Chinese automaker set to start production of buses, trucks

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VIAUsman Hanif
SOURCEThe Express Tribune
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KARACHI:  Leading Chinese automobile manufacturer Changan, in collaboration with the Master Group, is set to kick-start commercial production of passenger buses and cargo trucks in Pakistan next month.

The Chinese firm has invested $100 million in a joint venture with Master Motors Corporation Limited (MMCL), in which it holds a 30% stake.

“Foreign direct investment (FDI) is coming through a Chinese company, which will help ease pressure on our foreign exchange reserves,” said Master Motors CEO Danial Malik at the inauguration of his company’s first 5S (service, spare parts, sales, support and safety) facility and showroom at SITE Karachi.

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“Completely built units (CBU) of Changan karwan van and M9 pickup have reached Pakistan and we have already got bookings up to March. We are fully sold out,” he said.

Also Read: Renault Trucks ventures into Pakistan, anticipates higher demand from CPEC

In late first quarter of 2018, the Ministry of Industries and Production had awarded Category A Greenfield status – which is awarded to new players – to Master Motors.

“Master Motors’ assembly plant at Port Qasim will start producing Changan vehicles next month,” said Malik.

“We want to remain ahead in competition and has opened this one-window showroom to bring international standards to Pakistan,” he said, adding, “I hope this showroom will force others to improve their services as well.”

After a blaze involving an oil tanker in Bahawalpur, the company gave importance to safety in all of its products, he said.  Master Motors imports and assembles Japanese Fuso and Chinese Foton and Yutong and is going to start assembling trucks based on European technology for the first time in Pakistan.

The company will invest about $15 million in an Italian brand, Iveco trucks, and start assembling these trucks in the next five to six months.

The relevant Italian company has conducted all necessary checks and certified the plant as an authorised assembler, allowing it to bring completely knocked down (CKD) European trucks in Pakistan, the CEO said. It has imported completely built units (CBU) as well.

“We will go looking at the market,” he said and added, “In the first year, we plan to assemble 100 trucks.” “This will help us bring European technology in the country,” he said. Master Motors will start with 2,000 units of Changan vehicles and its production will rise to 30,000 units per year in the next four years.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 10th, 2019.

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