Capital Equipment News

MB AfroAsia SA has added yet another strategically located Iveco dealership to its ever-growing MB Truck City footprint, completing a strategic network presence in all key corridors of South Africa, writes Munesu Shoko.

Connecting the strategic footprint dotsMB AfroAsia SA has further expanded its MB Truck City empire with the recent purchase of an existing Iveco dealership in Bloemfontein, Free State, South Africa. The acquisition – which follows hard on the heels of the recent purchase of MB Truck City Cape Town in 2014 and MB Truck City Johannesburg in 2016 – further underlines MB AfroAsia SA’s strong commitment to connecting the network dots in all strategic key corridors.

Speaking at the official launch on October 5, 2017, Alfred Da Costa, Chairman of MB AfroAsia SA, said the Bloemfontein dealership, previously Nolan Truck, has a rich history and its location is very strategic, especially considering that Bloemfontein is at the centre of South Africa and the city is a renowned logistics hub.

“Following the successful acquisition of MB Truck City Cape Town and MB Truck City Johannesburg, we set our sights on Bloemfontein next. It is an important location because many of our customers’ trucks run through this area, which is absolutely critical for us,” says Da Costa.

Brian Steenkamp, Iveco Head of Network for sub-Saharan Africa, says Bloemfontein is a centre point for South Africa and represents a very strategic location for MB AfroAsia SA in its quest to complete a strategic MB Truck City network presence.

Mark Croxon, CEO of MB Truck City, is pleased with the acquisition of the Bloemfontein dealership, which he believes gives MB a complete footprint across all strategic areas in South Africa. “This really positions us in good stead to look after our customers on the N1. We have now connected all the dots in terms of our network. Bloemfontein is vital to us because of the large number of Iveco trucks passing through the Free State from Johannesburg to Cape Town, and vice-versa,” says Croxon.

The Bloemfontein dealership has a current workforce of 30 people, which Da Costa says will be bolstered as the business grows. MB Truck City Bloemfontein is a fully-fledged operation that will carry the full range of Iveco commercial vehicles from 3,5 t to extra heavy duty units, ranging from passenger, long haul to off-road.

“Our vision is to become the number one Iveco commercial vehicle supplier in sub-Saharan Africa, and become the benchmark dealer in the process,” says Croxon. “This will be achieved through a relentless focus on our key growth pillars – a customer-centricity approach and retaining the best people to service our customers.”

Croxon says MB Truck City Bloemfontein’s engagement with its customers on every touch point will be its ultimate success factor. “We will prioritise constant information sharing, both internally, and externally with our customers and other key stakeholders,” says Croxon. “Our plans are also built on trust – a key ingredient in our quest to take this business to a whole new level. Trust increases the speed with which we can do business. Trust also builds loyalty.”

Successes factors

Steenkamp says the successes of both Truck City Johannesburg and Truck City Cape Town have manifested themselves in the recent investment into Truck City Bloemfontein. Steenkamp further hails MB AfroAsia SA’s commitment to the success of its business and that of the Iveco brand in the local market. “Key to their success is the quality of service to their customers. I am convinced that the successes at Truck City Cape Town and Truck City Johannesburg will be replicated at Truck City Bloemfontein.”

Da Costa says MB AfroAsia SA has had some solid achievements in a very short space of time and in challenging market conditions. “We have seen significant growth and are confident to continue on the growth path. Despite fierce competition in the South African truck market, we are, together with our principal, well-positioned to raise the support level of our Iveco customers in the region,” says Da Costa.

Da Costa is also very pleased with the support from CNH Industrial, reiterating that recent huge investments into an assembly facility and a parts centre in South Africa are testimony that the principal is committed to supporting its dealers and customers in the sub-Saharan African region.

Steenkamp says Iveco South Africa’s USD70-million investment in an assembly plant in Rosslyn, Pretoria in 2014 was a key starting point in showcasing CNH Industrial’s long-term commitment, not only to the South African market, but sub-Saharan Africa as a whole.

The assembly facility accommodates several assembly lines for Iveco’s ranges of medium, heavy duty and extra heavy duty trucks, as well as complete city and inter-city buses. A 60:40 joint venture between Iveco and the Larimar group, a bus bodybuilding company and operator of the Putco buses, the assembly plant started production in July 2014.

This was further complemented by another major investment into a parts distribution centre in Centurion. Steenkamp notes that due to difficult economic conditions, the market is fast changing; fleet operators are sweating their existing assets and are looking at ways of extending lifecycles of their existing capital equipment. As a result, he sees more opportunity on the aftermarket side of the business, hence the significance of a large parts stockholding and strong support network to cater for the aftermarket needs of customers.

Steenkamp believes that focus is no longer based on the volume of customers, but rather a value proposition that saves customers money to help them navigate the difficult economic conditions. He notes that this can be realised through a combination of factors, but of greater significance is a strong support network to meet customers’ needs within acceptable timeframes.

To the future

Despite tough trading conditions in South Africa, Steenkamp says Iveco at large has shown growth year-on-year. “This is due to various factors, ranging from a very good product recently introduced in the local market, to a strong sales and support network through committed dealers such as MB AfroAsia SA,” he says.

Looking ahead, Steenkamp says it’s pretty difficult to predict where the truck market is going, but at this stage he foresees continued tough market conditions in the next 18 months. “Thereafter we may see some improvements depending on the overall business confidence in the country. For now it’s important that we keep pushing with the right product and right network that we have in place,” adds Steenkamp.

Speaking of doing the right things, Croxon believes that even in tough times, if the business continues to focus on the right things, it will be able to capture the little business that is available. “We need to remain positive and do the right things, especially focusing on our support structures to help our customers survive the tide of a downward economic environment. It’s all about offering them greater value for their hard-earned buck, thereby placing ourselves in good stead to maintain, or even increase, our share of the market,” concludes Croxon.

Contact Capital Equipment News

Title: Editor
Name: Munesu Shoko
Email: capnews@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

Title: Advertising Manager
Name: Elmarie Stonell
Email: elmaries@crown.co.za
Phone: +27 11 622-4770
Fax: +27 11 615-6108

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