BAW SA Interview with NF Online
Beijing Automotive Works South Africa (BAW SA), a subsidiary of Beijing Automobile Industry Holding Company (BAIC) in China which produces taxi vehicles for the domestic and sub-Saharan markets is the latest new comer in the South Africa taxi industry. Their new 16-seater minibus taxi, known as Sasuka, was officially launched in November 2012. This saw the first ever Chinese investment in the South African light motor vehicle industry.
In an interview with NF Online, the Chief Executive Officer of BAW SA, James Chung, explained why they decided to come to South Africa, how they chose their plant base, marketing strategy and challenges they have faced thus far.
BAW SA was supported by the Industrial Development Corporate (IDC) which is a government sponsored department that assists in financing new industries. South African government have plenty of organisations and departments that aid new emerging companies, particularly in manufacturing. Overseas companies are heavily supported because of job creation which is still a big problem in this country.
BAW SA holds 51 per cent shares, whilst the IDC and China Africa Motors (CAM) hold the remainder.
Because we have a huge market, we have grown our dealerships from 30 in 2013 to 37 in 2015. Our aim is to have 45 by 2018.
The Sasuka is powered by a 2,7-litre petrol engine that delivers 110 kW of power at 5 200 r/min and 235 N.m of torque at 4 000 r/min. Passengers are entertained by the touchscreen on the console which not only operates the CD/radio but also a DVD player, which plays movies via a fold-down television screen mounted on the forward ceiling.
The vehicle features ABS brakes with EBD and retractable seat belts as BAW is determined to improve safety levels significantly.