The contraction of the new vehicle market due to economic pressure exacerbated by the Covid pandemic has been tough for all automakers but, JAC Motors has grown its sales during this tough time, as has its parent company in China where year-on-year performance for 2020 was 7,6% up.
“Establishing and growing the JAC Motors brand in South Africa has been extremely rewarding,” says Karl-Heinz Göbel, CEO of JAC Motors South Africa. “Many results over this period exceeded my expectations by far. From local customer acceptance of our product range to the global introduction of the company’s new N55EV electric truck, all characterise the makings of a successful automotive brand.”
In July 2017, JAC Motors introduced its pick-up and commercial range of trucks in the South African market, marking a significant breakthrough for the company, which entered the African market through Algeria in 2002.
Since then, the company has steadily grown its African footprint and is currently exporting to 28 different countries on the continent.
“From the time we introduced the JAC Motors brand to the South African motoring public, our biggest priorities have been the extension of our dealer network and the implementation of rigid after-sales service capabilities, including a 5-year/150 000-kilometre manufacturer warranty,” says Göbel.
Starting with only 10 dealers in 2017 and selling an average of 15 units per month, JAC Motors has grown its dealer footprint to 52 dealers countrywide, including 15 dealers selling and servicing its medium and heavy commercial truck ranges.
“With the extension of our dealer network and product range, we are now selling three times more units per month through our dealer group, which represents our brand at the grassroots level. We are pleased with our accomplishments over the last three-and-a-half years. We are especially proud of the enthusiasm of our dealers who have implemented our highly-acclaimed global after-sales programme aimed at supporting the mobility needs of our customers in both the lifestyle- and commercial segments of the market,” adds Göbel.
Before the Covid-19 lockdown hit South Africa last year, the company extended its local product range by introducing the T8 double-cab bakkie. The T8 bakkie, available in 4×2 and 4×4 guise, slots in above the T6 double-cab range and now leads the company’s quest in the lifestyle segment of the local bakkie market from just over the R380 000 mark.
The T8 boasts has a 1,9-litre turbo-diesel power-plant paired to a six-speed manual transmission.
“The latest design elements from JAC Motors’ international design centres in Italy and Japan give the new T8 a rugged appearance. With its attractive styling, good equipment level and high build quality, the new T8 is an outstanding offer in the lifestyle double-cab segment of the market,” says Göbel.
In addition to the all-new T8 bakkie, two T6 Comfort double-cabs in 4×2 and 4×4 configuration complete JAC Motors’ lifestyle bakkie range.
JAC Motors’ commercial range of trucks starts with the X200 single and double-cab derivatives, fitted with 2,8-litre turbo-charged diesel engines and load capacities of more than 1 000 kg. With an entry-level price-point of under R300 000 for the X200 single-cab, the good news for prospective owners is that this product is also available in tipper format, further increasing the versatility of this reliable hard worker.
“Our 1,5-ton X200 single-cab for small operators such as electricians and our 1,3-ton double-cab workhorse that can safely transport workers to and from construction sites, are real favourites with entrepreneurs and big fleet owners,” says Göbel.
The N-series range of trucks on offer by JAC Motors locally comprises four different derivatives with loading capacities varying from three to six ton, with entry-level pricing of just under R330 000 for the N56 3-ton truck.
The 3-ton truck series features the 2,8-litre turbo-diesel engine, and the 6-ton truck is fitted with a 3,8-litre Cummins turbo-diesel engine.
JAC Motors may be a relative newcomer to the South African market, yet the state-owned manufacturer has been active in the Chinese auto industry for more than 50 years and actually started out started out producing heavy-duty trucks and then moved into passenger cars.
Today, JAC Motors produces sedans, pick-ups and trucks for left- and right-hand drive markets and has a marketing network covering more than 130 countries in South America, Africa, the Middle East, Central- and South-East Asia and Eastern Europe.