It has to be a sign that something quite positive is about to take place in the South and Southern African trucking markets. We are talking about truck assembly plants. FAW has already expanded theirs; Mahindra say they just might build one; DongFeng Motor Company which builds trucks for the Chinese military and has not even arrived in the country yet, say they also might build one. Added to this, there is talk of establishing a multi-vehicle platform facility in the Eastern Cape.
Should it come to fruition, the Eastern Cape project should prove to be interesting. It is aimed at foreign car and truck makers who need a workshop to put their various offerings together for local consumption. Who knows what we can expect to roll off the assembly line there.
Now Tata Motors are getting in on the act. According to a press statement released last month, Tata is looking at setting up an assembly unit in South Africa for medium and small trucks by the end of the current financial year to boost sales in African markets.
“Initially we are looking at assembling medium-sized and small trucks there but may expand this at a later stage to handle our world truck range,’ says PM Telang, MD, Tata Motors India.
Telang says the initial capacity will be 3 000 units per year, which will be scaled up to 4 500 units per year at a later stage. At present, Tata South Africa imports up to 3 000 units a year into the country.
The company also disclosed its plans to set up an assembly plant in Nigeria in the next two to three years. Tata is looking at a 15% growth in the commercial vehicles segment during the current financial year.
Between September 2010 and March 2011, Tata plans to launch four new truck models under its premium Prima range of trucks. These include two tippers, one tractor and one 4×2 chassis cab.