MAN Truck & Bus

Portrait of Andreas Griem, who stands smiling in front of a truck with his arms crossed.


MAN ProfiDrive is celebrating 40-years of existence. Nobody knows the history of this driver training provided by MAN as well as Andreas Griem does. This long-serving ProfiDrive instructor talks in an interview about why he has great respect for the performance of professional drivers and why the approach at MAN ProfiDrive is so personal and individual.


Andreas Griem

Not quite 40 years yet, but Andreas Griem has nonetheless been a trainer at MAN ProfiDrive since 1991. He trains drivers and driving instructors around the world in all aspects of using commercial vehicles. Andreas Griem is planning to retire in two years time. Then he’ll be driving his tractor rather than a truck, and running his small farm breeding horses and dogs in East Frisia.

Andreas, for over 30 years you’ve been training truck drivers, bus drivers and driving instructors in dealing with the subtleties of MAN commercial vehicles. What has changed over the decades?

Griem Our training sessions used to focus mostly on gear changes and driving within the correct rpm range to make the most cost-effective and vehicle-friendly use of trucks and buses. Nowadays, the driver’s task is increasingly like the role of a pilot in the cockpit. Introduction of the MAN TGA truck series more than 20 years ago saw more and more safety systems, assistance systems and telematics services for fleet control being installed in MAN commercial vehicles. Drivers are supposed to earn good money with these trucks and buses and at the same time travel in a safe and eco-friendly manner on the roads, so they need thorough familiarisation to be able to make best use of the innovative technologies, monitor them and intervene at any time.

Ever more fields of knowledge have also been added beyond the vehicle itself…

Griem That’s right, today’s truck drivers have to know their way around the likes of securing a load, the environment, social regulations and crime in the transport sector. Commercial drivers of trucks and buses in Germany are obliged to complete 35 hours of continuing professional development every five years and have this recorded in their driving license. Our training covers all the topics that are relevant to drivers, fleet managers and the companies involved in transporting goods and passengers.

You’ve already travelled the world for MAN ProfiDrive. Which countries made a special impression on you when driving MAN trucks and buses?

Griem It’s especially exciting when we’re transferring brand new MAN vehicle models to the major events where they’re presented to the international public. These trips resonate with great pride and emotion. These journeys make us quite nervous, though, because the vehicles are of course supposed to arrive at their world première without a single scrape. I was in Andalusia as the MAN Lion's Star coach was presented in 1992, in Sardinia as the MAN TGA celebrated its première in 2000 and finally in Spain at the launch of the new MAN truck generation in Bilbao in February 2020. Those were very moving experiences. I’ll also never forget a spectacular journey through breathtaking landscape during a heavy haulage trip through the Andes in South America as part of familiarisation with our heavy-duty tractor unit.

What other especially emotional moments have you experienced in your job?

Griem I believe my many encounters with people are particularly amazing. I spent the whole day in 2016 driving through Swabia in a MAN TGX XXL with a young man who is severely disabled. It was his greatest dream to one day be a passenger in a truck and at that time MAN was the only manufacturer to respond to his request. Making his dream come true was a wonderful experience for me. And another lasting memory is when my MAN ProfiDrive colleagues and I distributed packed lunches to truck drivers as they kept the supply of essential goods flowing during the corona lockdown. That was our opportunity to do something good for society – and the drivers’ gratitude was a superb reward for our campaign.

Truck drivers, bus drivers and transport companies have a very high opinion of ProfiDrive training. What in your view is the key to this success?

Griem Our training sessions are very practical and personal. Nobody is as familiar with MAN vehicles as we are. Despite that, we never want to take an overly didactic approach, because we have huge respect for the performance of drivers who cover a lot more kilometres in their job than we trainers do. We speak to them as equals, in a personable and relaxed manner. We take an individual approach to each driver and their strengths and weaknesses, either directly in the driver's compartment or via Connected CoDriver using the vehicle’s telematics. These training sessions ultimately also pay off from a business perspective. Because drivers who have trained with us subsequently achieve fuel savings of up to ten per cent.  This results in hard cash for the transport companies and carriers.

The vehicle technologies will continue to develop – also in the future. What challenges will drivers face and which new topics will this create for MAN ProfiDrive?

Griem We’re currently seeing a huge rise in demand for training sessions involving electric vehicles. Because electric mobility doesn’t just require new knowledge about how to safely deal with high voltage technology, it also substantially alters the driving task. Saving fuel in the case of diesel engines requires avoiding braking by means of a fluid and proactive driving style, whereas a different rule now applies: recovery of energy through recuperation requires deceleration via the accelerator pedal. Automated driving is another important field for the future. The increasing scope of assistance systems to relieve drivers is heading further and further in the direction of self-driving trucks. We at MAN ProfiDrive are providing our input into the development of these technologies. There’s sound reasoning behind our brand promise: We train the future.

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We train the Future MAN ProfiDrive Coach Andreas Griem führt vor, wie sich das Fahren mit einem historischen F08 von dem mit einem modernen MAN TGX unterscheidet.  

Interview   Felix Enzian
Photos   Beat Schwiersch (Video), Alexander Dietrich (Photos)

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