The Daimler Southern African Regional Centre launched in Pretoria, South Africa last Thursday will help boost Malawi’s transport sector as it will reduce the time it takes for delivery of vehicle units as well as spare parts to customers in Malawi.
Stansfield Motors Malawi general manager, Michael Khomani – whose company is the official dealer for Daimler vehicles in Malawi, told The Daily Times on the sidelines of the launching ceremony of the centre in Pretoria that previously, the company was dealing with Daimler in German.
He said with the regional centre, Stansfield Motors will now be transacting with South Africa for all the Daimler brand of vehicles available in Malawi which include Mercedes Benz, Freightliner and Fuso.
“What this basically means to our customers is that we will be ordering vehicles much quicker because we are now dealing with South Africa,” said Khomani, adding: “And we are looking at better logistics, much more improved delivery period.”
He also said South Africa being where they are, they will understand Malawi better as they are closer to the country than German.
“And we are expecting that there will be more benefit which will in the end be felt by our customers,” said Khomani.
He said while Malawi’s truck vehicle market is still small at about 100 or 150 units in a year, there is great potential in the country, especially with projected medium term growth in telecommunications, sugar and agriculture as well as the petroleum industry.
“And we know that with the hardships in our economy, some customers have resorted to buying used trucks. We now have got answers for that going through South Africa as we will now be able to supply both brand new as well as used trucks,” said Khomani.
On his part, Daimler Trucks and Buses Southern Africa executive director, Kobus van Zyl, said the company is excited about the opportunities that exist in Malawi.
“We have many common industries between South Africa and Malawi. For example sugar is a big business in Malawi and it’s also a big business in South Africa. And we have got good experience in the sugar transportation.”
“So we believe that as a result of these historical ties, the fact that we know sugar, we know trucking, we know transport, we will be able to support Stansfield Motors not only to build their business but to also to build Malawi,” said Van Zyl.
Stuttgart-German-based Daimler director for trucks and buses, Wolfgang Bernhard said the regional centre will enable the company to even provide faster to requirements of its commercial vehicle in the region.
“This will help us to further tap the growth potential of this emerging region,” said Bernhard.
Daimler sold about 5,500 trucks and buses in 2015.
Pretoria is one of several Daimler regional centres across the world under the company’s new strategy of bringing the company closer to customers and shorten supply chains.
Earlier last week, a regional centre was opened in Nairobi, Kenya for eastern, central and western Africa was inaugurated in Nairobi, and a Middle East and North Africa centre was opened in Dubai in October 2015.
Centres for South Asia, South-east Asia and Latin America will follow.