Sinotruk: set for success!
Sinotruk is taking on the South African market with vigour, eager to prove that this “new kid on the block” is well worth consideration. DUNCAN WARD reports
This progressive Chinese company is determined to make inroads into the South African market.
Zhong “Jeff” Qirong manager at Sinotruk SA, tells FOCUS: “We are already extremely strong in other African countries, where we are supported by a solid network of dealerships, after-sales service centres and parts shops.”
Sinotruk and Qirong have been working tirelessly to make the foray into South Africa a success. Hours of research, planning, preparation and dedication have resulted in a network of dealerships being established in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town and Harrismith.
Sinotruk has also opened a spare parts and service centre in Boksburg, and established service stations along the N3. In addition, service stations have been established along the N1, from Cape Town to Johannesburg.
This rapid growth highlights the company’s determination to conquer the local market. Whereas other manufacturers often quote the importance of viewing their products against their rivals, Sinotruk’s focus currently lies solely on impressing the customer.
“We are not focusing on the competition; we are concentrating on our customers. They will make or break our business,” Qirong contends.
He’s not expecting an easy ride. “I am the first to concede that, as a new brand in South Africa, Sinotruk has a lot to learn. In time we will learn how to improve communication with clients, how to better understand and, especially, serve them. We are constantly looking to improve our products and service. All suggestions from clients will be warmly welcomed as this will help Sinotruk improve its service to customers,” Qirong comments.
This open and humble culture has no doubt been instrumental in the success of the company on the African continent. “Our trucks have been introduced to many leading logistic companies in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique where they have earned a reputation for good performance and reliability. We believe that we can achieve the same degree of success here in South Africa by serving the needs of clients and providing products that meet the highest standards,” he says.
Of course, some local operators could be wary of a little-known brand. Qirong stresses that transport operators in South Africa have nothing to fear. “As stipulated in the rules of the South African Bureau of Standards and the Department of Roads and Transport, Sinotruk South Africa has already gained vehicle homologation certificates and Natis documents for more than 100 models. We are committed to being an ethical and reliable supplier of quality vehicles, which meet all the local standards.”
As can be seen from the 100-model line-up, Sinotruk will bring many more products to South Africa. “We will eventually bring our entire offering to South Africa, which includes truck tractors, drop sides, tippers, mixers, mining dumpers and all-wheel-drive military vehicles. We have sold these vehicles in neighbouring countries for many years,” Qirong adds.
While Sinotruk may be new to some operators, the history of the brand can be traced back to 1935, and it began developing heavy trucks in 1956. “Over the years, Sinotruk has entered into many international partnerships, allowing the company to accumulate extensive experience and improve its product quality.
“In 1983, for example, we achieved a world-first when we received approval from the Chinese government for a technology-sharing project with the Austrian company Steyr-Daimler-Puch, to introduce manufacturing technology of the Steyr 91 series heavy-duty truck,” reveals Qirong.
Sinotruk also entered into a heavy-duty truck joint-venture project with Volvo in 2003, and in 2009 MAN acquired a 25 percent plus one share in Sinotruk.
The company now wants to partner with South African transport operators. “Sinotruk has been the top Chinese heavy-duty truck exporter for 13 consecutive years, selling 40 000 heavy-duty trucks in more than 90 countries and regions annually. Some 15 000 have been sold in Africa.
“We have a widespread global footprint of satisfied customers. Now we are focusing on South Africa. We are convinced that Sinotruk will soon meet with great success in this market,” concludes Qirong.