Over 100 Powerstar HCVs for Aqua
Powerstar has enjoyed a growing presence in the South African market in recent years. THINUS VAN ROOYEN reports on its product handover to Aqua Transport & Plant Hire.
Chinese manufacturers produce a significant portion of the world’s heavy commercial vehicles (HCVs). One of these is Powerstar, also known as BeiBen Truck in its home country.
Founded in 1988, Powerstar utilised the HCV designs of the Daimler Group to stake its own claim in the industry. Over the years the company has grown significantly.
With its headquarters in Centurion, Powerstar has been in South Africa since 2006. Its assembly plant is in Pietermaritzburg and is maintained in accordance with ISO 9000 standards.
Proof of Powerstar’s success is the recent handover of 100 tippers and tankers to Durban-based Aqua Transport & Plant Hire, which has one of the country’s largest water and earth-moving equipment fleets in South Africa.
Founded by Kevin Naicker, Aqua provides a large range of equipment such as bulldozers, front-end loaders, grab trucks as well as articulated trucks and tankers. The company serves a diverse market, which includes the industrial, construction and civil engineering sectors of South Africa.
Having previously operated exclusively with Mercedes-Benz tippers and tankers, the Powerstar workhorses are the first new brand of trucks to be commissioned by Aqua.
“For us, it’s very exciting that Aqua chose us above our competitors,” says Gregory Erian, regional sales manager of Powerstar. “It has been an absolute pleasure to deal with them.”
The 2628 VX-series Powerstar tankers supplied to Aqua feature intercooled turbo-diesel engines, which are Euro-2 compliant. With a maximum power output of 213 kW (290 hp) at 2 200 r/min, this in-line six-cylinder engine also produces 1 160 Nm of torque at 1 600 r/min.
The series of tippers that were handed over also have the same engine and performance specifications. Like all of Powerstar’s HCVs, they are built according to the philosophy of simplicity and sturdiness.
As for the engines themselves, Powerstar makes use one of the largest high-speed high-power diesel engine manufacturers in the world, Weichai. Founded in 2002, Weichai is a market competitor in more than 30 countries worldwide, and particularly in China.
“Because sub-Saharan Africa can sometimes be remote and rural, the less gizmos one has that require repair or maintenance, the better,” says Erian. “The bogie differentials in our vehicles are another big advantage and are one of the key reasons why our products were chosen above those of our competitors.”
Powerstar’s turnaround in the South African market over the last three years has been impressive, with an increase in sales of 300 percent since 2010. Mark Beukes, GM sales and aftermarket at Powerstar, comments: “One of the main success factors has been the company’s unique business model and self-formed culture. We are not afraid of using our instinct to make decisions, and combine the Chinese business culture and our South African knowledge of the local market to develop our structures and approach.”
Currently, there are about 3 500 Powerstar off- and on-road vehicles being operated in the southern Africa region. “One of our main goals is to gain more market share in the future and, to do this, we have to stay competitive,” says Bob Wang, CEO. “I’m confident that we have the potential to become one of the top five HCV providers in the country within the next few years.”
“I look at affordability and quality in a truck before purchase,” says Naicker. “Powerstar has both of these. Its prices are competitive and its vehicles are reliable and come with three-year warranties.”
Having been in the country for less than a decade, it is indeed noteworthy that Powerstar’s growth and customer satisfaction seem to be skyrocketing forward. Also present at the Johannesburg International Motor Show (JIMS) this year, Powerstar is definitely making its voice heard.