Global player set to supply low cost trucks
With trucks based on sound no-nonsense performance principles, and specifically designed not to rely on overcomplicated gizmos, Powerstar is shaping itself to fit the trucking landscape of Africa as it works to become a truly world-class player on the continent.
Described as working-class heroes, the Powerstar range of trucks has been chalking up records in short to medium operations in sub-Saharan Africa. There are currently 1 600 Powerstar vehicles in operation in South Africa, mostly in the construction and mining industries, and, to a lesser degree, the logistics sector.
The Chinese manufacturer now plans to take its Beiben-manufactured trucks into Africa – in fact, wherever customers wish to operate ¬– and to include what the company refers to as “low cost trucks” in its product line-up.
The current product range consists of 6×4, 6×6 and 8×4 chassis cabs with a power range of 280, 350 and 420 hp. New products will be introduced into new segments, in line with the company’s philosophy of supplying the correct trucks for the specific application. There will be some exciting new models being introduced over the next few months.
Powerstar’s main emphasis is on simplicity, and this is becoming an increasingly big plus factor. For many in the truck industry, technology has overtaken affordability. The complexity and cost of sophisticated electronics and computerisation on vehicles is intimidating. Add the need for lower costs generally, and it’s no wonder operators have been calling for greater simplicity: it makes sense for the average technician to be able to do basic repairs.
The recent global financial meltdown accelerated demand for Powerstar’s product offering as it amplified the need to curb capital expenditure on large projects. Powerstar has been successful in supplying large numbers of trucks for a number of mining operations, and will continue to do so.
With its head office in Johannesburg and assembly plant in the foothills of Pietermaritzburg, Powerstar’s vision is to provide back-up support through simple technological connectivity. Parts when needed, where needed, at the expected low-cost offering, is the aim.
Assembly is done in strict accordance with ISO 9000 quality assurance standards. There’s also continuous consultation with Beiben in China to ensure that the technical designs and end products are fit for the harsh working conditions locally.
Powerstar’s dealer network is crucial in fulfilling its vision; the company’s network is being expanded, conservatively, to ensure that it is able to provide quality service by like-minded people. Powerstar’s flexible approach to in-field service will also make sense for many remote operators. Maintenance plans can be tailor-made for each customer, taking cognisance of the challenges that remote operations have to face.
China’s expansion into world markets is famously well underway. Manufactured by Beiben – which is part of a consortium of Norinco Motors and CAD Fund – the Powerstar range was originally imported, assembled and distributed in South Africa by Super Group Industrial Products. However, Super Group sold its Industrial Products division, and Norinco Motors purchased the business in early 2010, forming Ever Star Industries.