Perspectives from MZ

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Perspectives from MZ
Jorg Kunstle


Perspectives from MZ

Perspectives from MZ
MZ Mammon’s dilemma

The former mass manufacturer MZ has become a small business. Nevertheless, the new bosses want to aim high, give the global player. The European market, the thousands, only plays a minor role for the owner, the Malaysian Hong Leong Group.

Michael Orth, Norbert Sorg


The new managing director of MZ there is a wonderful perspective. When Mr. Yap Peng Leong looks out the window of his office, he looks far over the hills and valleys of the Ore Mountains. The outlook is less beautiful when he looks down. Then he sees that
Company parking lot, where only a few cars are lost here and there.
Since September, with the decision to only manufacture the 125 cc in Malaysia in the future, MZ has had almost half of the
Dismissed the workforce. Of 170 employees, there are only 90 left. 35
at MZ Engineering, the outsourced development department, 55 at the production company, including 20 of course
Trainee. Their perspectives are
great, says Mr. Yap. Business is international, MZ is part of a global corporation, and you just have to be mobile enough. Close-
he was also 51 years old
came to Germany to replace two managing directors. Dr. Christof Baumgartner left or had to leave after only one year because he had plans for MZ and Ramasamy that were incompatible with those of the Malaysians
Vasuthewan is ripe for retirement.
The new guy at Hong Leong in
Financial sector started its career
stressed being a man of numbers. “I save everything I see in
Numbers, that’s me. ”That’s why Mr. Yap always sees red when he doesn’t look out the window but into the books.
Since the fall of the Wall, MZ has never had any money
earned. With the introduction of the D-Mark in 1990, the market in the east collapsed ?? the
Motorcycles were too expensive ??, and for
the company had no attractive models in the West. 3000 of 3800 employees had to leave. Two smart managers came, one of whom, Wolfram Sauerbrey, was soon exposed as a fraud, the other, Petr-Karel Korous, not. He stayed. And despite financial injections from the Free State of Saxony, led the company to bankruptcy in 1996. However, Korous managed to get the Malaysian conglomerate Hong Leong excited about MZ. The strategy must have sounded good, and in fact it still sounds good
good at. Vasuthewan explains it like this: “It
is a cycle. The image that you have
the construction of large motorcycles, has an effect
focus on small machines, motorcycles for the mass market in emerging countries such as Vietnam, Iran, India. «Millions of such small motorcycles are sold there, with a potential of seven million units per year in Southeast Asia alone. “Part of what is earned with it is invested in new prestige objects, which in turn promote the development of technology.” This is how Honda grew up, actually all Japanese manufacturers.
In 1996, Hong envisioned himself
Leong boss Ron Lim MZ on a par
with Honda and Yamaha. That went badly in the pants. Because MZ is not a line
brought into model politics, to none
Style, no image of its own. because
MZ built a potpourri of motorcycles that, at least since the Scorpion in 1994, weren’t even bad. But no longer interested. The chance of a
Occupying one’s own niche, for example on the model of KTM, was a miss, the reputation pretty much ruined. Matched with it
absurd management mistakes, such as the one, several millions in one total-
To sink a strange Grand Prix project or to get bogged down with the development of the new thousands, just to peddle with it, years before the start of production.
The person responsible for this, Petr-Karel Korous, enjoyed great popularity with almost overnight, until he was shot in 2004, almost overnight
everyone in the region. Because the native Czech presented himself exactly as you would at first in GDR times
evil, then the successful one later
Presented to capitalists. The bon vivant drove fat cars, smoked fat cigars, and surrounded himself with slim young women. As one of the exes? that may illustrate the bond between the MZ workers, their boss and the company? yourself
with the son of a Zschopau pub owner
together, applied among the workforce
the slogan to avoid this establishment in the future.
They didn’t want anything to come to MZ, and they didn’t want to go to the boss
Nothing at all, the company is too important for the city, the entire region. Although in
Zwickau, Chemnitz or Leipzig vehicles and accessories are produced again, in new factories and mostly more effectively than in the west, are the big manufacturers who once made Saxony’s motor vehicle-
Bau stood, brands like DKW, Horch, Auto Union, Trabant, disappeared. The only thing left from a glorious past was MZ. A symbol with
especially psychological importance. “Not only for self-confidence
MZ is of immense importance to our city «, says Zschopau’s mayor, Klaus Baumann, who works as a lathe operator, polisher and lacquer sander at MZ gear-
worked before studying economics in the mid-1970s. The city museum in Wildeck Castle is the only place where the engine is running-
wheels around, from the first DKW to the 1000 MZ. “Zschopau continues to see itself as a motorcycle and MZ city,” explains OB
Baumann, “because history cannot be erased.”
