BAW South Africa (SA), the local arm of the Chinese company, Beijing Automotive Works (BAW) has launched its R200-million semi-knockdown (SKD) plant in Springs, on the East Rand. The renovated facility is expected to produce 9 600 minibus taxis a year.
BAW’s parent company, Beijing Automotive Industry Holding Company (BAIC) will hold 51% in BAW SA, with the balance held by the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and James Chung and his family. Chung is a Chinese South African, he owns China Africa Motors (CAM), which imported the CAM Inyathi minibus into South Africa from BAW in China.
There are around 20 000 CAM/BAW vehicles currently on the road in South Africa. CAM started operations in South Africa in 2005.
“I invited BAW into the country,” Chung, now BAW SA CEO, said. “We needed the capacity to start a localisation programme.”
BAW’s investment into the local taxi industry followed that of Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM), which earlier this year restarted local taxi assembly on the back of government’s new incentive programme to localise truck, bus and minibus production in South Africa.
BAW SA will also offer finance to prospective buyers, in partnership with ABSA, in a move which is expected to increase finance approval rates for BAW products.
In addition, re-manufactured vehicles – such as in the case of a repossessed taxi, for example – will be made available in a “new market space” of between R100 000 and R120 000.