It sits quietly within the Coega Industrial Development Zone near Gqeberha in the Eastern Cape but, since the first vehicle rolled off the assembly line in July 2014, the FAW assembly plant has notched up 7 000 truck builds.
This marked another significant milestone for the Chinese brand that took the top spot in the Heavy Commercial Vehicle (HCV) segment of the local market for the first time in the first quarter of this year.
The unit in question was a JH6 28.500FT model, which has since been delivered to a well-established strategic fleet customer.
The largest of the truck tractors from FAW Trucks, the JH6 28.500FT features a full floating extended-roof cab with a flat floor design for optimal comfort and interior space. Its 13-litre, six-cylinder common-rail turbo-charged and intercooled diesel powerplant produces 370 kW at 1 800 r/min, has 2 300 Nm of peak torque on tap at 1 400 r/min.
It is mated to a ZF 12-speed TraXon AMT transmission, with parabolic spring suspension front and rear to address vehicle weight requirements. A full air dual circuit WABCO braking system with anti-lock enhances the long hauler’s safety features.
Says Jianyu Hao, CEO of FAW South Africa: “This is an understandably proud moment for us. It reaffirms our commitment to the local market and is just reward for what is one of the largest investments made by a Chinese entity in this country.
“Since first entering the South African market 27 years ago, we have gone from strength to strength, providing local buyers with products of high quality that are not only well suited to local conditions, but also boast high levels of safety, convenience and comfort. We have managed to combine this with competitive pricing, low running costs and excellent aftersales service.”
Funded by the China FAW Group Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund, the facility was built at a cost of R600-million and spans some 30 000 sq/m. This includes a state-of-the-art training facility, a body shop and a paint shop and provides employment for 148 staff members.
All units arrive in South Africa in semi knocked-down form and are then assembled at Coega.
Currently the Coega facility has a production capacity of 3 000 units per annum, but this is scalable to 5 000 in order to be able to meet growing demand for FAW Trucks models.