Wednesday, 14 November 2018

PRODUCTION PLUMMETS AT QUEST MOTORS


A local car assembler with capacity to assemble 10 000 vehicles per year is appealing for government protection from the influx of second-hand vehicles.

Operating below five percent capacity utilisation, Quest Motors production levels plummeted owing to the increased influx of second hand cars.

Once boasting of a manpower establishment of at least 5000 workers and creating a further 70 000 jobs in downstream industries, the firm now only has 120 employees.

The company’s Chief Executive Officer Mr Tom Sarimana says in 2011 government directed ministries, parastatals and public institutions to buy at least 80 percent of their vehicles locally, a directive which could have helped re-ignite the local players.

“The other challenge is the influx of second hand vehicles. Government institutions have not been supporting the company, despite a policy position making it mandatory to buy locally,” said Mr Sarimana.

Mr Sarimana says the company might, however, realise more capital injection after a number of companies that include Forton Motors and JSC Motors have shown keen interest to seal partnership deals.

“There are international investors that have shown interest in partnering our company. Deliberations on the partnership are underway,” he said.

The Minister of State for Manicaland province Dr Ellen Gwaradzimba, who toured the firm in Mutare, said focus should be on resuscitating already existing companies.

“There is need to revive and rescue companies that are distressed first before focusing on new businesses. Rescuing the distressed companies first as a quicker way or resuscitation and growing our motor industry. The country needs to relook into its import policies to avoid destroying the local industry,” Dr Gwaradzimba said.

The company’s management says there are at least 27 new vehicle models that can be assembled locally if the local market is ascertained with more support also being required to import car kits.

There is also a need to support the production of manufacturing kits locally for the company to meet the SADC local content requirements to export the cars to other regional countries. zbc

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