MAN CLA series trucks – Best fit for emerging markets

MAN FORCE to launch buses in India soon After establishing a significant presence for the CLA series of trucks in the country, the company would storm the Indian market with its range of buses.

MAN has successfully established a significant presence for the CLA series of trucks in markets such as India, Africa, Middle East and Asia.

The company had formed an alliance with Force Motors and established a JV entity: MAN FORCE and has set up a state-of-the-art manufacturing unit at Pitampur. The CLA series of trucks, which are now being developed and made in India will form an important part of its global product portfolio.

While throwing light on how important CLA series is going to be in its scheme of things, Dr Georg Pachta-Reyhofen, Chairman of the Executive Board of MAN Nutzfarhrzeuge Gruppe said: “CLA is not only a perfect product for the Indian market but also for all other emerging markets as well. Having said this, we have developed about 20 variants for exports from India. We are eyeing markets including Africa, Middle East and Asian markets including Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia. What is more, CLA will be an essential part of our global product portfolio”.

CLA series trucks

These trucks are offered in either two-axle or three-axle chassis, meant for operations in different sectors. The company delivers these vehicles in the form of chassis and semi-trailer tractors or prepared for tipper or concrete-mixer bodies. The best part however is the fact that these trucks have been completely localised. All key aggregates including the engines, transmission, axles are all manufactured at the MAN FORCE Truck plant in Pithampur. The firm has rigorously implemented MAN’s technologically advanced standards in production there.


MAN is successively expanding exports of this range to various Asian and African countries, either complete vehicles are exported or ‘truck in the box’, which is then assembled in the respective regions. The joint venture in India is responsible for the sales in the country, whereas sales in other parts of Africa and Asia would be controlled by the head office.

The success with CLA range have not been necessarily restricted to three-axle tipplers for mines and major construction sites, the CLA has also found buyers in the long haul transport segment as well. Other segments that had attracted the CLA range include heavy duty transport, daily distribution transports and the public utilities sector like the waste disposal industry.

The MAN CLA is based on the reliable components tried and tested in some of the earlier MAN series. With its robust chassis, economical engines and 20 and 22.5-inch tyres designed for poor roads, the MAN CLA covers the weight class from 15 tonne to 26 tonne. The MAN CLA series comprises models such as two-axle chassis with a gross vehicle weight of 18 tonnes, which can be load-reduced to 15 or 16 tonnes to adapt it to national registration regulations and market requirements and these engines have outputs of 162 kW (220 hp) or 206 kW (280 hp) and 5,200-mm wheelbase. The next in line is the two-axle semi-trailer tractor CLA 18.280 4×2 with a gross vehicle weight of 18 tonnes and a six-cylinder engine with an output of 206 kW (280 hp), 3,600-mm wheelbase. The third one is the three-axle chassis of type CLA 26.280 6×4 with a gross vehicle weight of 26 tonnes, an engine with an output of 206 kW (280 hp) and a wheelbase of 4,600 + 1,400 mm. Another product in the segment, a three-axle chassis of type CLA 26.280 6×4 with a gross vehicle weight of 26 or 33 tonnes, an engine with an output of 206 kW (280 hp) and a wheelbase of 3,175 + 1,400 mm. Further, the company has also launched a three-axle chassis for tipper or concrete-mixer bodies with a gross vehicle weight of 26 tonnes and an engine with an output of 206 kW (280 hp) and two wheelbase variants are available including 3,175 + 1,400 mm or 3,825 + 1,400 mm.

Besides that the six-cylinder in-line engines of the MAN D08 series, which have proven themselves tens of thousands of times over are renowned for the power and the torque they develop across a wide engine-speed range. This makes itself felt in a driving style with few gearshifts and great economy. These vehicles comply with the Euro-II and Euro-III emissions standards, depending on market requirements. Two different versions of the engine are available, delivering two different outputs, although both have the same capacity of 6,871 cm3: D0836 with turbo-charging: 162 kW (220 hp) at 2,400 rpm, maximum torque 830 Nm at 1,300 – 1,500 rpm and D0836 with turbo-charging and internal exhaust-gas recirculation 206 kW (280 hp) at 2,400 rpm and a maximum torque of 1,000 Nm at 1,400 – 1,600 rpm. What makes these engines distinctive are their modern injection and engine technology. Depending on the engine output, six-speed or nine-speed transmissions from ZF are fitted.

Proven components

The vehicles are equipped with the established low-maintenance MAN AP axles, while Meritor hypoid axles are available for some of the models in the long-haul version. Depending on country-specific regulations, the front axle load is from 6 tonne to 7.5 tonne and the rear axle load from 9.5 tonne to 11.5 tonne. Furthermore, the robust leaf suspension unites heavy loads with safe road holding and driving comfort. Drum brakes that are insensitive to soiling add to the ease of maintaining the axles, increase their long service life and make for safe driving. The fact that no parts of the chassis extend beyond the frame top edge makes it easier for the manufacturers to fit their bodies. A rear under-ride guard is fitted as standard, minimising the consequences of a rear-end collision.


The cabs are available in two versions: day cab and a sleeper cab, which come from MAN’s well-known LE2000 series. The difference is in the length, the sleeper cab being 30 centimetres longer. Both cabs offer the driver an ergonomically designed workplace with air-sprung seat. All controls, including those for ventilation and heating are close to hand. The clearly structured and informative circular instruments – rev counter and tachometer – are located in the driver’s field of vision and between the two is a panel in which important information or malfunction messages are displayed against a coloured background.

The rev counter further provides important assistance for the economical operation of the MAN CLA. The coloured markings with green and red fields enable the driver to see the most economical engine speed range at a glance. Therefore, the driver will find stowage compartments in the middle of the dashboard, on the transmission tunnel as well as above the windscreen below the roof. For rejuvenating breaks, the longer sleeper cab is fitted with a bunk of up to 600 millimetres wide and 1,930 millimetres long behind the driver and co-driver’s seat. The best part is that most of the countries in which the MAN CLA will be operated stipulate right-hand drive, though the MAN CLA is also available with le
ft-hand drive.Foray into bus segment

Having established its presence in the truck segment, MAN is now exploring opportunities in the booming bus segment in India. The company will first launch inter-city buses, which will be built on the existing CLA series truck chassis. The firm has tied-up with an Indian bus body builder for building buses as per MAN specifications. The buses are likely to be rolled out sometime during next year. The bus model to be launched in India is a modernised product along the lines of what it sells in South Africa.