FAW sees growth from its Eastern Cape home

SEPTEMBER 22, 2016

First Automotive Works (FAW), a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest automotive companies in China, has done well in the short time it has been operating in the Eastern Cape from its base in the Coega IDZ, just outside Port Elizabeth. The company officially opened its assembly line in July 2014.

“I put it down to the affordability of the trucks and the service from the dealership. The whole dealership is extremely service orientated from the parts to the aftersales side,” explains Andrew McNaughton, Dealer Principal FAW Eastern Cape.

“In essence, it’s not just about selling the units but is about keeping them on the road. Commercial clients are very different from passenger clients as their businesses depend on the trucks working for them. 

“The fact that the FAW factory is situated in Coega also lends credence to the brand in the area.”

He says there are already many varied clients in the FAW database from those using the trucks for purely road transport to those in the construction industry.

“There are also many clients with single trucks being used in various business applications - building supplies, sand deliveries, garage doors, shopfitting, brick deliveries, crane trucks for containers - the applications are almost endless,” McNaughton describes.

He says there are plans to open a branch shortly in East London, where they already enjoy a relatively large client base, especially in the construction industry, with some big names like Stutt Cartage Trust and the Independent Group successfully utilising FAW Xtra Heavy trucks.

“The fact that FAW trucks do not lean too heavily on the electronics in the manufacture of their trucks makes them reliable in a range of extremely harsh conditions in which they operate,” McNaughton adds.

“Although, we don’t currently have branches throughout the Eastern Cape, we have appointed service agents in all the key areas where our trucks operate in order to service our clients and provide a backup service in the more remote areas.”

FAW Eastern Cape also recently acquired the Hyundai Earthmoving machinery franchise and has just started to market these “yellow” machines.

“The idea behind this came from our MD who recognised the fact that a lot of our construction based clients also have a need for earthmoving equipment. As Hyundai was not represented in the Port Elizabeth area it was decided that this would be the brand of choice,” he explains.

“Also Hyundai earthmoving equipment is one of the top brands worldwide in this industry.”

McNaughton adds that FAW is experiencing lots of successes countrywide especially in the medium truck segment with its 5 and 8 ton vehicles being top sellers in this market segment.

“FAW have aggressively approached the truck market with a number of new dealers coming on board over the last few years to swell the number of independent dealers countrywide to twenty eight.

“In the past, FAW had to rely on their company owned dealerships in Cape Town, Pinetown and Johannesburg for the bulk of their sales. Now, the independent dealers are achieving more sales than the traditional company owned dealers,” he describes.

“The fact that BAIC has chosen to invest in Port Elizabeth could be as a result of the successful location of the FAW factory in the Coega IDZ.

“Both being Chinese based companies. FAW also has plans and has also acquired the ground for a launch of their passenger vehicle manufacture in the Coega IDZ in the not too distant future.

“All in all, the launch and continued existence of FAW Eastern Cape seems assured as it rises from strength to strength after very humble beginnings just three years ago.”   

Image: Andrew McNaughton, Dealer Principal at FAW Eastern Cape