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Foton unveils first locally-assembled trucks since return to Kenya

Foton Kenya Ltd general manager Apple Sun (right) is joined by Song Zhiping (left) at the unveiling of its first truck on Jan 24, 2018. Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG
Foton Kenya Ltd general manager Apple Sun (right) is joined by Song Zhiping (left) at the unveiling of its first truck on Jan 24, 2018. Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG 

Chinese automaker Foton Motor Kenya Limited has today rolled out its first offline trucks as it moves cement its place in the local market.

They were assembled at the Associated Vehicles Assemblers (AVA) plant in Mombasa where the firm has an assembly deal.

Speaking during the launch of the vehicles Wednesday, Foton general manager Apple Sun said the company is targeting Kenya's construction, transport and mining sectors.

“Our truck is a best seller product. In the first year we want to have dispatched at least 300 trucks, “he said.

Foton hopes to sell over 3000 trucks by 2022.

Currently, he said, a range of products under a Knocked Down (KD) arrangement for assembly from the company start from heavy duty trucks with plans to extend to products such as light trucks and SUVs.

Mr Sun said the launch is a realisation of the ‘one belt one road’ initiative started in 2013.

“As practitioner of the initiative started by the chairman of China Mr Xi Jinping, Foton Motors set a long term strategic plan in Kenya and Africa. Today we have officially realised the localisation of our main value factors,” said Mr Sun.

Control costs

He said the partnership with AVA will reduce costs.

“Besides reducing costs, it is meant to ensure quality and craftsmanship of the assembled products to reach the same level as domestic factories.”

The retail market price for the trucks will range between $65,000 - 70,000 (about Sh6.7 million to Sh7.2 million).

“The company will increase revenue to the economy and create more job opportunities,” said the GM.

AVA assembly plant in Mombasa is one of the three largest KD assemblies for some internationally renowned brands such as Toyota and Scania.

Workers at Associated Vehicle Assembly in Jomvu, Mombasa County assemble trucks on January 24, 2018. Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG

Workers at Associated Vehicle Assembly in Jomvu, Mombasa County assemble trucks on January 24, 2018. Photo | Laban Walloga | NMG

It offers motor vehicle assembly services on a contract basis

Mr Sun says the company intends to open a local assembly line to cash in on China’s growing influence in the East African region.

“Foton eyes to penetrate into East Africa community and COMESA free trade zone through its KD assembly located in Kenya in the near future,” he said.

Lower price

Transporters welcomed the trucks saying it would contribute greatly to the sector.

“We welcome them to Kenya but my advice to them is to reduce the price,” said Mr Salim Bahbmed, a transporter.

Key CBK Indicative Exchange Rate Used: $1 = Sh102.6

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