each of which is open for 16.5 hours a day, six days a week.
On top of this there will be 17 ‘centres of excellence’ for the van, plus 24/7 mobile roadside assistance from via dedicate MAN breakdown vehicles.
This is what MAN calls it’s ‘25/7 365 can do attitude’. This, we’re told, ‘will ensure maximum vehicle availability at all times.’
In keeping with this theme of maximised ‘uptime’ MAN is keen to work with van operators who are looking to raise standards in the sector.
The firm points to the fact that only 51% of LCVs pass their MOT first time, versus 85% of HGVs - a figure that rises to 97% when it comes to MAN trucks. Similarly, only 70% of vans attend their MOT on time, compared to 94% of trucks, while mechanical issues at roadside checks at far higher for vans, too – 63% versus 31%.
MAN is aiming to use its truck experience to improve these statistics for its van customers, using a proactive rather than a reactive approach. So if you buy a MAN TGE you can expect your local dealer to call you to book in your next service, rather than the other way around.
While we’re sure some van operators will view such innovation with cynicism, there’s no disputing the official MOT records, which servicing and maintenance standards in the light commercial vehicle sector could certainly be better than they currently are.