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Staff in turmoil at ERF shake-up

WORKERS at troubled ERF are facing more turmoil after the announcement of a company shake-up.

WORKERS at troubled ERF are facing more turmoil after the announcement of a company shake-up.

Parent company MAN Nutzfahrzeuge AG is to split ERF manufacturing from sales and marketing, bringing the latter under MAN control.

Management says the restructuring strategy is necessary to insure the company's survival. And they have pledged the survival of the ERF brands, the ECS and ECX models.

MAN bought ERF from Western Star in March 2000 and the changes were nnounced at a press conference at Heathrow Airport on Monday.

It comes in the wake of financial 'irregularities' discovered at ERF in August and the subsequent axeing of half its workforce a month later.

MAN commercial vehicles group chief executive, Hakan Samuelson, stressed: 'MAN will stay with its two brand strategy for the market, with ERF trucks being sold alongside the MAN brand.

'The measures we are announcing today show conclusively that our plan is for the ongoing existence ­ and success ­ of ERF.'

ERF has continued to make losses, and double digit savings in cost of sales and overheads are said to be needed to break even, though the company has now been re-capitalised by MAN.

The cost savings are expected to be achieved through greater efficiencies in manufacturing, engineering and back office functions.

Mr Amd Lottgen will direct ERF truck manufacturing. He expects to see the Middlewich plant working at an efficient and sustainable level by March, using proven MAN anufacturing techniques and improved component supply, including the increased use of MAN parts.

A spokesman for ERF said: 'While circumstances left no alternative but to restructure, they have also provided the opportunity for ERF to re-group and to look at the future with growing confidence.'

' TARGETS for the MAN-ERF group include a combined 20% market share of some 10,000 new trucks and 5,000 used trucks a year.

This would equate to an annual combined turnover of about £600m. The total vehicle number for the combined businesses is estimated at 75,000 trucks, with 20,000 running on current contracts.

Both brands will keep their own independent dealer and service networks.

ERF will also gain its own finance organisation using the ERF TransCom brand.


David Holmes
Chief News Reporter
David Norbury
Mike Fuller
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