MAN Truck & Bus
Koos "Our brand image is transported on the roads, since that's where people experience our products. So all our vehicles have to be recognised as belonging to our brand. They need eye-catching design elements that immediately say to the onlooker: that's a MAN. The same applies to NEOPLAN. What distinguishes our corporate truck design is the front grille plaque with the Büssing lion, the MAN lettering and chrome trim. Our buses too bear recurring smart edge design features, such as the lateral swoop on MAN coaches. The NEOPLAN bus brand, on the other hand, has its very own design vocabulary. Each NEOPLAN fan knows the legendary sharp-cut design, the eagle eye of the headlights and the projecting B frontage.”
Kupitza “The topic of ergonomics is highly important in design. All of the control elements have to be easily accessible and clearly visible to the driver. He or she needs sufficient freedom of movement, usable storage space and pleasant lighting conditions. The exterior of the new MAN Lion's City bus therefore has an extra number of large maintenance flaps to make its technical inner workings conveniently accessible. Our design included these service-friendly flaps from the very beginning and we developed a segmented exterior cladding, which is attractive while simultaneously providing ideal functionality.”
Gaedtke “We designers develop vehicles from a holistic perspective to balance different functional requirements. By creating more interior space in a truck, for instance, we directly increase collision safety and comfort for the driver. We bring safety aspects into line with aerodynamics when shaping the body. Certain components should not protrude beyond the overall shape. This ensures the passive safety of other road users in the event of collisions.“
Schönherr “Products that are well designed also satisfy functional requirements. Even a layman often sees a vehicle's functional strengths at first glance. The design of the NEOPLAN, for example, is trimmed entirely for aerodynamics. Everything that introduced unnecessary air resistance was removed. Even the outer appearance of a NEOPLAN Cityliner rightly creates the impression that it drives more economically than its competitors. A well and correctly designed aerodynamic shape not only reduces fuel consumption. It also reduces driving noise and prevents soiling on the outer surface.”
Holger Koos who is head of vehicle design in the Design Department.
Who is your favourite designer – and why?
I'm a fan of German product designer Wilhelm Wagenfeld. This Bauhaus student is one of the best-known pioneers of industrial design. Some of his designs are produced as design classics right up to the present day, for example the Bauhaus lamp designed jointly with Carl Jacob Jucker – also referred to as the Wagenfeld lamp.
Which designs do you consider to be overrated?
The effect-seeking designs of a Luigi Colani, for example, which seldom worked.
Who was your role model/mentor?
That was Professor Wolfgang Kraus, head of commercial vehicle design at MAN. I learned a lot from him in terms of design principles and strategies relating to commercial vehicle design.
© Constantin Mirbach
Sven Gaedtke who is head of Central Styling and responsible for the Strategic Components, Studio, Engineering and Modelling departments.
What thought shapes you personally in your design work at MAN?
Design means the creation of concepts in which form and function come together as a unit. Design at MAN involves an expressive stylistic vocabulary, aesthetic lightness, creative timelessness and a thoughtful use of materials.
How and where do you find new inspiration for designs?
In everyday life, on the road, on holiday, at trade shows, in art, culture, technology, etc. I keep my eyes open and look for those topics and trends that are likely to develop in the future.
Your vision for a design (bus or truck) in 30 years …
That would clearly be fuel-cell-powered, modular, autonomous comfort cabins. And perhaps electric Zeppelin trucks?
© Constantin Mirbach
Stephan Schönherr who is head of Bus Design and designs buses and coaches for MAN and NEOPLAN.
What thought shapes you personally in your design work at MAN?
Finding an ergonomic and highly functional design that fits the core of our brand and enables explanation-free applicability. A vehicle should offer people the highest possible degree of attractiveness.
Who are your favourite designers?
Mies van der Rohe, Marcel Breuer and Reimund Loewy with his streamline designs. In the automotive sector it's Bertone. Their studies play a seminal role in the development of automotive design.
How do you measure the success of your work?
If the vehicle that's built is close to the initial design. This indicates that the designer was able to prevail without having to compromise.
© Constantin Mirbach
Kupitza “Design functionality in commercial vehicles is even more important than in cars. Although aesthetics also play a major role here and influence the buying decision. MAN buses and trucks do not follow short-lived fashions, they are timelessly elegant. The powerful-sympathetic appearance is important in a truck – like a workhorse. NEOPLAN on the contrary is the expressive design icon – it can and should polarise.”
Koos “There is an erroneous assumption that designers can subsequently 'make a vehicle look nice'. That's not how it works. Neither can we design a product in an ivory tower which looks incredible, but then doesn't work in practice. A coherent overall concept only arises when technical and creative development work jointly and are integrated from the beginning.”
Gaedtke “The front section of a vehicle is its face. Our buses radiate friendliness, self-confidence and power. Passengers should feel safe and welcome. We give a lion’s face to MAN trucks and buses. The headlights are their eyes. The radiator grille forms their nose and muzzle.”
