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Plant Introduction

10 July 2014 marked a momentous event in SA’s Automotive Industry history, as the first FAW commercial vehicle, built in South Africa, rolled off the assembly line at the FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY) LTD production plant at Coega, in the Eastern Cape.

The decision to build the FAW plant in South Africa is very significant from a global perspective, as it is one of the most important and largest investments made by a Chinese entity in South Africa to date.

The total investment has been financed by China FAW Group Corporation and the China-Africa Development Fund (CAD-Fund). This collaboration speaks volumes to the growing interest from global Chinese Industry in unlocking the true Africa potential.

The first-phase of the Coega plant, covering 103 000m2 of land and a 28 000m2 plant – complete with training facilities, will allow the company to provide its client base with a sense of pride and patriotism by ‘buying local’.

Expected to ramp-up to produce 5 000 trucks per annum, the Coega assembly plant will supply trucks to the South African market, as well as to the rest of Africa, in both right-hand and left-hand-drive derivatives. The current projections are that 40% of production will be destined for the South African territories, while 60% will be exported.

FAW SA’s previous assembly facility in Isando, Gauteng, was transformed into a fully-fledged Service Centre which accommodates the Parts Warehouse and carries stock to the value of ZAR 38 million, while the Cape Town and Durban branches each hold an additional ZAR 20 million in parts, totaling ZAR 78 million to support SA and Africa customers.”

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Assembly Plant

A number of firsts for FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY) LTD:

1. The establishment of this modern, high-quality vehicle production plant and all its associated infrastructure at a cost of USD 60 million.

2. The Coega plant with its build-capacity of 5 000 units per annum, represents the first high-quality Chinese manufacturer to set-up and contribute on this scale, in the Eastern Cape region.

3. Tipper Truck bodies, Mixers and customized Trailers will be built in the body building plant adjoining the main plant. FAW will be the first SA-based OEM to offer its Body-building Facility to other Commercial Vehicle Manufacturers.

4. FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (PTY) LTD will be the first OEM to build locally its entire range of commercial vehicles sold in South Africa, – 14 models spanning the Medium, Heavy and Extra-Heavy Commercial Vehicle segments.

Henceforth all FAW trucks in SA can carry the ‘badge of honour’ of ‘Made in South Africa’.

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Body Building Facility

FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (Pty) Ltd has started 2015 with yet another milestone added to its already remarkable track record. The truck manufacturer officially started up its own Body Shop facility, adjacent to the Coega-based Assembly Plant, in order to build its own truck bodies.

The layout of the Truck Body-building facility has been designed in accordance with environmental recommendations and standards. The build and logistics flow is highly efficient and cost-effective. The 3300 m3 building is well equipped with abundant ventilation, natural light and wide aisle space.

The ergonomics for employees are such that much of the work is done standing upright, as unnecessary bending or crouching has been avoided wherever possible.

Once an SKD pack is off-loaded it is thoroughly checked for component quality. The bulk of the pack, namely the bin, is checked for preparation to the assembly line. If minor reworking, including welding and grinding, is required, this is done first, before the bin proceeds along the assembly line to the scalding and degreasing chamber where it is thoroughly cleaning, treated chemically and dried. After the basic metal preparation the massive bins are moved safely along gantries to the fitment stations.

Other components, once checked, are moved to the ‘in-sequence’ stations where their fitment will take place - these include all hydraulics, lift arms and shafts.

Once the tipper body is carefully fitted, the completed vehicle is prepared for the Paint Shop. With the all the required hydraulics and the body fitment complete the FAW vehicle is primed, painted and finished through the impressive Paint Shop, and parked in the Drying and Final Inspection lanes.

FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (Pty) Ltd is one of few local OEMS to have built a large-scale Truck Body-building Shop, together with an appropriate Paint Shop Facility on this magnitude. It is equipped using the latest and best global technology for long-lasting truck body paint and finish.

High on the list of priorities are the SHEQ principles - Safety, Health, Environment and Quality – and FAW allows no compromise on any of these, as skilled employees in this region of the Eastern Cape are a prime consideration.

FAW will progressively expand its truck body offering to possibly include other configurations, even customised trailers, depending on demand from customers through the FAW dealer network.