Anhui Jianghuai Automobile Company Limited (JAC Motors), a Shanghai Stock Exchange-listed car manufacturer, is exploring channels to distribute its vehicles in Malawi and plans to dispatch a research team early next year.
Most Malawians import reconditioned used cars from Japan and other developed countries, as it is expensive to buy brand new vehicles.
For instance, the cost of importing a 2008 second hand Toyota Passo, 990cc engine, with a mileage of 153 466 to Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, according to one car importing websites was $1 429 (about K1 million) last week.
On the other hand, brand new vehicles sell at as high as K15 million.
Speaking to visiting Malawian journalists on Thursday in China, Anhui Province assistant manager of JAC Motors, Oscar Yu, said the team will visit Malawi to conduct a market analysis.
He said JAC Motors is ready to partner with local car dealers in long-term business ventures and share some common philosophy to develop the investment.
Said Oscar: “Malawi is a new country to us and we have planned to send a team next year. We believe our cars are more suitable for Malawi roads.
“The second hand vehicles cause a lot of trouble, ranging from quality, fuel consumption and environment while we will offer quality products at affordable prices. We believe our products are most suitable for developing countries. Africa is one of the biggest potential areas as compared to other continents.”
However, he observed Malawi’s market is dominated by second hand vehicles because most consumers cannot afford brand new cars, adding that his company will offer their units at affordable prices.
Currently, the company exports to over 120 countries, including in 20 African countries.
Oscar said on the Chinese market, the cheapest JAC car, an S3 model costs 40 000 yuan, or about K4.5 million, at the current exchange rate.
While JAC Motors manufactures light, medium and heavy-duty trucks, vans, sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pure-electric vehicles, among others, it also produces engineering machinery, engines, gear boxes and other key vehicle components.
The firms manufactures 700 000 units annually.
Anhui Province foreign affairs and overseas office service centre’s deputy director Wang Xiao Hua said more entrepreneurs from the province are willing to invest in Malawi.
He attributed their willingness to opportunities unveiled during the Malawi-China Investment Forum held in June in Lilongwe.
“More private entrepreneurs from this province are willing to visit Malawi. The companies are from the manufacturing, automobiles, high technology and agriculture sectors,” he said.
JAC Motors is ranked number three globally in the manufacturing of light trucks after Foton and Isuzu.