MAZ, a truck and machinery manufacturer from Belarus, is preparing to enter the heavy-duty segment of the Southern African market. The brand will have two trucks on display at Futuroad, the truck and bus expo, which is being co-located with Automechanika Johannesburg, a trade fair for the automotive aftermarket, at Expo Centre, Nasrec, from September 18-21.
Valery Tarasenko, the local representative of the company, says they have been preparing to enter the African right-hand drive market for the past two years.
"We have completed homologation on several models, including the two we will have on display on our stand at Expo Centre - MAZ-656587 (8x4) a 27-ton tipper and a truck tractor MAZ-646087 which is capable of pulling a load of 60 tons on a dumper semi-trailer," explained Tarasenko.
MAZ has been making trucks at its plant in Minsk in the former Soviet Union since 1944 and has a very comprehensive range, focusing on heavy duty operations and special applications. The right-hand drive MAZ trucks are planned to be assembled at a factory in Richards Bay for sale in East and South Africa.
MAZ is also a regular and strong competitor in the annual Dakar Rally. There will be five new truck model launches at Futuroad besides the presence of MAZ. The companies that will have special launch events are UD Trucks, Everstar Industries (Powerstar trucks), Daewoo, which is marketed through Tata in South Africa, MCC, Raw Industries, Next Group, Volvo, and Tata itself.
Futuroad, which is taking place for the second time in SA, is the only international trade fair of its kind to be staged on the African continent and targets a visitor audience from across Sub-Saharan Africa. Besides those companies doing launches, visitors can also expect to see JMC, FAW and FCA Group at the exhibition.
The fact that this biennial event is co-located with Automechanika Johannesburg makes it an ideal platform for exhibitors to grow their business footprint, particularly as the government is targeting increased automotive exports to grow the local economy.
Road transport is the lifeblood of Southern Africa. The truck market in South Africa has been bucking the trend in terms of vehicle sales trends in 2019, with sales up 3.3% year-to-date after the first 10 months of the year. The truck and bus sales forecast for the year has now moved up to 26 000 units at a time when the country is in an official recession. The forecast at the beginning of the year was 25 400 units.
This means that truck and bus operators are buying vehicles to renew their fleets despite the gloomy economic environment. Total truck and bus sales for the first eight months of 2019 of 17,919 units was 3.3% higher than the figure at the same time last year, while medium truck sales are up 12.1% and the extra-heavy segment has grown by 2% year-to-date.
This means that truck and bus operators are still buying new vehicles to renew their fleet, despite the downturn in the overall and passenger car markets and the gloomy economic environment.
The Futuroad Expo will thus be an ideal opportunity for these fleet operators to compare the various makes and models of trucks and buses at a single venue over a period of four days.
Registration to Futuroad Expo, Automechanika Johannesburg and Scalex Expos is completely free, all you need to do is visit the website to secure your free visitor pass.
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