FOCUS ON FAW TRUCKS
Fleet making light work of logistics
A black economic empowerment company in KwaZulu-Natal has high expectations for its latest FAW truck acquisitions
Transgroup Logistics, a black economic empowerment company with offices in Durban, Northern KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng, recently took delivery of four FAW 16.240FT truck tractors and one FAW 15.180FL.
The company, with a mixed fleet, has also been approved for the purchase of a further eight FAWs: five 33.420FTs.
All of the trucks have been acquired through FAW Pinetown, a full sales and service branch, with the sales process handled by Derrick Devraj, senior sales executive at the branch.
The owner and director of Transgroup Logistics, Kerwin Naidoo, says that the company is currently servicing a few global brands, which will see it running the FAW trucks in and around the province and from the Durban port to Gauteng.
"We are doing local and national deliveries and these vehicles are ideal for this purpose. The trucks are all single-axle vehicles, which means they are the right choice for light container loads.
"These vehicles don’t come with computer boxes so they’re not highly technical in nature and are not difficult to maintain. We expect that downtime will be limited. Also, spares are readily available and FAW has got service dealers right through on the N3. This makes it even easier for us," Naidoo explains.
"The most important thing for us is the after-sales service and the service intervals of the vehicles. This is our first order of FAWs, so we are excited to see the real world results. We hope to grow our fleet further during 2018."
He says it is an important fact that FAW assembles vehicles in SA.
"There are a number of Euro-spec vehicles in the country and, should anything break, you can wait weeks for parts to arrive. With FAW, parts are readily available — you can have them within a day or two — so downtime is limited.
"I’ve read articles on FAW supplying construction sites and all of them are working well. We currently subcontract a portion of work and certain haulage companies are waiting for me to give them feedback on the vehicles we have purchased with FAW. I know the feedback will be positive, which will impact the branch’s bottom line positively as they will get more deals," he says.
The company’s drivers will be hosted by FAW Pinetown to receive training on the intricacies of operating their new vehicles. "These vehicles are practical and driver-friendly and that makes a big difference," says Naidoo.
He says that the company undertook a study to determine what the most economical trucks would be when it came to light container loads.
"That is why we chose FAW," he says. "Diesel cost is your biggest factor in transport and these trucks are light on fuel."
The Pinetown FAW branch is strategically based alongside the N3 to Johannesburg. It was established eight years ago, with dealer principal Mike Williams at the helm of the sales and service facility since 2013.
"We’ve shown growth at the branch in excess of 20% per annum, year on year," says Williams. "We are expecting a further 20% growth in 2018 compared to last year, which was itself up 28% on 2016. A large percentage of our business is repeat business.
"We have a good, self-motivated sales team and a fully-equipped workshop. We also have a comprehensive parts department, headed by people that have more than 40 years of parts experience among them."
Williams says what sets FAW Pinetown apart is its ability to provide full backup and 24-hour breakdown assistance. "In addition to the workshop manager, we have five qualified diesel technicians."
In addition to serving Pinetown and other areas, the dealership also exports vehicles to Seychelles, Mozambique, Lesotho and Botswana.
Williams explains that a major concern for clients stems from the fact that a lot of other brands have come into the country, tested the market and then disappeared. It’s therefore not surprising many potential customers inquire as to how long FAW has been in SA.
"I’m always proud to mention that FAW SA has been in business here for more than 23 years. And the fact that FAW SA made a R600m investment in a truck plant in Port Elizabeth tells people we are here to stay.
"The fact that FAW SA established the plant in Coega, where all these units are assembled, goes a long way to providing our customers with peace of mind," he says.
Apart from the Transgroup Logistics deal, FAW Pinetown has made inroads into other fleets in KwaZulu-Natal, among them the Dixon Group, Autogistixs, Build It, Boxer Cash and Carry and Build Right.
Further inroads have also been made in the KwaZulu-Natal truck market, with the five-tonne FAW 8.140 and the eight-tonne FAW 15.180 particularly well received. Williams says he sells more tippers in Pinetown than two of the best-known competitors.
"We are number two in the country for concrete mixer sales, according to Naamsa sales stats," he says.
The KwaZulu-Natal region is also well supported. FAW has a dealership in Harrismith as well as service dealers in Estcourt and will soon open a sales and service dealership in Richards Bay and in Umtata.
Reliability, value for money and good back-up service has resulted in the branch doing regular, repeat business.
Another frequently asked question pertains to the availability of parts.
"We are quick to assure our customers that parts are not an issue and we have a regular supply. FAW Pinetown’s parts stockholding equates to R2.1m."