Chinese automaker, Beijing Automotive Group (BAIC), has begun its onslaught on the local car market with the introduction of a new D20 hatchback and sedan ahead of early 2018 when the company’s R11bn production and assembly plant in South Africa is expected to turn out the first locally produced BAIC vehicles.
At the recent media introduction, BAIC showed both versions of the new D20 and announced that the 5-model hatchback (fully imported at this stage) will lead the charge. The hatchback is attractively priced from R149,990 to R209,990 which makes it strongly competitive in its segment.
Even though the D20 is competitively priced it is no low-budget, soulless commuter chariot. The nifty hatch has plenty of European character with strong hints of the original Mercedes-Benz B-Class on which it is based.
By agreement with the German three-star manufacturer, the D20 also rides on the same basic platform that Mercedes uses for its Smart ForFour.
The BAIC (pronounced “bike”) D20 hatchback will be available in two specifications: ‘comfort’ and ‘fashion’ and even the least expensive, entry-level ‘comfort’ variants have standard kit such as a leather-trimmed steering wheel, reverse alert, power windows, height adjustable headlights and fog lights.
The ‘fashion’ trim models have all of the above plus a sunroof, daytime running lights, aircon, elegant alloy wheels, folding side mirrors, and a high-class audio system with a 6.5 touch screen, CD player, GPS, USB, radio and six speakers.
On to the inside
The cabin of the hatchback feels airy, comfortable and user-friendly and it has a rear seat that splits 60:40 and a backrest that can be folded flat to provide 1190 litres of load space.
Occupant safety is also well looked after with front airbags, ABS with EBD, child safety locks, two ISOFIX child seat mountings, automatic fuel cut-off and height-adjustable headlights.
The D20 offers two engine options – a 1.3-litre which produces 75kW and 128Nm and a 1.5-litre engine that kicks out 85kW and148Nm, both linked to a five-speed manual box. The two top models in the range have four-speed auto boxes.
Both the hatchback and sedan were on display at the local media introduction and both variants impressed with the smart European looks, perceived build quality and spacious, comfortable interiors.
Initial impressions of the D20 were very favourable and it scores well in most key departments. However, this was just a static viewing and the real test will come behind the wheel and on the road.
An added attraction
At its current prices, the D20 hatchback range compares favourably with others and its “newness” will no doubt be an added attraction.
BAIC is currently establishing a chain of 21 dealerships in key cities in South Africa and showroom floors should soon have the new hatchbacks on display and in stock.
The BAIC manufacturing plant is being constructed (in partnership with the Industrial Development Corporation) in the Coaga Industrial Development Zone in Port Elizabeth and full production is expected to commence next year.
The models and prices of the new BAIC D20 (which include a five-year/120 000km warranty) are:
- D20 Hatch 1.3 M/T Comfort – R149,990
- D20 Hatch 1.5 M/T Comfort –R168,990
- D20 Hatch 1.5 M/T Fashion – R179,990
- D20 Hatch 1.5 A/T Fashion – R189,990
- D20 Sedan 1.5 A/T – R209,990
Egypt, Toyota Tsusho discuss manufacturing natural gas-powered microbuses
CAIRO – 13 October 2019: Egypt and Toyota Tsusho discussed on Sunday how the giant Japanese company can contribute to the government’s plans to manufacturing natural gas-powered microbuses.
During his meeting with President and CEO of Toyota Tsusho Mr. Ichiro Kashitani, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouli emphasized Egypt’s keenness to best utilize its resources by reducing diesel exports’ expenses and transferring diesel-fueled vehicles to natural gas-powered ones or to bi-fuel vehicles that are capable of running on two fuels (natural gas and gasoline) through offering payment facilities.
Mabdouli further stressed that the transfer process needs to be implemented through manufacturing companies that working on Egypt’s soil, in order to enhance local manufacturing, and transfer expertise, according to a cabinet press statement about the meeting. He also ensured that the government is serious in its plans to implementing the transfer process through providing funding programs and incentives to encourage owners of old microbuses.
