TRUCK­ING PAST AN­OTHER MILE­STONE

FAW Trucks marks a spe­cial achieve­ment at Coega pro­duc­tion plant

Business Day - Motor News - - FOCUS ON FAW TRUCKS -

FAW Ve­hi­cle Man­u­fac­tur­ers SA has notched up an­other record in its ever-ex­pand­ing suc­cess story. The lat­est mile­stone to be added to the firm’s his­tory is the 3,000th lo­cally built ve­hi­cle to roll off the pro­duc­tion line at Coega, East­ern Cape.

FAW SA’s his­tory started mod­estly more than 20 years ago sell­ing trucks lo­cally. In re­cent years it has ramped up its ex­pan­sion plans for the South African mar­ket. The com­pany has made a ma­jor com­mit­ment in the last four years amount­ing to more than $100m in in­vest­ment in the lo­cal plant’s in­fra­struc­ture, job cre­ation and train­ing. The Coega-based plant and body-build­ing fa­cil­ity have been in full op­er­a­tion for more than three years.

When the pro­duc­tion line was re­cently geared for the new FAW 33.420, the line in­te­gra­tion went off with­out a hitch, says the com­pany. The 33.420FT truck trac­tor is the new­est truck to be built by FAW SA. The com­pany says it fol­lows a tra­di­tion of very sturdy trucks with high per­for­mance lev­els, low op­er­at­ing costs, high ef­fi­cien­cies, easy drive­abil­ity and low cost on main­te­nance and re­pair.

Its pre­de­ces­sor was one of the top sell­ers in the FAW sta­ble.

The Coega plant has in­creased pro­duc­tion to in­clude al­most all FAW com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles sold in the lo­cal and south­ern African re­gions.

Cus­tomer de­mand specif­i­cally for lo­cally built FAW trucks has in­creased ex­po­nen­tially in the last three years says the com­pany.

This most re­cent achieve­ment was pegged in the cal­en­dar ear­lier in Oc­to­ber when the Coega plant em­ploy­ees cheered as the 3,000th lo­cally built truck was signed off at the last qual­ity in­spec­tion gate, giv­ing right­ful claim to the com­pany’s motto — “Built in South Africa, for Africa”.

A grow­ing num­ber of truck deal­ers who tra­di­tion­ally placed their or­ders for ve­hi­cles built by FAW China con­tinue to move their or­ders to orig­i­nate out of SA due to the shorter lead time for de­liv­ery, the lev­els of qual­ity from the South African plant and the re­duced cost of sourc­ing FAW ve­hi­cles on the same con­ti­nent.

“What is most grat­i­fy­ing is that many of our units be­ing bought by sub-Sa­ha­ran cus­tomers are now se­cond- and third-gen­er­a­tion re­pur­chases. This af­firms our com­mit­ment for ser­vice and sup­port into the African re­gions,” says Jianyu Hao, CEO of FAW SA.

The Coega plant has also been the bedrock for fur­ther in­vest­ments in the East­ern Cape re­gion as a num­ber of China-based in­dus­trial gi­ants have vis­ited Coega to see first-hand what the re­gion can of­fer in in­fra­struc­ture, lo­gis­tics and labour. The FAW SA plant was the first large-scale in­vest­ment by a China-based com­pany in the East­ern Cape re­gion. A num­ber of Chin­abased com­pa­nies are said to be con­sid­er­ing fol­low­ing suit.

As the suc­ces­sor model to the older and pop­u­lar FAW 28.380FT truck trac­tor, the new unit, fit­ted to the FAW 33.420FT 6x4 truck trac­tor, is said to have some sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ments, which all con­trib­ute to mak­ing this one of the most cost­ef­fec­tive in its class, with a par­tic­u­larly low cost per kilo­me­tre. One of the most im­por­tant new fea­tures is the in­creased horse­power, which is now rated at 420hp (309kW) hence the name. This power is pro­duced through the six-cylin­der in-line wa­ter-cooled, tur­bocharged and in­ter­cooled FAW en­gine.

The Euro 2 ve­hi­cle has torque of 1,750Nm be­tween 1,200 r/min and 1,600 r/min, and a power out­put of 309kW com­ing in at 2,200 r/min. The en­gine also fea­tures an air fil­ter with a pre­filter for cleaner op­er­a­tion and 24V elec­tri­cal sys­tems with easy ac­cess to elec­tric re­lays.

The man­ual 12-speed trans­mis­sion is said to pro­vide easy driv­ing. The ro­bust chas­sis is of the straight lad­der­type and is riv­eted with no bolts or chas­sis flanges. The chas­sis has been built with high lev­els of qual­ity, keep­ing dura­bil­ity in mind, says FAW.

A num­ber of other fea­tures in­clude the change of the size of the fuel tank to a larger 600l alu­minium tank.

The brak­ing sys­tem com­bined with full air-brak­ing ABS, drum brake with S-cams and au­to­matic slack ad­justers, and ex­haust brake all con­trib­ute to the ease of driv­ing and safety on and off the road says the com­pany.

All this also con­trib­utes to bet­ter per­for­mance with­out com­pro­mis­ing cost of op­er­a­tion.

The semis­leeper for­ward-tilt­ing cab has been de­signed with driver and pas­sen­ger safety, and com­fort in mind, as well as easy ac­cess for main­te­nance. Com­fort fea­tures in­clude air-con­di­tion­ing and ra­dio with MP3 and USB con­nec­tion. A large wind­screen and an­gled side win­dows, with large prox­im­ity mir­rors and curb-side mir­rors, of­fer good vis­i­bil­ity.

Mak­ing the driver’s “of­fice” even more com­fort­able and safer are a heavy-duty air-sus­pen­sion driver seat with height-ad­justable con­trol, mov­able and tele­scopic steer­ing col­umn, and in­er­tia-type driver and pas­sen­ger seat belts. For added con­ve­nience the tube­less ra­dial tyres (315/80 R22.5 16PR) can be in­flated via a tyre in­fla­tion pipe straight from the air-tank.

The new FAW 33.420FT truck trac­tor looks likely to again get good sup­port from the mar­ket. FAW SA says its cus­tomers are al­ready or­der­ing for var­i­ous ap­pli­ca­tions such as on-road long haul, short and medium haul on and off-road, side tip­pers, agri­cul­tural op­er­a­tions, con­struc­tion and min­ing.

As­sem­bling the FAW trucks at the fa­cil­ity.

The 3,000th FAW truck rolls off the as­sem­bly line at the com­pany’s plant in Coega, East­ern Cape.

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