FAW SA ROLLS OUT ITS 4,000TH VE­HI­CLE

Four-year old assem­bly plant has be­come the bedrock for fur­ther in­vest­ments in the East­ern Cape

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

FAW SA’s Coega assem­bly plant re­cently cel­e­brated the pro­duc­tion mile­stone of as­sem­bling the 4,000th FAW in SA. With a pres­ence in SA dat­ing 24 years, FAW’s assem­bly plant has be­come the bedrock for fur­ther in­vest­ments in the East­ern Cape.

In­au­gu­rated in July 2014, the plant was the first large-scale in­vest­ment made by a Chi­nese com­pany in the re­gion. It is still one of the largest for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments made in Coega.

FAW’s R600m plant cur­rently pro­vides em­ploy­ment for 120 per­ma­nent staff, help­ing to ad­dress the high unem­ploy­ment rate in the East­ern Cape prov­ince.

Some 951 train­ing hours have been com­pleted year-to­date, with the train­ing pro­vided fo­cus­ing on health and safety as well as skills de­vel­op­ment.

Sev­eral health and safety prac­tices are en­forced at the site, and since the plant’s open­ing in 2014 the fa­cil­ity re­ports an en­vi­able health and safety record. Each assem­bly sta­tion has been er­gonom­i­cally de­signed for op­ti­mum work ef­fi­ciency to en­sure op­ti­mum em­ployee well­be­ing.

“No fewer than 89 in­no­va­tions and im­prove­ments have been im­ple­mented at the plant in re­cent years with the ma­jor­ity of th­ese in­no­va­tions and im­prove­ments pro­posed by the assem­bly staff,” says a com­pany spokesper­son.

Fur­ther­more, FAW SA has in­cor­po­rated nu­mer­ous poli­cies and pro­ce­dures to en­sure ef­fec­tive waste man­age­ment at the plant, and op­er­ates ac­cord­ing to the en­vi­ron­men­tal stan­dards put into place by the Coega In­dus­trial De­vel­op­ment Zone (IDZ).

The plant has in­creased pro­duc­tion to in­clude al­most all FAW com­mer­cial ve­hi­cles sold in the sub-Sa­ha­ran re­gion to­day. It has pro­duced 1,061 ve­hi­cles in the past 13 months alone (av­er­ag­ing 81 ve­hi­cles a month), which are ei­ther sold lo­cally or ex­ported into south­ern Africa.

“FAW SA has a rigid qual­ity con­trol pro­ce­dure all ve­hi­cles must pass be­fore they are given the green light. Seven qual­ity check-points are in place to en­sure that all ve­hi­cles that roll off the pro­duc­tion line are of the high­est build qual­ity,” the spokesper­son ex­plains.

To date, 16 dif­fer­ent mod­els have been as­sem­bled at the Coega plant, rang­ing from the 8.140 to the FAW 33.420FT truck trac­tor, the new­est model in the com­pany’s ex­tra-heavy com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle range and the suc­ces­sor to the pop­u­lar FAW 28.380FT.

To­tal FAW ex­ports reached 159 units in 2016, which rose to 212 units in 2017, es­tab­lish­ing FAW as the sec­ond largest com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle ex­porter in SA. Cus­tomer de­mand for lo­cally built FAW trucks has in­creased sub­stan­tially in the past three years and the brand set a new to­tal sales record in 2017, de­spite the tough eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment.

FAW was SA’s most im­proved com­mer­cial ve­hi­cle brand for 2018, ac­cord­ing to the an­nual Na­tional Au­to­mo­bile Deal­ers As­so­ci­a­tion Dealer Sat­is­fac­tion In­dex sur­vey that was con­ducted by the in­de­pen­dent mar­ket re­search firm, Light­stone.

A to­tal of 33 in­de­pen­dently re­searched brands par­tic­i­pated in the 2018 sur­vey and the re­sults were di­vided into a num­ber of key fo­cus ar­eas — over­all dealer sat­is­fac­tion; com­mu­ni­ca­tion and re­la­tion­ships; cus­tomer fo­cus; CSI pro­gramme; ve­hi­cle range; train­ing; parts; good­will; pol­icy claims and war­ranty and labour rates cat­e­gories.

As part of its so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity com­mit­ment, FAW, to­gether with the Coega De­vel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tion, re­cently do­nated about 400 pairs of school shoes to the Coega Pri­mary School in Wells Es­tate, Port El­iz­a­beth.

CUS­TOMER DE­MAND FOR LO­CALLY BUILT FAW TRUCKS HAS IN­CREASED SUB­STAN­TIALLY IN THE PAST THREE YEARS THE BRAND SET A NEW TO­TAL SALES RECORD IN 2017, DE­SPITE THE TOUGH ECO­NOMIC EN­VI­RON­MENT

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