The Government's bright yellow street-cleaning trucks might not be the most glamorous vehicles on our roads, but their sales brushed aside hints of recession at MAN truck distributors Regal Motors' new service-hub celebrations in Sheung Shui last weekend. There were jigs among the rigs with the news that Regal Motors, a subsidiary of the Dah Chong Hong Group, has just supplied 45 of the German marque's vehicles to the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department at $574,660 a splash; 40 refuse compactors (from $669,800), night-soil-collection trucks ($735,731 each) and a plethora of other lorries for a variety of government uses. This includes 15 medium-light rescue vehicles for the Fire Services Department at $637,567 a squirt. The distributor's director and general manager, Patrick Ho, says the width of MAN's product range gives Regal Motors more sales flexibility in tougher economic times. The industrial sector might be down, he says, but 'the Hong Kong Government will always buy for value; not the cheapest vehicle'. Regal Motors first represented the German marque in southern China in 1987. At that time 'the Hong Kong commercial-vehicle market was dominated by the four main Japanese firms; Hino, Mitsubishi, Isuzu and Nissan Diesel, and Scania was the only active European marque in the market'. 'In 1992, MAN was No 7 in the market; now we are No 1,' Ho says, adding that 50 per cent of his firm's business is on the mainland. Indeed, a truck-sector source says MAN has received a convoy of orders this year, with up to 170 of the 1,286 units sold by European makes in the SAR this year. Mercedes-Benz China, a wholly owned subsidiary of Daimler-Chrysler, says it has assumed responsibility for the wholesale operations for the Mercedes-Benz passenger car (above) and commercial business in Hong Kong and Macau. 'The long-term partnership with Zung Fu continues with them focusing exclusively on managing the retail operations, as they have successfully done for the past 48 years,' a Mercedes-Benz China statement says. 'Zung Fu will remain the exclusive Mercedes-Benz retail representative and there are no plans for appointing any additional retailers.' Mercedes-Benz China president Karlheinz Michel says as far as customers are concerned 'this will be a case of business as usual in Hong Kong and Macau'. The marque adds: 'Zung Fu will continue to be the only company authorised to carry out the manufacturer's warranty work' locally.