Koos “The Lion combines so many positive attributes: agility, intelligence, strength, dynamism, speed, sovereignty. It is the king of the animals.“
Koos “We use modern and durable materials. The user feels more comfortable in a high-quality vehicle and takes better care of it. This benefits sustainability as a whole.”
Gaedtke “The decision to use glass as the outer skin for the MAN Lion's City was deliberate. It is highly functional: glass contributes to body rigidity, allows a maximum of light into the interior, is corrosion-resistant, does not need to be painted and is more scratch-resistant than metal. Segments can easily be replaced. Glass also looks very sophisticated and futuristic. It lends the bus an impression reminiscent of a modern smartphone.”
Design tool A designer working on a digital sketch for the Concept S. The Vacuum board has a touch-sensitive screen and enables particularly efficient work in the design phase. Direct digital processing allows versions to be easily developed and work steps to be cancelled. © MAN
Futuristic vision The Concept S is a design study for trucks from 2004. MAN was involved early on with design-oriented solutions for reduced fuel consumption based on lower resistance. This vehicle is designed to generate 25–30 per cent less air resistance. © MAN
Distinctive character Whether digitally on a vacuum board or using a pencil – each drawing is created by hand. So that employees can bring their own personal touch when defining shapes. © MAN
Good ideas These illustrations are key sketches of the new MAN Tourliner. The depiction was developed in the beginning of the project and due to it’s quality it was selected as the final design of the current Tourliner. © MAN
Lessons learned These types of buses are now in use in cities like Riga and Vilnius. This sketch of a trolleybus stems from the pre-war period – but at some point this mode of transport could also become a reality for trucks. There is a test track in Northern Germany, for instance, where trucks transport goods on overhead-cable highways.© MAN
From the archive An art treasure of MAN design history: these sketches from the 60s show the bonnets of various MAN vehicles. The design criteria are particularly apparent; despite continuous development they define the brand's DNA. This includes the typical front "grille", for example, which is still important. © MAN
Practised craftsmanship This final design rendering from 1989 depicts a hand-drawn F 2000. A drawing like this took an experienced designer at least a day to complete. © MAN
Convincing design This key-visual rendering from 2011 is the "winner" from a series of designs for the new Lion's City. It is in line with the new design principles and describes both the dynamics and applicability of a MAN bus. © MAN
Coach design The new MAN Lion's Coach can be seen in its original form in this rendering. It describes the vehicle's design principles and is already very close to the actual series production version. © MAN
Science fiction This bus study also involves a visionary rendering, in which Tron films served as a particular basis for inspiration. Will such dreams of the future soon be reality? © MAN
Concept X This visionary car transporter, with its abstract MAN lion's muzzle as a futuristic design for a vehicle feature, is the result of a Pforzheim thesis developed in collaboration with MAN. © MAN
Visionary Neoplan Study The autonomous driving transport rig carries passenger cabins or product containers (in black) and takes them to their final destination. Boarding and disembarking (as well as loading and unloading) are successfully concluded after the transport rig has disengaged. The rig is meanwhile carrying a new cabine (or container) at high speed.
The CitE 18 in use The finished rendering shows the application- and future-oriented concept for an urban and electrically-operated delivery vehicle. The lowered cab enables the driver to hop in and out of the vehicle very easily. © MAN
Inspiration Designers use sketches like this to commit their initial ideas to paper. This design shows impressions of the CitE 18 diagonally from the rear. © MAN
Refinement Photo-realistic renderings are created in the advanced stages of development. This perspective depicts the modern design lines of the CitE 18 diagonally from the font. Renderings like this help the designer to communicate ideas and pursue particular objectives. © MAN
Innovation This rendering shows the functionality of a mirror replacement system and a detailed presentation of the novel assistance system with its multiple rear-view cameras. The system will be available on the market from 2020 for the first time as special equipment on coaches. © MAN
Schönherr “Vehicle electronics are becoming more and more important – and this increases the significance of the cockpit displays. Consistent and user-friendly design of the user interface is very time-consuming. Appropriate pictograms have to be developed for every new function. The function of each pictogram must be immediately comprehensible and be logically integrated into the overall design concept.”
Kupitza “This demand applies not only to pictograms: every detail of the design is an ambassador for the entire product.”
Schönherr “MAN and NEOPLAN represent dynamics and quality at the highest level. Our products demand technological leadership. This is also expressed in the precision of the design, such as high optical quality, narrow joints and reduction to the essentials.”
Koos “The design elements are not arbitrarily selected. They are developed from our brand design criteria and a long tradition and express our brand values: powerful, expressive and considered are the attributes to which we align our design.”
The Design Department at MAN received the distinction of “Team of the Year” at the Automotive Brand Contest 2018. This is regarded as the most important creative competition in the international automotive industry. It is awarded annually by the German Design Council. Our designers have already won other awards in 2019: The new MAN CitE concept truck won the gold iF award. The MAN Lion’s City bus received an iF award and a red dot award. The MAN design team includes 20 creative minds.