FAW steps up exports

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

A growing number of African truck dealers are switching orders from China to South Africa, because of shorter lead times, high quality levels and reduced cost of sourcing on the same continent.

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

The African buyer can save complete vehicle import duty from 25% to 40%. Another advantage importing through FAW locally is that customers can get their vehicles within 30 days of order: much sooner than from China, which 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 African Union countries in future, where they too can get duty advantages.”

The Tanzanian dealers best sellers are the 6×4 truck tractor and 6×4 15m3 tippers. The J5 6×4 tipper has proven to be a stalwart product for African road conditions.

Zhang says, “FAW vehicles can cope easily with the region’s dust and dirt challenges, as well as rough roads and slippery conditions. With high payload capacity they provide good return on investment for most any operation, such as mining, long haul, logging or the like.

“The quality levels coming from the local plant ensures 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 of the running FAW trucks is that they are easy to maintain and service, with excellent accessibility to spare parts if needed.

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

“FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA constantly considers which of its global truck offerings in 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. 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. “It 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 the technical problems,” says Zhang.