With all the pride in this story, one seems to have come to terms with the current misery. “Oh, actually, they fired employees,” an old lady in the market square has long since ceased to be surprised. What then follows,
is symptomatic. “You’ve got used to it by now.” She doesn’t want to give her name. “Because some might think I want to be in the foreground, and I don’t want that. I just want them not to MZ
close up. “
Sven Schulze from the Employment Agency in Annaberg-Buchholz does not want that either. Though he’s not the location
dramatized. “It’s hard to be confronted with 80 new unemployed people in one fell swoop, but on average we lose 200 industrial jobs every month in the Zschopau district.” Nevertheless, the unemployment rate has been hovering around 15 percent for a long time many jobs lost, but roughly the same number are added. Of course not
in Zschopau itself. That is why Schulze believes that he can place one or the other former MZ worker. There were nine at the beginning of the year. In addition, in the spring of MZ »one recall of ten
up to 15 employees “.
However, they do not need to hope for a permanent position
make. »The motorcycle business is a seasonal business, we employ people on a short-term basis if necessary-
contract for five or six months, ”explains managing director Yap. How beautiful and how practical, how pleasant and how professional-
great to be able to draw from a reservoir of qualified, loyal workers right on the doorstep. These workers were so loyal that they allowed themselves to be put on the street without any fanfare or protest. Even the head of the works council, Joachim Aurich, obediently followed the abstract logic of the numbers, sat down with Vasuthewan and selected the list of those who could only be used in future if necessary. And because they in turn thought of their needs, of the fact that one might need them again at some point, they didn’t complain, but rather let themselves be “released”..
Indeed, Hong Leong doesn’t think so
to withdraw from MZ, to stop motorcycle production in Zschopau. At least not at first. Meanwhile, Yap, the friend of numbers, comments that the presence in Zschopau depends on it
from how good the 1000s? and only that will
still made there ?? run. Manufacturing those in Asia doesn’t pay off because it does
lack of appropriate suppliers, and because of the small number of items. The management is thus in a quandary. It knows exactly that you should actually invest in the product, ver-
on the other hand supposes that it does not pay off. “The development of the 1000s,” says Vasuthewan, “devoured a lot of money, and the returns were simply not economic
acceptable. «MZ threatens to bleed out if one does not concentrate more on the economic aspects of international business. That means: MZ
Engineering continues to develop 125cc ?? »The most important class in the world« ?? and pushes newer models: 150, 175, 200, 250.
It goes without saying that there is hardly a flower pot to be won in Europe. But Europe only plays a minor role in Hong Leong’s strategy. The headquarters of the MZ Group is not in Zschopau, but in Malaysia. “Germany is
for us just a little cog in a big machine, and the real thing
Business is about mass. ”In this regard, Vasuthewan and Yap, old and new boss, are completely in line with that of the group.
Dr. Christof Baumgartner, on the other hand, had much more focus on the German and European markets, i.e. the 1000s and their improvements. “Baumgartner is a motorcycle enthusiast who looks
first on the product. However, we have to be good managers, ”says Yap, explaining the previously unspoken reasons that led to the separation from Baumgartner.
He had given the designer Jens vom Brauck the order to
to deal with the 1000 so rigorously that in the end you just get that
would have what MZ is still missing: consistency, radicalism, uniqueness. The result was something surprising, the SFx study (MOTORRAD 2/2006).
However, the current management does not seem really happy with this legacy. Because it takes money, a lot of money, to mass-produce the motorcycle. Money, the MZ Germany
not has. “If we go to Malaysia more
If you ask for investments in such prestige objects, the question immediately arises how the German motorcycle market would have grown. And then we have to say that
it has shrunk, and can again
Pack it up, ”says Ramasamy Vasuthewan, summing up his experience.
If that logic, currently in that way
as well as the common one on all boardrooms, including the only one at Hong Leong,
two scenarios can be derived from this-
conduct. Variation one: Hong Leong is stuck
less and less coal in the 1000s. By 2007 at the latest, it is bobbing out of date, 87 copies sold worldwide, 53 special colors. That would be it then-
with motorcycle construction in Zschopau. Variant two: Hong Leong puts less and less coal in the two-cylinder, but
there is an investor who is ready
is, several million euros in the company
to get stuck. Not out of jokes and dolls, but because he is convinced of it,
that MZ could well develop its own market with machines like the SFx. For Yap Peng Leong that would be
no problem, he “has nothing against the idea of ​​a co-investor, as long as that
is not a locust capitalist “.
Currently looking for someone to look up ahead
recently in a leading position at MZ
worked for such a financier, and he believes the chances of finding one anytime soon are not bad.

By the way: A portrait of Jens vom Brauck
appears in MOTORRAD 5/2006.

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