Brink Towing Systems is not just supporting a local SMME, it is hosting one in its Pietermaritzburg factory. Brink has recently increased annual capacity to 100 000 units which will mean more work for The Bag Ladies, who produce protective bags for the tow bars. The Bag Ladies previously repaired clothing and did some bag making, but with their own premises within the Brink facility (and advice on business management and the purchase of industrial-strength sewing machines), they can now set their sights higher. Brink’s largest customer is the Ford Ranger.
The Mathe Group’s tyre recycling plant at Hammarsdale has quickly increased capacity to 150 000 used truck tyres per year and intends going past 200 000 soon. A quarter of the rubber crumb product goes to Van Dyck Floors. Other applications include modified bitumen and as a component of artificial grass.
Toyota South Africa and Bell Equipment are manufacturing giants. Between the Toyota plant at Prospecton south of Durban and the Richards Bay facility of heavy-equipment manufacturer Bell Equipment, upwards of 11 000 people are employed. Both companies are market leaders.
Bell is in the process of transferring production of its current truck range to its factory in Germany, which will double in size to accommodate the growing demand for trucks in Europe and America. The shift will not affect employment levels at the Richards Bay site because Bell will start assembling Kamaz heavy-duty trucks in 2019 for the African market. Kamaz (pictured), a Russian brand that has won 14 Dakar rallies, is known for its reliability in tough conditions. Bell’s intention is to increase the percentage of local components over time.
Bell is best known for its heavy equipment which is primarily used in the mining and construction sectors. The listed company reported a 6% rise in revenue for the six months to June 2018, an amount of R3.7-billion.
Toyota recently invested a further R6.1-billion into its already very large plant at Prospecton. The company regularly sells about a quarter of the vehicles sold in South Africa, and accounts for the same proportion of export volumes. The Corolla car, the Hilux bakkie and the Fortuner SUV are manufactured at the plant.
Powerstar, a Chinese state-owned brand, assembles trucks in Pietermaritzburg on a site formerly used by Super Group. The companies that make Powerstar in Asia are the China North Vehicle Corporation (Norinco Motors) and BEIBEN, who produce about 60 000 heavy-duty commercial duty vehicles every year at their plant in Inner Mongolia.