These ambitions go the lines with the government’s latest unveiled plan in August, aiming to turn 50,000 vehicles into gas-powered annually.
Mabdouli also stressed the government’s readiness to discuss the details of the implementation of the program and accelerate the process according to a specific schedule.
For their part, Toyota Tsusho delegation presented their proposal of “manufacturing high quality microbuses in a way that will meet the Egyptian government’s converting the fuel-powered vehicles.”
In a previous interview with Business Today Egypt magazine, Toyota Tsusho Kashitani explained his company’s strategy about using diversified fuels, based on the global trend to electrification, while maintaining an environment-friendly technology.
“In order to realize the fuel transfer plan by government, natural gas field development would be necessary to be accelerated and we are ready to support it by expansion of the offshore rig project as referred above,” Kashitani added during the interview.
Messe Frankfurt studies holding international textile exhibition in Egypt
Shirts- CC via Maxpixel/ Sony Ilce-7
CAIRO – 19 May 2019: Messe Frankfurt Exhibition GmbH is studying holding an international fair for textile products in Egypt for the first time, announced Egypt’s Ministry of Trade and Industry in a statement on Sunday.
“The exhibition will be an important platform for bringing together exporters and importers from around the world to exchange experiences and views in this field,” the statement read.
The exhibition comes in light of Egypt’s strategic plan to be a trade hub serving the African countries, the ministry said, noting that the country aims to be an international center for all international exhibitions.
Member of the Executive Board of Messe Frankfurt GmbH Uwe Behm said that the company has been cooperating with Egypt for 100 years, adding that the company aims to hold this big international exhibition due to Egypt’s distinguished and strategic geographic place in Africa and in the Arab World.
Durban Car Terminal handles over half a million fully built units
DURBAN – The Durban Car Terminal broke a South African (SA) record, handling over half a million fully built units (FBU) in the 2018/19 financial year.
Amanda Siyengo, the Transnet Port Terminals (TPT) General Manager for Bulk, Break Bulk and Car Operations said, “A combination of a shift in the operating model, improved planning, dedicated operational teams and collaboration with customers and shipping lines have seen the terminal exceed its annual average of 480 000 FBU”.
This has resulted in the terminal handling 510 936 FBU which comprises of passenger, commercial, static mafi cargo and high and heavy vehicles.
The terminal had undergone an operating model change which entailed taking over the outsourced driving service function so that it was handled internally. Siyengo added that this achievement had not been an easy task, commending terminal management on and improving efficiencies such as units handled per hour with and ship working hours
“Facilitating seamless logistics planning and operational execution for original equipment manufacturers plus collaboration with shipping lines, is very critical in eliminating bottlenecks and ensuring that automotive exports and imports are handled efficiently for the South African economy,” said Siyengo.
The Durban Car Terminal is also focusing on creating more storage capacity to meet the industry demand, driving a high performance culture and being innovative in solutions it provides. Introducing the automated service instruction entry (SIE) to over 100 customers, supply chain partners and various other stakeholders is an initiative that is work in progress however, improves the SARS clearance process from 72 to 24 hours.
There have also been significant investments in the SA automotive sector that supported higher production capacity which led to better than expected export volumes countrywide.
The Department of Trade and Industry’s Automotive Production and Development Plan incentivizing the industry for increasing local content from 38% to 60% ex-factory price, has also played a significant role in increased numbers after its introduction in 2013. SA’s motor industry currently builds about 600 000 vehicles per annum, which is 0.7 percent of the global consumption. The SA government would like to see this grow to about 1 percent in 2035 when the SA Automotive Masterplan expires.
SA, through TPT’s Durban Car Terminal is the single largest car terminal in Africa. They have previously created a web-based, general cargo operating system called GCOS which enhances security of break bulk cargo and automotive, offering simple user interface and greater data integrity compared to the old manual method.
GCOS is a commercial product that some of the West African terminals are already utilizing and one of these is the Port of Cotonou in Benin.
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