FAW plant on track to 100 exports

FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA has registered 90 units built locally for export into Africa, with 10 FAW J5 tippers leaving the Coega production plant for Tanzania recently.

A growing number of Africa truck dealers who traditionally placed their orders on FAW China continue to move their orders to originate out of South Africa because of the shorter lead time, high quality and reduced cost of sourcing on the same continent.

Cheng Zhang – marketing and strategy manager for FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA, says, “There are many advantages of sourcing FAW products from our South African base – the most important being time-to-market in the Africa countries and, for the SADC and AU, the added advantage which comes from import/export duty agreements.”

From the cost point of view, the African buyer can save vehicle import duty of 25 to 40%. Another advantage importing through FAW locally is that customers can get their vehicles within 30 days of order: China normally requires three months between order placement and delivery.

FAW SA says it plans to support sales in almost all the right-hand drive African countries. “However, our plan is to assemble the left-hand drive vehicles to supply to the African Union countries in future, where they too can get duty advantages,” says Zhang.

Best sellers for the Tanzania dealer are the 6×4 truck tractor and 6×4 15m3 tippers.

The J5 6×4 tipper has proven to be a stalwart product for Africa road conditions. FAW vehicles can cope easily with the region’s dust and dirt challenges, as well as rough roads and slippery conditions. With its high payload capacity it provides good return on investment for almost any operation, such as mining, long haul or logging.

According to FAW, the quality levels coming from the local plant ensure that the solid chassis and frame continue to give transport owners the ease of driveability they have come to expect from FAW trucks. Another advantage is that trucks are easy to maintain and service, with excellent accessibility to spare parts if needed.

For aftersales support, FAW SA is supplying parts to African dealers who import SA-spec models. Some dealers who import local spec models from FAW still source their parts stock from China directly, because the purchase process is familiar to them and uptime is not affected.

The local operation constantly evaluates which of its global medium, heavy and extra heavy ranges are feasible for building locally. “However, we remain circumspect on drastically changing our local production complexity by adding too many different models produced at our Coega-based plant,” says Zhang.

“It remains in our interest to keep our production plant simple, and to continue to maintain the highest levels of quality, rather than chase huge production diversity without adequate up-skilling and possibly a loss of focus on our core value of quality at a fair price.”

FAW’s expansion into Africa continues to increase demand for FAW support in customer workshops and customer technical training. FAW SA continues to give Africa dealers full technical support where needed. “This is much more efficient than sending their technicians to China to get trained or to wait for FAW China to come to Africa to sort out the technical problems,” notes Zhang.

“FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA remains positive about the future and the growth plan that has been formulated for the FAW brand in Africa,” he concludes.