This Heritage Month, FAW Trucks proudly honours a history that spans almost 70 years but also recommits to its heritage as a manufacturer of reliable commercial vehicles of high quality and a company that remains committed to the markets in which it operates.
To fully appreciate the story of FAW Trucks, one must understand the difference between history and heritage. Although the two are closely related, in layman’s terms, history refers to events that happen in the past. On the other hand, heritage is what has survived from the past.
So, for instance, FAW producing China’s first truck in 1953 is part of the company’s history. The fact that FAW has, since those early days, focused on its core vision of total customer satisfaction by ensuring that its vehicles are produced to an exacting standard, is part of the company’s heritage.
An impressive global history
FAW, with its headquarters located in Changchun, Jilin, China, was established in 1953 and the company is commonly considered to be the Cradle of China’s vehicle industry.
Since its inception, the FAW Group has developed – amongst others – extra-heavy, heavy, medium and light commercial vehicles. It has 17 wholly-owned subsidiaries and 15 holding companies, four of which are listed. The Group employs more than 130 000 people and has assets in excess of R240 billion while boasting an annual sales volume of over 3,1 million vehicles.
The FAW Group commenced its export programme in 1984 and currently provides products and services to more than 70 markets across six major export regions around the globe, of which South Africa is one. The Group has more than 50 Tier 1 agents and in excess of 350 Tier 2 distributors in these regions.
The Group has its own dedicated product planning, development, engineering, design, testing and verification facility, as well as certification capabilities. It is China’s largest base for the research, development and testing of finished vehicles, bodies, chassis, engines, replacement parts, new processes and new materials.
Laying down roots in South Africa
In 1994 FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA (Pty) Ltd. was registered by its founder, Richard H. Leiter, with the FAW Group Corporation as majority shareholder.
In 1999 the FAW 22.210FD Flat Nose model was introduced in South Africa and by 2002 it had become necessary to expand and upgrade the company’s Johannesburg facility in order to incorporate a fully-fledged parts warehouse. In 2005 the J5 was launched on local soil and due – in part – to its popularity, FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA opened dedicated branches in Durban and Cape Town in 2010.
A major milestone in the history of the local operation followed in 2012 when FAW Africa Investments Co. Ltd and the China-Africa Development Fund announced a significant investment in FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA. Sprouting from this, FAW’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility at Coega, built at a cost of R600 million, was officially opened in 2014.
In 2015 the 8.140FL was introduced locally, setting FAW Trucks on a steady path of sales success in the heavy vehicle segment of the commercial vehicle market, which saw FAW Vehicle Manufacturers SA win the FAW Import & Export Corporation’s coveted Best Agent Award in 2017. A year later the company also received the Most Improved Award in the commercial vehicle category of the NADA Dealer Satisfaction Survey.
By 2019 FAW Trucks had already assembled 5 000 units at the Coega manufacturing facility and in 2021 the 7 000th unit came off the assembly line. This year also saw the local introduction of the JH6 28.500FT AMT and the 8.140FL-AT.
Today, FAW Trucks has 22 dealerships and service centres located around the country and continues to cater to the unique needs of local customers by providing vehicles that are built in South Africa, for Africa.
Taking the FAW heritage to heart
“In South Africa, we go to great lengths to honour the brand’s legacy. This includes maintaining and strengthening the identity and core values that have been prevalent within the company since its establishment in China all those years ago,” says Yongjun Li, CEO of FAW Trucks SA.
FAW’s four core values of respect, communication, cooperation and compliance – which have been at the heart of the company’s identity since the very beginning – will continue to steer the way it does business in South Africa. These values have always been the main motivation behind how the company interacts with its customers, employees, dealers, suppliers and business partners, as well as with the communities in which it operates.
In both China and South Africa, another big part of the heritage of FAW Trucks stems from its unrelenting commitment to providing buyers with products of high quality that is not only well suited to local conditions but also boast high levels of safety, convenience and comfort. This was a key focus of the local company when it was formed over 27 years ago, and remains as important today.
“Also part of our heritage is FAW Trucks’ reputation for strength, reliability, ease of operation and value for money. This goes hand in hand with our focus on providing customers with dedicated service and support of the highest quality,” Li continues.
FAW Trucks is committed to bringing to market products of high quality that are well suited to local conditions, boast high levels of safety, convenience and comfort, and represent excellent value for money through competitive pricing and affordable running costs. At the same time, it promises buyers added peace of mind through reliable and efficient aftersales service, maintenance and backup. It is, in short, the FAW way.
“South Africa is a country with a rich cultural heritage, marked by the diversity, tenacity and resilience of its people. At FAW Trucks South Africa, we are inspired by this and will continue to strive towards providing local customers the products and services they require and deserve, while at the same time entwining our heritage with that of the proud citizens of this country in order to continue building a proud history and a brighter future,” concludes Li.
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